From the Daily Office Lectionary for Thursday in the week of Proper 18, Year 1 (Pentecost 15, 2015)
Philippians 2:12-13 ~ Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” I often forget that Paul wrote those words. Many people forget that Paul wrote those words. They need to be better known and better remembered, with special emphasis on the third and fourth words – your own!
Too many people who call themselves Christians are much too concerned with working out other people’s salvation, too busy judging the way others live their lives and doing too little to amend their own. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
I suppose focusing on someone else’s peccadilloes is a way to avoid the fear and trembling we would experience were we to face our own gross iniquities. As I prepared my sermon for last Sunday, I was reminded of Jesus’ admonition: “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” (Mt 7:5) “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”