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work OUT

“work out your salvation with fear and trembling – Philippians 2:12-13”

Let’s have a brief English 101 on verb and noun

Verb = an action word. Example : “Work”
Noun =  people, places or things. Example : “Work”

“Work” can be a noun or a verb in a sentence If…
1. If it describes a thing, “My work there is done” then it’s a noun
2. If it describes an action, “I cannot work today” then it’s a verb



Work as ‘Noun’ to describe a thing

Philippians 1:6
6 Being confident of this very thing that he which hath begun a
  good work[ergon] in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ

Ephesians 2:8-10
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not
  from yourselves, it is the gift of God
9 not by works[ergon], so that no one can boast.
10 For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works[ergon]
   which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them

Titus 3:5
5 Not by works[ergon] of righteousness which we have done but
  according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration
  and renewing of the Holy Ghost


Ergon means work. remember work here is a noun (describes a thing).

Okay. Notice the above verses. What are common with Work?

  • In Philippians, Work is done by God
  • In Ephesians, Work is done by God. The product/workmanship is Us
  • In Titus, Its not our works, but Gods Mercy. Still it’s God doing

So, clearly we have no part in the “doing” of Work. All is God’s work



Work as ‘Verb’ to describe an action

Philippians 2:12-13
12 …work out[katergazesthe] your own salvation with fear and trembling
13 For it is God who works[energon] in you both to will and
   to work[energein] of his good pleasure

katergazesthe (verb) – to bring to decisive finality
Energes(Energon/Energein) (verb) – energize like an electricity that flows to a shining light bulb

now unlike the previous verses where all Work is done by God, here it says you have a part to perform. perform after, not before nor at the same time. But still at the end, God is the one doing Work.

question :

are you saved by your Work? or by the Grace of God? God’s grace. amen.

but then what’s with this ‘work out’ thing? what about ‘work out your salvation’?


let us look at the same verse in different bible translations

Philippians 2:12-13

New Living Translation
12 .. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.
13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

The Message
12 …Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and
   sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself
   willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.

Amplified Bible
12 …work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with
   reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of
   conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend
   God and discredit the name of Christ).

13 [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you
   [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good
   pleasure and satisfaction and delight.


He who has ears let him hear. heard it?



work FOR

“work out your salvation with fear and trembling – Philippians 2:12-13”

It did not say, ‘Work For’. ‘Work For’ means you work for something you do not have yet or something you want to have. ‘Work out’ in the context means we already have salvation. for ‘It is God who works in you

consider the two verses below, I trim down some words for simplicity

1. We are saved by grace .. not by works .. because we are his workmanship
2. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling .. because it is God who works in you

read the entire line and you will see the message clearly, don’t skip. see it?


2. Work out your salvation .. Because it is God who works in you. or can be paraphrased like – “Because it is God who works (gives energy) in you, Work out (be energetic in) your salvation

We ‘work out’ the salvation we already have. if you don’t have it, what’s there to ‘work out’?


as an illustration

take a young student born-with-gift violinist. when her violin resonates, she simply stands out in the class. grace & perfect pitch. however, the classmates will work for in order to achieve grace & perfect pitch. but no matter how much they will devote their life to practicing in order to become a born-with-gift violinist, it is impossible. the only way for them to have born-with-gift is to be born again with gift (salvation) then they can play with grace & perfect pitch.

a violinist practices /work out /energon his instrument not to become a violinist. she is already a violinist by birth. no need to work for to become one. see even born-with-gift musicians practices (work out / energon) also.

so if you sing bad? don’t work for it. practice (work out) because you are already a singer. you do not sing to become a singer, you are already a singer


God work for your salvation. work out that salvation by believing in Jesus and not doing good works to earn salvation or work for it. when you believe, you do not work for rather you rest.




– amen. grace and peace