This is Part 4 in a series on Philippians 2. You can read the previous posts here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed - not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence - continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose." (Philippians 2:12-13).
What does Paul mean when he says we should "work out our salvation with fear and trembling"? Why with fear and trembling? Why do we need to work out our salvation?
When we choose to accept the gift God offers us through Jesus Christ, we are saved - our salvation is complete. But, the process of learning to live the way Christ wants us to is just beginning. We are continually being changed to be more like Christ as we follow Him.
We need to take seriously the gift we have been given and seek God. We choose to follow and obey what He has told us. When Paul says we should work out our salvation with fear and trembling, this is what he's talking about. It's about taking seriously living the life that God has asked us to live as His followers.
The good news is that we don't have to do this in our own strength. We have God in us being our strength to live that out. It's not about us trying harder to do it. It's about us allowing God to work in us.
We choose to follow God and take Him seriously. That's our part. Then He becomes the strength we need to live the way He calls us to.