God is at work in me (13). He is working on my character so that I will be like Jesus, the Son of God. He is leading, guiding, and directing me to will and to act. He is like a good father that instructs and disciplines me so that I may be a mature and stable adult. Even more, he gives me the will and strength to overcome every false impulse and motive in me that harms and destroys, and the will to act according to his good purpose.
I have a choice to submit to his works in me or resist them. I can incorrectly submit with complaints and arguments (14), or I can be a good and obedient child trusting his works in me is best for me (15).
Working out my salvation with fear and trembling (12) means cultivating it, bringing it to full effect, and actively pursuing spiritual maturity. The fear of God is awe-inspired fear and trembling. It’s using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ.
Work my salvation out to the finish is not a reference to the attempt to earn my salvation by works, but to the expression of my salvation in spiritual growth and development. Salvation is not merely a gift received once for all; it expresses itself in an ongoing process in which believers in Jesus are strenuously involved (Matt. 24:13; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Hebrews 3:14, 6:9-11; 2 Peter 1:5-8) in the process of perseverance, spiritual growth, and maturation.
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