Last week in our evening sermon with Philippians 2:12-13, we saw that, We Will Work Out God’s Will by His Working in Us
Something that Rachel brought up regarding the Greek word for work, “energize”, in verse 13 about the fact that God is working in us as the motivation to put our hands to work for Him and one another was what she just learned in her chemistry class at Southwestern College:
Energy is defined as the capacity to perform work, or produce heat.
Work is a force acting on an object over a distance, which causes a change in motion.
So because God has and is energizing us within we are called with encouragement to work out or own salvation (sanctification until glorification).
Something I hadn’t drawn out of the text but did with follow up research was that Paul was speaking to their “own” salvation because Paul was no longer there in the presence of the Philippian church to help them with their own responsibility to have the outworking of God’s inner working. William Hendriksen explains vs. 12: “ … his very absence must impress upon them the fact that now more than ever they must take the initiative. Now especially they must exert themselves, for now they are on their own … They must now work out ‘their own salvation,’ that is, they must work it out apart from the assistance of Paul.” And their encouragement again is that God is still present and working within them to be able to do so.
Charles Erdman writes, “The very fact that God is working is given as the ground of the exhortation for them to work … The sense of human responsibility leads to despair unless balanced by confidence in the grace and power of God … True confidence in God results in humble, active obedience.”
Henry E. Anderson comments, “Salvation produces the divine ‘urge’ within us. We do not work for salvation, but because of it.” Remember that the Greek word in verse 13 for the “working” that God is doing in us as “energy” could be translated “urge”.
Thus, Paul exhorts us in Eph. 3:16 … to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man …
William Hendriksen also writes, “God is the great and constant, the effective Worker, the Energizer, operating in the lives of the Philippians, bringing about in them both to will and to work.” He cites the Canons of Dort III and IV, articles 11 and 12: “He infuses new qualities into the will, which though heretofore dead he quickens; from being evil, disobedient, and refractory, he renders it good, obedient, and pliable; actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions … Whereupon the will thus renewed, is not only actuated and influenced by God, but in consequence of this influence becomes itself active.”
May we be encouraged that the Lord indeed shines His light through us that we would shine as lights in this dark world (tonight’s text, vss. 14-16), as electricity engages a string of lightbulbs strung across a black night sky.