WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION
Philippians 2:12 states the following:
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
And then 2:13 immediately after this verse:
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good purpose.”
Before we get to “salvation,” we should have a quick glance at “work out.” The Greek word for “work out” is katergazomai (κατεργαζομαι) and means “to perform, to achieve or to accomplish.” It appears twenty-two times in the New Testament. The verb “signifies working at, and finally accomplishing a task. Keep this in mind while studying the rest of the verse.
Fear: The Greek word that is translated as “fear” is phobos (Φόβος). It is a noun and is normally translated as “fear, terror or alarm, and respectful or reverence for.” In Ancient Greek Mythology, Phobos was the son of Ares and Aphrodite, and the twin brother of Deimos ... Phobos was the personification of fear and panic. Panic is derived from Pan ((πανικός), the name of the Greek god of shepherds, woodlands and meadows whom all feared.
The word “trembling” from the Greek is tromos (τρόμος). It is a noun and it means “trembling, quaking, and quivering.” It refers to “shaking, as an outward sign of fear, or of being seized with great awe.”
Now, as we continue to read through this scripture, lets pause for a moment and take a hard look at the word “salvation.” Before we can grasp the entire text, we first need to clearly define salvation. Remembering, that ancient Biblical scripture is always a translation from either Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, or Latin ... into English. In many ways, this is no simple task.
The root of this word “salvation” is from the Greek: σῴζω (Sozo).
From the Strongs Concordance word #4982:
-to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction (from injury or peril)
-to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health
-to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue
Now, even deeper we go. The etymology of this word “salvation/sozos/saved” (#4982) (sozo) ... has the basic meaning of “rescuing one from great peril.” Additional nuances include “to protect, keep alive, preserve life, deliver, heal, be made whole.” The context must be considered to determine whether preservation of physical life or spiritual life is in view. Also, we can add the meanings of “deliverance from disease, rescue of physical life, rescue from sickness and/or danger, safe and sound, safe and unharmed, well-being/benefitting” and in short ... a vast meaning for one four-letter word. THIS, is sozos.
So we can see, there is MORE to the story than only a “Personal Saviour” that was delivered to the masses to save everyone from sin and from an anthropomorphized devil/satan. There is a metaphysical and esoteric message contained in this verse, as all scriptures have. Its the deeper Truth beyond the literal event that is masked ... waiting to be revealed ... to those with eyes to see and ears to hear.
The essence of this verse, on an esoteric level, is to say the Holy Spirit (the Divine Spark of God / Consciousness) is at work to transform us. God is working in us. This is not merely a transformation, it is a metamorphosis of the highest level. And just like the butterfly cannot return to the life of the caterpillar, neither can we return to a life that is less than Divine.
“For it is God who works IN YOU to will and to act on behalf of His good purpose.”
God is experiencing a physical Life THROUGH US, WITH US, and AS US. God is working in us through circumstances, trials, and other people. When we come to this realization of Spiritual Truth, we allow the Divine within all mankind to work with no obstruction and no hindrance. All things revert back to the default of goodness and love that benefits all of creation. Therefore, we see a Divine balance that permeates Scripture ... man's human responsibility, blended with God's Divine resources. The overall intention is modesty and humility. To be humble and to open ones heart to the ways of God (Good). We are all co-Creators in this realm, as are collectively responsible for all that we create. Good thoughts, good actions, lead to good manifestations.
Just a thought ...
Justin Taylor, ORDM.