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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Our Goal Is To Be Saved, #3
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (Philippians 2:12—NIV)
When we say salvation is a prize toward which one struggles we do not mean we earn salvation by our works. We do not mean this at all. Christ once and for all paid the full price as an atonement for our sins. Rather we are speaking of pressing through the numerous obstacles that seek to prevent our laying hold on the prize.
We do not work for our salvation. Rather, we work it out.
The gift of salvation is like the gift of a piano. Someone can give us a grand piano, something we never could afford perhaps. Let us say that the piano is given to us without any charge whatever, is brought to our house, and set up in one of the rooms. Included with the piano are collections of the finest compositions. We do not do one thing to earn this piano or the accompanying volumes of music masterpieces.
Resident in this piano is Chopin, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Bach. There is the most marvelous music we would love to hear and would enjoy playing so others might hear.
There is only one problem. We are facing many years of diligent effort under the supervision of capable teachers if we are to bring forth the desired music.
In order to master the piano we have to set aside many other pursuits in order to gain the time and energy to patiently learn to read the music and skillfully perform it on the keyboard. To really master the works of the classic composers we have to set aside at least two or three hours a day (or much longer) for many years.
We have been given a piano. Our goal is to learn to play it. We begin with confidence. Then there arise obstacles that must be overcome. The obstacles may be in the form of lack of money, or physical weakness and sickness, or the objection of people who desire to hear other kinds of music, or the lack of a qualified teacher, or family concerns, or sheer boredom or discouragement or war. So many hurdles may be placed in front of us as we fight toward the goal.
When you hear an accomplished pianist play Beethoven or Chopin you know the individual has pressed through many problems and obstacles, countless hours of drudgery, in order to easily and flawlessly perform some difficult passage.
Can you see now the difference between working to earn salvation and working out your salvation while moving toward the final goal of eternal life? The gift of a piano is not the gift of a ticket that enables you to play difficult compositions. It is rather the gift of an opportunity to learn to play difficult compositions, provided you follow the rules that control the mastery of the piano.
Now let us think carefully about the passage we are discussing (I Timothy 4:11-16).
First of all, "command and teach these things." If we are to properly approach the Christian salvation we must accept the fact that the New Testament is a book of commandments, and these commandments are to be obeyed.
To be continued.