We have had three posts in this series:
- 2. http://habitationofmercy.com/blog/2019/02/27/what-are-the-means-of-working-out-your-own-salvation/
Hence, this is the fourth post. Each post is self-contained and though they can be read in any other, it is suggested that they be read in sequence for better understanding and benefit.
In view of our previous discussions we want to see, “Why this way of God is the right way.”
But first let us remind ourselves of the way of God with particular reference to the passage we have been looking at:
We are to obey the word of God whether we are alone or in the company of others, whether we have someone to encourage us or not. More importantly, we are to grow out of any dependence or servant mentality and walk in the light God has given us.
Each of us is to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling by obeying the commandments of the Lord after we have been saved. We should understand and be encouraged by the truth that, it is God that works in us both to will to do anything, and to go ahead and do it.
In all that we do, we are not to murmur against and dispute with either God or our fellow believers and thus should not allow a disaffected spirit to disrupt the Christian assembly or our relationship with the Lord.
Rather, we are to follow the ways laid down in Scripture to address God, and to resolve any differences with fellow believers.
Perhaps you are saying that “but I know that believers should not murmur and engage in disputings.”
Then, let us remind ourselves that according to the records of the Holy Bible, not to talk of our own human experiences, there were murmurings and disputings amongst and within the people of God in the Old Testament, also in the early church, and down the ages to our day.
Examples Include, but are not limited to:
- Murmuring and disputing was the stock-in-trade of the people of God in the Old Testament, the Israelites;
- The Pharisees continuously murmured against and disputed with the Lord Jesus Christ during His ministry on earth;
- The disciples amongst themselves even when the Lord Jesus Christ was still with them.
- The Grecian Christians within the early church against the apostles;
And it was not because they did not know they should not have engaged in such ungodly behaviour.
You might be saying, “Who does not know that the way of God is the right way?” But experience tells us that the simple or straight forward things are not always taken seriously by many people. Believers of all era have always known they should obey God yet many disobeyed and continue to disobey even in our own day.
Still in doubt?
Hear: Most Christians know they are to pray, but how many pray? Amongst those who do, how many have progressed beyond just petition and bread and butter prayer level?
Since one of our major duties as believers is to remind one another of the teachings of the Holy Scripture, we shall be doing that now.
We shall anchor our discussion on:
Phil 2:15: “that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world”
From this verse of Scripture and speaking of believers in Christ that: They may be blameless or be without blame and harmless or not harmful to any.
It means that contrary to what many say, it is possible to be blameless and harmless. It also means that effort is required on the part of the believer to accomplish such a state.
To blame is to find fault with or “To hold responsible for.” Hence, one sometimes hears someone else say, “they blamed me for everything” or “He blames everyone for his condition”
To be blameless means to find no fault in or with; To be faultless or Having no fault. From the perspective of humans, even Christ could not escape blame. So, we also cannot escape blame. But we can escape occasions of blame as Christ did, that is, being “hated for nothing” (John 15:25).
But here it is speaking from God’s perspective concerning believers, and not from the perspective of man or of the world: That the believers in Christ are to live to the standard of God, and thus be blameless in the sight of God.
This is not saying that believers can so live as to become blameless before God on the grounds of merit. Rather, it is that a loving God who is their Father will validate the little but sincere efforts of believers out of His love for them.
Hence, we are informed that Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth were blameless before God (Luke 1:6). That is God reckoned them as blameless before Himself.
Do remember that blame could also come to the believer when he reproofs the blameworthy. But the believer should not be afraid of such a blame or refuse to reproof the blameworthy because of the possibility of being blamed.
To be harmful is to cause harm or injury. Being harmless is to not cause harm or injury. Be innocent. The believer must neither have the reputation of mischief, nor the inclination to do mischief.
Believers in Christ are sons (children) of God. They have been reconciled with God through the precious blood of Christ and are therefore “the children of God” (Rom 8:14-16). And as children of God imitating their heavenly Father should be instinctive to all believers and God’s word should be a guide to them as to their duty towards God (Mat 5:44-45, 48).
To rebuke is to criticize sharply. To turn back or keep down. So, to be without rebuke is to be without reproach, fault or blemish. Without strong criticism or strong disapproval. Pleasing God will ensure commendation rather than rebuke. Hence, believers are admonished that:
“having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1Pet 2:12).
That is, believers are to live honestly amongst unbelievers, so that when the unbelievers speak against the believers as evil doers, their works will testify against the unbelievers. This is, in contrast to the unbeliever who is wholly given to ungodliness, and described thus:
“They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: They are a perverse and crooked generation.” (Deut. 32:5).
In the midst of is same as in the middle of or in the centre. It is to be in the most conspicuous place or highest point of visibility. A place of maximum visibility.
To be crooked is to be twisted out of place, dishonest. Being perverse is to be obstinate in opposing what is right. Turned away from what is right or good.
Believers are in the midst of, before or in the presence of the crooked and perverse people of the world. Mark you, it is all believers then, and by extension, all Christians down the ages down to us, and including us today.
Lights shine. Yes, it is the nature of light to shine. The absence of light gives rise to darkness. For the believers to shine is to appear or show themselves by the way they live in obedience to God in their everyday activities surrounded by unbelievers of the world. Their good deeds which they are enabled to do by the grace of God will stand in stark contrast to the evil deeds of the ungodly around them. They will be as lights in their environment just as the sun and the moon are luminaries with their lights illuminating the earth.
Thus, the believers are:
“14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Mat 5:14-16).
this is in reference to this world. It is in the present existence. Most of the graces that believers are endowed with and are expected or commanded to exhibit are for their use in this world.
The entrance of the word of God gives light (Ps 119:130). That word has saved the believer and has continued to renew him. The light within the believer is God’s light.
Hence, the believers are commanded to let their lights so shine before men that they may give glory to God (Mat 5:16). When the believer allows his light to shine, we are told that his path will be,
“as the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day” (Pr. 4:18).
Putting everything together
Believers are to do things God’s way so they can meet with His approval. Believers are the representatives of the invisible God on earth. They are the ones people see, and in many cases, either make them want to get to know God, or run away from God. Believers are to live their lives with the consciousness of being the presence of God.
Believers are to do things God’s way. Though the world may hate them without reason, they should ensure they are blameless and harmless in the sight of God.
As they obey God, they will receive more and more help from the Holy Spirit, and gain access to other resources God has provided for their use. As they obey God, they will shine like luminaries amongst the unbelievers of the world.
Let us ever be more determined to obey God.
The purpose of commanding believers to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, but without murmurings and disputings is so they can be true children of God who are blameless in His sight, and who shine as lights in the midst of the crooked and perverse world.
This is God’s way, and the only way that will meet with His approval and commendation. Believers should do things for God only in the way God has commanded. This is because God’s way is the only way that will please Him.
God is the only one who is a law unto Himself. He is not subject to the judgement or evaluation of any of His creations be they angels or humans. He can only be judged by His own standards and no creation has that level of knowledge or authority to do that for they know only in part, and the creator can never be subject or subservient to any of His creations.
God judges by His own standards which are absolute and not subject to review or approval by anyone for no one is equal to or higher than Him.
God says those who love Him will obey His commands. And that to them, His commands are not burdensome. Rather, to those who believe in Him, it is a delight to obey Him.
This way of God that believers are commanded to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, but without murmuring and disputings,
“that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Phil 2:15),
is the only way that will meet with the approval of God and that He will qualify for reward when the time comes for His children to give account to Him at the final glorification.
It is only right and a fitting demonstration of the believer’s love for His loving Father to obey His commands, especially that the Lord supplies His sufficiency to make obeying Him possible.
Let us, therefore, make every effort to know God’s way, and to follow it in all that we do, so that we may be acceptable to Him now and in eternity.
But please realise that the above speaks to the children of God. People who have been adopted through their believing in the Lord Jesus Christ into the household of God.
But what if you are not yet a believer in Christ and as such, not yet a member of God’s household?
Please understand that the above concerns the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. They can with the help of the Holy Spirit and the written word of God, and a humble spirit be able to be obedient to God. This is because what God demands of His people can only be done with the help of God.
So, if you are not yet a believer in Christ, if Jesus Christ is not yet your Saviour and Lord, the above may sound to you as unreal or a fairy tale. But I assure you it is real and not a fairy tale. And better still, you can come in and have what genuine believers in Christ have.
By becoming a born-again child of God:
Accept God’s verdict concerning human beings:
“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And that“the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
That is, in the opinion of God, we all fall short of His standard. Further, our sin has earned a deserved wage which is death or separation from God in hell.
But while we are still in our sin, God took the initiative to reconcile us with Himself as we are told:
“But God commendeth His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Yes, while we were all still in our sin, God showed His love for us by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ to die for us. God gave Jesus Christ to the whole world (John 3:16). So, all we need to do is to accept that Christ has died for our sin by standing in place of us.
We do this by doing what the word of God commands all would-be believers:
“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10). “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
Everyone who appropriates the sacrifice of Christ is acceptable to Him. And He Himself extended the invitation to all:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).
So, I encourage you to appropriate the finished work of Christ and confess Him as your Saviour and Lord NOW!
I prayer that God will accept you into His household through Christ in Jesus’ Name, Amen. e