Finish Strong

“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”                    -Philippians 2:12 

Note carefully it says “work out” not “for.” This passage does not mean to work in order to earn, merit, or deserve your salvation.

This is clearly taught in Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourself: it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”

The Greek verb for “work out,” KATERGAZESTHAI, always has the idea of carrying to a logical conclusion.

Nearby the Dematiaceae Chapel in Florence, Italy is the Academy of Art. Florence is the location of one of Michelangelo’s most magnificent works, David. As a sculptor he produced such great works as Moses, the Pieta, and David. His highly acclaimed work is incomparable.

A large chamber in the Academy building houses what are known as Michelangelo’s slaves. They are incomplete works of art that were in progress at the time of his death.

He always started with a piece of stone which yielded to his will as his skilled hands freed from it the intended work of art. Until the moment of completion each was always an incomplete work of art in progress. These incomplete works are called “slaves” because they have not yet been completely freed from the stone.

One is of a man whose upper torso and head are complete. The lower part is still the block of unhewn stone.  It appears as though the man is standing in stone. In another the lower extremities of the body are complete and the unfinished block of stone rests on the person’s shoulders. It is as though he is struggling to free himself from the stone.

These incomplete works lack the quality of the completed works principally because they are unfinished. Do they mirror your life?

To carry your salvation to its logical conclusion God is willing to help. “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure” (Philippians 2: 13).

“It is God who works in you both to will and to do…”  The same Greek word is translated as “works” and “to do.” It is ENERGEIN.  In it we can hear our word for energy. This word is only used in the New Testament as a reference to the action of God. It is effective action because it is the action of God. His actions for you are not for you to remain half-finished. Carry your salvation to its logical conclusion.