Philippians 2:12, 13 - Cooperating with Divinity.

Philippians 2:12, 13 (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 (AMP) Therefore, my 
dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my 
suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you 
would show] in my presence but much more because I 
am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to 
the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation 
with reverence and awe and trembling 
(self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of 
conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly 
shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit 
the name of Christ).  [Not in your own strength] 
for it is God Who is all the while effectually 
at work in you [energizing and creating in you 
the power and desire], both to will and to work 
for His good pleasure and satisfaction and 


These verses must be read together for a 
proper understanding A "works salvation" is not 
being taught. The idea is to progress to the 
finish or completion in spiritual growth and 
maturity. This process is what the Bible calls 
"sanctification." It should be noted that v. 12 makes it clear 
we are to be active, not passive, in this 
process. However, though we are active, we are not 
alone. Verse 13 reminds us again that the entire 
salvation process is the work of a sovereign God and 
the result of His grace. "For it is God who 
works in you" is the ultimate ground and basis for 
our salvation. [Believers SB] 

Christians allow God to work in them. The 
flesh cannot work up humility or dedication; 
this must come from within by the power of the 
Spirit. God works in us before He works through us, 
and He uses the Word (1 Thes. 2:13), the Spirit 
(Eph. 3:16, 20-21), and prayer. [Wiersbe 
Expository Outlines] 


Our Spiritual Gold Mine
   During the California Gold Rush of the 
mid-1800s, people came from around the nation, even the 
world, to find their fortune. I think people 
thought the gold was just lying around on the 
streets. But they had to go and mine it and work at 
it in hopes of discovering the mother lode. 
   When the apostle Paul wrote, Work out 
your own salvation with fear and trembling 
(Philippians 2:12 NKJV), he was saying its like a 
mine. Go and discover all that God has done for 
you. Extract it. Live it out. Understand it. 
Appreciate it. Find out what it actually means for 
   This means working out our own salvation 
with self-distrust. We come with a reverence for 
God and a distrust of ourselves. We cant do 
this in our own strength. Paul continues, For 
it is God who works in you both to will and to 
do for His good pleasure (verse 13 NKJV). 
   Some people say, God does it all. I do 
nothing. Others say, I do it all and God does 
nothing. Both of those views are wrong. God does it 
through you as you mine it and discover it for 
yourself. Work out your own salvation with 
self-distrust, for it is God who is working in you. 
   The phrase fear and trembling 
doesnt mean that Paul is suggesting we can lose our 
salvation. You can make a recommitment to Christ if you 
need to, but once you have eternal life, it is a 
gift to you from God. You are born again once. 
   The devil loves to challenge what God has 
said. We must stand on the promises of God and not 
our emotions, because our emotions can mislead 
   Dont work for your salvation; work out 
your salvation. What an incredible gift it is. 
[By Greg Laurie from Harvest Ministries; 


When Man Cooperates
   For it is God which worketh in you both 
to will and to do of his good pleasure. 
Philippians 2:13.  
   "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: 
if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I 
will come in to him, and will sup with him, and 
he with me" (Revelation 3:20). Thus the world's 
Redeemer illustrates the work of the Holy Spirit upon 
the human heart. The living agent, by an act of 
faith of his own, places himself in the hands of 
the Lord for Him to work in him His good 
pleasure in His time. There must be a continual 
exercise of faith to be in Christ and keep in Christ, 
abiding by faith in Him.   
   This is a training process, a constant 
discipline of the mind and heart, that Christ shall 
work His great work in human hearts. Self, the 
old natural self, dies, and Christ's will is our 
will, His way is our way, and the human agent 
becomes, with heart, mind, and intellect, an 
instrument in the hands of God to work no more 
wickedness but the righteousness of Christ.  
   In the divine arrangement God does 
nothing without the cooperation of man. He compels 
no man's will. That must be given to the Lord 
completely, else the Lord is not able to accomplish His 
divine work that He would do through the human 
agency. Jesus declared that in a certain place He 
could not do many mighty works among the people 
because of their unbelief. He wanted to do for them 
in that place just what He knew that they 
needed to have done, but He could not because 
unbelief barred the way. The potter cannot mold and 
fashion unto honor that which has never been placed 
in his hands. The Christian life is one of 
daily surrender, submission, and continual 
overcoming, gaining fresh victories every day. This is 
the growing up into Christ, fashioning the life 
into the divine Model.  
   Devotion, piety, and sanctification of 
the entire man come through Jesus Christ our 
righteousness. The love of God needs to be constantly 
cultivated. O how my heart cries out to the living God 
for the mind of Jesus Christ! I want to lose 
sight of self.  {TMK 55}   

Understanding the True Force of the Will 
   The tempted one needs to understand the 
true force of the will. This is the governing 
power in the nature of man--the power of decision, 
of choice. Everything depends on the right 
action of the will. Desires for goodness and purity 
are right, so far as they go; but if we stop 
here, they avail nothing. Many will go down to 
ruin while hoping and desiring to overcome their 
evil propensities. They do not yield the will to 
God. They do not choose to serve Him.   
   God has given us the power of choice; it 
is ours to exercise. We cannot change our 
hearts, we cannot control our thoughts, our 
impulses, our affections. We cannot make ourselves 
pure, fit for God's service. But we can choose to 
serve God, we can give Him our will; then He will 
work in us to will and to do according to His 
good pleasure. Thus our whole nature will be 
brought under the control of Christ.   
   Through the right exercise of the will, 
an entire change may be made in the life. By 
yielding up the will to Christ, we ally ourselves 
with divine power. We receive strength from above 
to hold us steadfast. A pure and noble life, a 
life of victory over appetite and lust, is 
possible to everyone who will unite his weak, 
wavering human will to the omnipotent, unwavering 
will of God. {MH 176}  

We cannot use the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is 
to use us. Through the Spirit God works in His 
people "to will and to do of His good pleasure." 
Philippians 2:13. But many will not submit to this. They 
want to manage themselves. This is why they do 
not receive the heavenly gift. Only to those who 
wait humbly upon God, who watch for His guidance 
and grace, is the Spirit given. The power of God 
awaits their demand and reception. This promised 
blessing, claimed by faith, brings all other blessings 
in its train. It is given according to the 
riches of the grace of Christ, and He is ready to 
supply every soul according to the capacity to 
receive.  {DA 672.1} 

The victory is not won without much earnest 
prayer, without the humbling of self at every step. 
Our will is not to be forced into co-operation 
with divine agencies, but it must be voluntarily 
submitted. Were it possible to force upon you with a 
hundredfold greater intensity the influence of the 
Spirit of God, it would not make you a Christian, a 
fit subject for heaven. The stronghold of Satan 
would not be broken. The will must be placed on 
the side of God's will. You are not able, of 
yourself, to bring your purposes and desires and 
inclinations into submission to the will of God; but if 
you are "willing to be made willing," God will 
accomplish the work for you, even "casting down 
imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself 
against the knowledge of God, and bringing into 
captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." 2 
Corinthians 10:5. Then you will "work out your own 
salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which 
worketh in you both to will and to do of His good 
pleasure." Philippians 2:12, 13. MB142 

The Lord does not propose to perform for us 
either the willing or the doing. This is our proper 
work. As soon as we earnestly enter upon the work, 
God's grace is given to work in us to will and to 
do, but never as a substitute for our effort. 
Our souls are to be aroused to cooperate. The 
Holy Spirit works the human agent, to work out 
our own salvation. TM240 

Many are attracted by the beauty of Christ 
and the glory of heaven, who yet shrink from the 
conditions by which alone these can become their own. 
There are many in the broad way who are not fully 
satisfied with the path in which they walk. They long 
to break from the slavery of sin, and in their 
own strength they seek to make a stand against 
their sinful practices. They look toward the 
narrow way and the strait gate; but selfish 
pleasure, love of the world, pride, unsanctified 
ambition, place a barrier between them and the 
Saviour. To renounce their own will, their chosen 
objects of affection or pursuit, requires a 
sacrifice at which they hesitate and falter and turn 
back. Many "will seek to enter in, and shall not 
be able." Luke 13:24. They desire the good, 
they make some effort to obtain it; but they do 
not choose it; they have not a settled purpose 
to secure it at the cost of all things.  MB143 

Work It Out
   Wouldnt it be nice if you could hire 
someone to work out for you? When you dont want 
to go to the gym, you simply pay someone to do 
it for you. But you cant do that. You have 
to work out for yourself. 
   The Bible tells us, Work out your own 
salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12 
NKJV). This carries the meaning of working to full 
completion. We dont work for it, however; its a 
gift to us from God. But theres work involved 
in the Christian life as we discover what God 
has done for us. 
   This isnt something that someone else 
can do in your place. This is something that you 
must do for yourself. The apostle Paul gives this 
interesting thought in verse 12: Therefore, my 
beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my 
presence only, but now much more in my absence  
(NKJV). Paul was writing to the believers in 
Philippi from prison. He couldnt be there with 
them as he had been in the past. 
   The New Living Translation is helpful 
here: Dear friends, you always followed my 
instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, 
it is even more important. Work hard to show 
the results of your salvation, obeying God with 
deep reverence and fear. 
   Paul was effectively saying, You need 
to grow up spiritually. You cant build your 
spiritual life on me, because it is God who works in 
you, not me. 
   Sometimes we allow people to take the 
place of God in our lives. A husband chooses not 
to attend church because his wife doesnt go 
anymore. Or the kids dont go to church because 
their parents dont. 
   You need your own relationship with God. 
Work out your own salvation. [By Greg Laurie from 
Harvest Ministries; https://www.harvestdaily.com] 

Understand That God Is on Your Side
   No matter what youre going to face 
this next week, you wont face it alone. God is 
with you, he is in you, and he is for you. 
   Philippians 2:13 says, God is working 
in you, giving you the desire and the power to 
do what pleases him (NLT). 
   God is working in you. The word 
working in Greek is the word energos, from which we 
get our word energy. God is the energy 
driver in your life. Youre not just going on 
willpower. Youre not just going on your own power. 
God says he will give you the power you need, no 
matter what youre facing. 
   Not only is he in you, he also is with 
you. The Bible says, I will not leave you as 
orphans; I will come to you  On that day you will 
realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, 
and I am in you (John 14:18, 20, NIV). 
Thats quite a promise! The Bible says Christ is in 
you, youre sheltered with Christ, and youre 
sealed with the Holy Spirit. That means for the 
Devil to get to you, hes got to get through the 
Trinity! Thats pretty good protection and a great 
fear reliever. 
   Not only is God with you and in you, God 
is also for you. Romans 8:31 says, If God is 
for us, no one can defeat us (NCV). 
   When a shepherd leads the sheep, guard 
dogs stay at the back, nipping at the sheep to 
keep them moving in the right direction. 
   The Bible says the guard dogs in your 
life are Gods goodness and mercy. God gives 
you the things you dont deserve - thats 
his goodness. And he doesnt give you the 
things you do deserve - thats his mercy. 
   Get up every morning and say, God, 
thank you that youre going to be with me today, 
youre going to be in me today, and youre going 
to be for me today. 
   Isnt that great news? God is with you, 
God is in you, and God is for you. [Daily 
Devotional by Rick Warren: 


Philippians 2:12, 13 - Abiding in Christ and 
Cooperation in the Salvation Process. 



If anyone has a paraphrase, commentary or 
testimony on this passage of Scripture, either 
personal or otherwise, I would be interested in 
hearing from you.  Thanks in advance and let's keep 
uplifting Jesus that all might be drawn to Him. Fred 


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