Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my beloved, as you 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; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
“Workout your own salvation!” I have seen many preachers yelling that in their sermons. Its such a rich statement. Because of how much truth is in this statement I decided to talk about in depth. The key to understanding this statement is we must first understand spirit, soul, and body. Holy Spirit breaks that down in 1 Thessalonians 5:23. See, we are a spirit being, we have a soul (mind, will, and emotions), and we live in a physical body.
Understanding this truth is especially important to understanding salvation. The day we get born again, only our spirit is born again. Holy Spirit becomes one with our spirit. We see this unification between our spirit and Holy Spirit in Ephesians 1:13-14. After the fall of mankind, we died. It was spiritual death not physical death. Spiritual death is separation from God who is Life. When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, we become reunited with Life and come alive again.
James 1:21, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
The salvation of the soul is a process. The above verse connects the saving of the soul to us receiving the word of God with meekness. Our soul is saved when we begin to renew it. That is what Romans 12:1-2 is referring to. Renewing of the mind, will, and emotions is simply changing our previous beliefs to agree with God’s beliefs. This is the process of saving the soul.
While we are here on earth, we will have the same body. This body is affected by the fall of man. That is why we get sick, and tired. But when we die or when Jesus comes back, we will get new bodies. Perfect bodies. 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 talks about our new bodies in a little more depth. While we here on earth we must deal with this body. Holy Spirit through Paul tells us what to do with it in 1 Corinthians 9:27. We must bring the body into subjection.
Now, lets get back to our original statement. “Workout your own salvation.” What does this mean. It means work out the righteousness in your spirit, into your soul, and then into your body. Another way to say it is, walk out the truth in your spirit into your soul, and then body. Let the righteousness in your spirit overflow into your soul and body.
On the day of salvation your spirit is made righteous, your soul is being made righteous, and your body will be made righteous on resurrection morning.