Wherefore, my beloved, as ye 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.
Many people misapply this scripture. They are at loss whether the work of salvation done by Jesus was complete or not. You see, Man is a spirit. The devil targeted this spirit and disconnected him from the source of his life through sin. That’s what God calls death. God warned Adam against it. he said, ”for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 3:17) and Adam died just as God warned. The effect was that Adam could no longer stand, the presence of God. He fled and ran from the sound of His coming (Gen. 3:8-10) Jesus gave His divine life to reconnect us so that as many as believe in Jesus may be reconnected to this Eternal Life and have Him for himself (John 3:16). This salvation from death was perfected by Jesus. It does not need your impute. Just believe and be saved.
Now man has a soul with which man relates and expresses himself. This soul can be trained by association. Having built an association with the devil, it became corrupted. This soul which includes his mind, will and emotion got corrupted because he built an association with the devil. So he imbibed the devil’s lust,will his , words and ways (John 8:44) But now that you are born again and can now fellowship with God by His Spirit in you, you’re expected to unlearn those things you learnt from Satan and learn the will, words and ways of God. This is what is meant by redemption of the soul. God counsels you to be actively involved in the redemption of this soul.
The instrument for this redemption is the Word of God for ”The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring the soul” (Psalms 19:7). So by listening to and doing what God says, you will unlearn the bad behaviours and habbits you have learnt in your old life which you lived in association with the devil. Do you notice a wrong behaviour like anger, malice, lust, e.t.c.; or do you have an unprofitable behaviour like drunkeness, smoking, e.t.c? That does not mean you are not saved if you have been born again. It only means your soul needs transformation. Constant reading meditating on and doing God’s word will help you unlearn those wrong habits. The bible says ”How can a young person maintain a pure life? By guarding it according to your [God’s] instructions!” By doing the word of God, You will also learn the character of Jesus.
Now this is the salvation–the salvation of your soul–that God wants you to be actively involved in. It is your responsibility. God will not read your bible for you. You have to be disciplined enough to study your bible, pray and act on the word of God. God want you to be very serious about it as a mark of reverence for him. (Phil 2:12). We are to give all diligence to and be actively involved in this process because we reverence God who wants us to change our character from that of the devil to His own. When you study God’s word and see wrong in your character or behavior, you don’t need to struggle. Just decide do the right thing. Declare that that wrong habit is dead and cannot exist in you for you are a new creature. Decide to do right never to walk in that old way. By now you have the ability to say no to sin. God’s power is made available to you, use it (2Pet. 1:3). For example, if you notice that you tell lie and God’s word says to speak the truth to yourselves in love, all you have to do is to believe that the old life of lying is dead from you and you now speak the truth only Declare that you speak the truth always decide to stand for the truth. The power to do that will manifest in your life.
Thank God because you are saved not by works but by grace
Thank God for giving you the instrument to transform your character
Ask God for grace to work out the salvation of your soul with fear and trembling
Ask for grace to study and do our act on His word
Declare that you are saved. Declare that you can do all God speaks to you
Declare that you are being transformed as you study and obey God’s word
Pray for God’s Church and me too.