On this last Sunday of the year, it has been my observation that some who call themselves Christians are more so in name than they are in actions. It can be seen in the words spoken, the actions engaged, the posts on social media and in the lack of attendance with the brethren. On such a “downer” I do not want to give any further attention; instead, I would like to commend those who do the opposite of those who are Christian in name more than anything else.
It is the responsibility of each Christian to walk with the Lord and “work out his (her) own salvation.” Paul wrote to the saints in Philippi, 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 own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain (Philippians 2:12-16, ESV).
To work out one’s own salvation means to
- Have the proper attitude (fear and trembling).
- Understand that God works in each of us, and this occurs, as Paul also said to the Thessalonians, And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
- Have the proper response built on the proper attitude (don’t grumble, complain or question).
- Hold fast to the Lord way of thinking and that which He spoke. These are saints who are always abounding in the work of the Lord, because they know what the work of the Lord is (cf. 1 Cor. 15:58).
Those who do these things are to be commended. They know the Word of God and do their best to live it. They know the Word of God, and though each are plagued with weakness, they don’t run from Him, but bow before Him, the God of all mercy. Those who do these things make it a priority in life to attend and be with the saints each time they can; they don’t find reasons or make up excuses as to why attendance is not important; they are present, even when, sometimes, it is overly tough to be present. They understand the Lord’s exhortation about encouraging and being encouraged to be together.
These saints are to be commended, not because they have earned or merited anything, but because their love of the Lord is reflective in what is said and done. The Lord knows what is important to them, for that which they do is presented to others.
“Thank you, Lord, for each saint who has put you first in life, who attends when the congregation meets, who takes the name of Jesus into a dark world, making it a point to tell others of your love. Thank you, Lord, for those who don’t make excuses because of children, or a rough time at home to lay aside the banner of Jesus for another day. Thank you, Lord, for those who struggle in a very serious way with whatever plague they have, but these same ones turn to you all the time for strength to overcome. Thank you, Lord Father, for Jesus.” RT
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:4-6, ESV)