Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
Lights in the World
Paul does not pretend that working out the implications of the gospel into a lifestyle of practical humility is easy (vv. 12–13). But it is necessary. When we apply the gospel to ourselves with the radical humility of Christ, we stand out in the world as lights for Christ (vv. 14–16). The application of the gospel is tremendously difficult work. It requires working out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (v. 12), all the while trusting God to do the work of the gospel in us (v. 13). Meanwhile, we live with a luminous joy, free of grumbling and complaining (v. 14).
Paul’s own life follows the pattern of Christ’s humble sacrifice as he faces the prospect of being “poured out as a drink offering” (v. 17). Rather than dread this possibility, Paul is glad and rejoices and wants the Philippians to rejoice also (vv. 17–18).
As followers of Christ, we cannot expect our path to be one of ease. Salvation by grace is totally free, but that does not mean there is no personal cost (cf. Luke 14:28). God is at work, but there is strenuous work for us to do as well. And yet the strain of living for Christ cannot eclipse our joy. Jesus’ sacrifice was done in joy, without complaining, and we likewise are welcomed in the glad service of Christ and others. The gospel that calls us to sacrifice also calls us to rejoice. The redemption into which we have been swept up is too great to be tepid about. What a gospel this is! Reflecting on God’s grace to us, the very “children of God” (Phil. 2:15), our hearts are softened once more.
*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.