FIRST Thoughts

There are many in religious circles today who have to come to wrongly assume that salvation is the end of one's spiritual pursuit, not the beginning. While believers do not work for our salvation, we do work out our salvation by exercising the biblical directives given from the word of God. God does not save the souls of sinners without His Sovereign purpose in mind. God has designed every believer to be conformed to the image of His Son. That is achieved as we daily comply with His commands that develop godly character and the conduct that flows from it. This truth does not apply only to vocational ministers, evangelists, missionaries or other ministry related staff. If you have been saved by grace through faith this applies to you and to me in the same way. 2 Peter 1:5 and following says, "But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." Faith in God's promise initiates salvation of the soul. However, James would add that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). If it is impossible to work for one's salvation, (and it is) then how may one work out their salvation (Philippians 2:12)? Oswald Chambers, best known for his devotional 'My Utmost for His Highest' shares this timely insight on this subject when he writes-- Take the initiative. Add to your faith virtue … (“Furnish your faith with resolution.”) (MOFFATT) 2 Peter 1:5. “Add” means there is something we have to do. We are in danger of forgetting that we cannot do what God does, and that God will not do what we can do. We cannot save ourselves nor sanctify ourselves, God does that; but God will not give us good habits, He will not give us character, He will not make us walk aright. We have to do all that ourselves, we have to work out the salvation God has worked in. “Add” means to get into the habit of doing things, and in the initial stages it is difficult. To take the initiative is to make a beginning, to instruct yourself in the way you have to go. Beware of the tendency of asking the way when you know it perfectly well. Take the initiative, stop hesitating, and take the first step. Be resolute when God speaks, act in faith immediately on what He says, and never revise your decisions. If you hesitate when God tells you to do a thing, you endanger your standing in grace. Take the initiative, take it yourself, take the step with your will now, make it impossible to go back. Burn your bridges behind you—‘I will write that letter’; ‘I will pay that debt.’ Make the thing inevitable. We have to get into the habit of hearkening to God about everything, to form the habit of finding out what God says. If, when a crisis comes, we instinctively turn to God, we know that the habit has been formed. We have to take the initiative where we are, not where we are not." end Be encouraged by 'doing something' in working out His salvation in your soul! Pstr K Psalm 27:1 Chambers, O. (1986). My utmost for his highest: Selections for the year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering.