Q. Re: Phil. 2:12-13 “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose”. I read an article where the author uses these verses to deny OSAS. He agrees we are saved by grace and cannot earn or deserve our salvation. But we must do our part to receive and keep it, or else we’ll lose it.
A. How could Paul tell the Philippians they have to work to maintain their salvation when he had already told the Ephesians (Ephes 1:13-14) and the Corinthians (2 Cor. 1:21-22) that their salvation was guaranteed from the time they believed. Earlier in the same letter Paul said God is faithful to carry to completion the good work he began in us (Phil. 1:6). We didn’t begin the work, He did. We don’t carry it to completion, He does. As soon as we ask for His salvation He grants it, and when He does He gives us the Holy Spirit with whom we are sealed unto the day of redemption (Ephes. 4:30).
Phil 2:12 is part of a passage where the context is how we should imitate the Lord’s humility. In Phil 2:5-11 He said Jesus was God in the flesh, but made himself as humble as a servant, even forfeiting His own life because His Father asked Him to. If He who was the son of God could do that, how much more should we who have nothing to commend us come to God in deep humility, with fear and trembling, because we know we could never deserve what we’re asking for.
Phil. 2:13 tells us even our asking for salvation is due to God working in us to act according to His purpose. We can’t take credit for anything. In that context, how could Paul have possibly been saying that we have to work to finish the job God only began? If that was the case we’d be able to take credit for completing our own salvation and Paul would have been contradicting himself.
“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Cor. 1:21-22).