The big ‘for’ of God’s empowerment

“for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” Php 2.13 ESV.

In some circles of Christians, Philippians 2.12 is a favorite. It is a good and wonderful Bible verse needed to show others the importance of dedicated effort toward salvation. “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,” …

Sometimes, however, a period is added after verse 12 and verse 13 is forgotten. The tendency which separates the two verses comes from an emphasis on human effort divorced from the empowerment that God provides. But the two verses are one sentence.

God’s empowerment covers two areas of human activity: desire and doing. He works not only to help us work out our salvation, but he also works in our hearts and minds to give us desire and motivation, or as Ralph Earle calls them, “the willing and the working” (WMNT).

The “for” of verse 13 is what provides the motivation for verse 12. Only because we know that God works in us to enable us both to desire and to work can we carry forward our development of salvation.

From the forthcoming book, Total Transformation, to be published by Forthright Press.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

What do you think?