Life-Study of Philippiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 1:19-21a we have salvation, the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the magnifying of Christ, and the living of Christ. In 2:12, 13a, and 16a we have the matters of working out our own salvation, of God operating in us, and of holding forth the word of life. In these two portions of Philippians we have two lines: the first line is salvation, the Spirit, and Christ; the second line is salvation, God, and the word. This comparison is quite revealing.
In 1:19 Paul says that his situation, environment, and surroundings will turn out to him for salvation. But in 2:12 he charges us to work out our own salvation. According to Paul’s word in 1:19, the difficult situations we face can turn out to our salvation. Whether or not our circumstances turn out for us to salvation depends on whether or not we enjoy the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. If we do not enjoy this bountiful supply, our circumstances will turn out to be for shame. Every situation we face will turn out either for salvation or shame. Suppose, for example, a brother’s wife gives him a difficult time. For the brother this situation can be either a salvation or a shame. It all depends on whether or not he enjoys the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. If he enjoys the supply of the Spirit, he will experience an instant salvation, and Christ will be magnified in him. If he does not enjoy the supply, but becomes angry with his wife, he will be put to shame. I repeat, if the brother’s situation with his wife turns out to be for his salvation, Christ will be magnified. In a very real sense, the salvation in 1:19 is Christ magnified.
In 2:12 Paul again speaks of salvation. This time, however, he does not speak of his salvation, but charges the saints to work out their own salvation. Concerning himself, Paul says that his circumstances will turn out for salvation. But concerning the saints, he tells them that they must work out their own salvation.
For the problems we face day by day, especially in our family life and in the church life, we need God’s salvation. We need different kinds of salvation for different kinds of problems. A brother needs one kind of salvation in his dealings with all the different saints. But he needs another kind of salvation in his relationship with his wife. According to God’s ordination, it is not good for a man to be alone. Every brother should have a wife. However, in married life problems are unavoidable. For all these problems we need God’s salvation. God ordained marriage so that we might have the opportunity to enjoy Him. If we enjoy the Lord, we shall experience His salvation in our married life.
God’s salvation as revealed in the Bible is of many categories. Day by day and even moment by moment we may experience different aspects of God’s salvation. Yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, and even moment by moment we need to experience salvation. I simply cannot live without God’s salvation.
When Paul tells us to work out our own salvation, he is not speaking of salvation from hell nor salvation from God’s condemnation. We are not able to work out that kind of salvation. Notice that Paul tells the saints to “work out your own salvation.” A husband should not pay attention to the salvation needed by his wife. Instead, he should concentrate on working out his salvation.
Paul’s word about working out our own salvation should be considered in relation to his charge concerning murmurings and reasonings in verse 14. In this verse he says, “Do all things without murmurings and reasonings.” As we have pointed out previously, murmurings are related to the emotions, and reasonings, to the mind. Furthermore, sisters in particular have a problem with murmurings, whereas brothers are troubled by reasonings. I have never heard of a wife who did not murmur. A sister needs to work out her own salvation with respect to her murmurings. She needs salvation from murmuring. Likewise, the brothers need to work out their own salvation with respect to reasonings. If our married life and church life are filled with murmurings and reasonings, this is proof that we are lacking God’s salvation. Our family life and our church life should be full of salvation and without any murmurings and reasonings. How marvelous it would be if in the church in our locality there were no murmurings or reasonings, but an abundance of salvation!
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