“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His pleasure. ” -Philippians 2:12-13
Whatever we do or say actually it’s a reflection of the reality we are in.
The verses mentioned above say something that at first glance sounds contrary to what we’ve first believed or have understood about God.
Yes, He is love, yes, Jesus came full of grace and truth and no one can snatch us out of His hand…and now, in the midst of all that we read about fear and trembling.
The confusion we are facing is in our understanding or the lack thereof. When reading the word ‘fear’ our mind processes something different. It connects the word with the state of paralysis caused by terror.
So, for the sake of the argument I will use the term ‘reverent fear’ or ‘reverence’. This reverence which we ought to have toward God doesn’t paralyze us with fear that bounds but rather it initiates bestir so that we can see the purpose behind it-the measure of reverent fear determines the understanding of the sense of the responsibility we have.
As stated earlier yes, God is love and He is so good no one can really fathom; but at the same time He is holy and just (when certain people encountered Him fell on their faces and were changed forever).
He truly seeks His children to grasp responsibility. Salvation is the unmerited gift we got in Jesus Christ, but it doesn’t mean that it is worthless or that we aren’t held accountable.
Basically, the reverent fear should or ought to be our reminder not to step out in our own strength. Our reward in heaven won’t be based on our faith, but on our responsibility which demands obedience, because we can build our salvation solely on our free will and obedience (held together by our conscience).
When in the process of renewal our mind begins to understand, then it will connect with our free will and develop a desire to be willing and serve God.
Let’s allow God Who is on our side to help us, let’s not become distant.
If we desire to be stirred, we need to humble ourselves and receive and in order to do that we ought to train ourselves in obedience.