Philippians 2:12–24 (NKJV)
12 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; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.Philippians 2:12-18
14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
Paul continues his pledge of love and support for the Philippians, calling them his beloved. He lauds them for their obedience to him in their actions and behavior, and encourages them to continue with their good example. He then offers the advice to work out their own salvation. Many people like to quote this passage as a mandate for individual determination of what is right and wrong, salvific and not. The words following, though, “with fear and trembling,” set a different tone. Instead of being self-determinate, the reader is instructed to submit before God to His purpose and plan, not just to work on one’s own plan. He works in us for His pleasure, not our own. Therefore, do what you do without complaining, and seek to be blameless. Shine your light in a dark world, and hold fast to the word of life. Paul’s hope is his disciples will give him a reason to rejoice, and that they will rejoice in him. He feels his time is short, and is thankful that Philippi understands the importance of living in the Spirit.
19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. 23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. 24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.Philippians 2:19-24
Paul sums up this passage with a promise to send Timothy to Philippi to check on them and evaluate their needs. He expresses his deep trust in Timothy, commending him to the saints in Philippi. Paul also hints at his desire to come to Philippi himself, should his incarceration turn out in his favor. Paul’s desire is that the Philippians live and work in a way that secures their salvation, and that leads to the salvation of many others. Paul provides a fatherly encouragement to good children to keep up the good work. I pray God calls upon us with the same admonition. Help us, Lord, to represent you well in all things at all times, Lord. Help us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, and help us to make you proud, Lord!