Some of you may have read my article recently on what the Bible means by “crowns”.
Strangely I received a response which asked me to work for my “crown”.
Naturally I would dismiss it. However I decidedly wish to reproduce it here to show you how poor exegesis will create confusion in you.
Here is what was said.
“That was Paul who said that. To encourage Christians based on his own salvation. But the salvation of others cannot save you. Someone cannot have money watching someone else work. So each must work for own salvation like Paul did.a mere man like Billy Graham. But Billy cannot find you worthy of such price for he doesn’t know himself. What you wrote is easy said than done. I would like to see your crown.”
I would just like to take the opportunity to look at the term “working for your own salvation”. I wish to highlight this as many believers really think they have to guarantee their own salvation. Let me give you a contextual exposition.
How do you work out your salvation with fear and trembling?
Let’s check it out.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but 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 work for his good pleasure.
Now if you look carefully, you will realize people forget that the one who works is God. He works in us both to do and to will.
So God does everything. Not you.
The next thing you will note is the word “therefore”. When you see the word “therefore” it always denote a conclusion. So it is good to look at the previous verses to see the context.
complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
You would note the context of “working out your salvation” would actually be better translated as “remember how you were saved?”
Paul was trying to tell certain persons to be humble recounting how they were saved by Jesus fully under the work of God and thereafter how selfless Jesus was.
So what was going on?
This passage of Scripture was actually directed to two women who were in dispute with one another and trying to out do one another.
Look at this.
I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.
They were in disagreement and this was causing friction in the church at Phillipi.
Paul tells them the way to “work out your salvation” is:
Do all things without grumbling or disputing,
It has nothing to do with your salvation but settling a dispute between two women.
Your salvation on the other hand is guaranteed by God.