< Back


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

Listen: Philippians 2


What can Paul mean when he says to work out your salvation? It seems contradictory to what he makes very clear about NOT earning salvation in Philippians 3, where he disavows his own resume of “works” and claims righteousness through faith in Christ (Philippians 3:9).

Paul isn’t contradicting himself, but is emphasizing the outworking of God’s grace throughout the Christian journey. So many of us get this wrong. Paul doesn’t say, “work up” to God, but “work out.” Jesus emptied himself and became obedient to death on a cross so we don’t have to “work up” (Philippians 2:8).

To “work out” means to keep obeying God after we’ve accepted Jesus—and the obedience of Jesus going to the cross is our motivation. This obedience produces “good works” which is the fruit of the gospel in our lives. Good works such as repenting of daily sins, asking God to work through you and seeking to show mercy, care and love to others. Paul emphasizes “good works” will keep the light of the church from growing dim.



One way to affirm Christ in your life is to assess forward movement in your Christian journey. Wherever you are in the growth process, consider your motivation and next steps. Visit us at adabible.org/next-steps for ideas or email btw@adabible.org to start a conversation.

Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.