With fear and trembling
Published 12:00 pm Sunday, August 28, 2022
“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of the God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now, if the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” — 1 Peter 4:17-18 (NKJV)
“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.” — Philippians 2:12-13 (NKJV)
If these verses tell us anything, it is that we have every reason to treat our relationship with God as something to be held in very high regard. They also tell us that we have precious little room to boast to the lost about our position in Christ. There is absolutely no room, or time, for us to brag to the lost about how deep and secure we believe our relationship with Jesus to be.
The righteous are scarcely saved, not because the blood of Christ is not powerful enough, but because most do not continue to work out God’s gift of grace. There is little or no trembling in our spirit at the thought of how little we love and live for the One we call our Lord and Savior.
We take the word of a preacher, or of our own congregation, rather than the witness of the Spirit, to assure us of our salvation. Having taken the word of our friends as irrefutable, we slip back into the world; to be sure, we have given up most of the vices that offend those friends, but there has been precious little evidence of the necessary rebirth that is the hallmark of Christianity.
Only a fool would not fear (and tremble) at the thought of standing before a Holy God to give account; yet we live as though that day will be nothing more than just another day.
We have been given grace upon grace, and abundant mercy equal to the time we have lived; in order that we might have opportunity to work out our own salvation. Work it out, cling to Him through His word, through prayer and supplication, through obedient service that He has called you to.
Work it out!
Rev. Bobby Thornhill is a retired Methodist preacher.