proving what is true: philippians 2:12-18

Reprinted with permission from Steve Pettit at One in Christ Emphasis added by yours truly.

Proving What Is True - Philippians 2 :: Steve Pettit @

The Scriptural history of man in relation to God is the story of choosing between alternatives.

We are either choosing “Thy Will - You are my Savior and my Source,” or, “My will - I’ll be my own savior and source, thank you.” All other species may act instinctually or deterministically, but not man. Created in the image of God, Who is absolutely free, man must choose freely to be man. God created man to be at home in His family of fearless love and loving communion cannot be forced. A union of lovers cannot be imposed. To coerce would be to frustrate the very intimacy that Love (God) intends. Because God is making us like Him—free, voluntary, sacrificial lovers, human fellowship with God requires a choice - a full and free consent.

That God-like freedom to choose is behind Paul’s instruction to “work out” our salvation (2:12). It is God’s “good pleasure” that we do so. For God to deny us this freedom would be for Him to deny Himself the freedom to be loved and trusted. When we freely “work out” what God has already freely “worked in”, Paul says we “prove” something (2:15). We prove to ourselves and to the unbelieving world that God is able to make us brand new creations. As we choose to “hold fast the word of life” (2:16) - Christ and His truth - we prove ourselves to be in experience what we already are by nature - “children of God” (2:15).

To work out our salvation by choosing to trust our Deliverer - “Thy will, not mine” - is to become what we have already received. This “becoming” (another way to translate the word “prove” in 2:15) is an ever-enlarging awareness of and participation in the very nature of our Father Who abides in us! In other words, we are proving that what we do is because of what is true.

What we do - work out our salvation, is because of what is true - God has already worked it into us. What we do - serve others according to their need,  is because of what is true - a Servant Who met our needs lives in us. What we do - go the second mile with undeserving people,  is because of what is true - a Second Mile Life abides in us. What we do - choose “Thy will” over “my will”, is because of what is true - the life of “Thy Will, not mine” is now our life.

Every time we consent to cooperate with God’s operation in and through us we are proving what is true – that is what we are made for!