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Bible Questions with Michael Pearl
Episode 062: What does working out your salvation mean?

By Michael Pearl

Episode Transcription:

Michael Pearl:  All right. This is my painting studio today. I'm Michael Pearl. My wife has written a book called "Yell and Tell: Sara Sue Learns to Yell and Tell." It's about the need for children to be forewarned and forearmed against the possibility of someone attempting to sexually molest them. And so we are painting the illustrations. I'm painting the illustrations and they're putting together this book. It'll be published out pretty quick here. It is going to be a great help to lot of young kids, three, four, and five years old.

Mother read it them, discuss with them the need to be on guard against anyone who attempts to sexually molest them. Now Jared has followed me here into my painting room and has some questions for me that he is going to play that you've been asking.

Now I haven't seen the questions. I haven't heard them. Don't know what they are. But, I'm going to be glad try to give you some answers today. So Jared, what's the first question?

El Rosio:  Hello. Thank you my name is El Rosio from Michigan. I am calling because I would like to ask Michael Pearl what does working out your salvation mean? What does it mean and how do we do that, knowing that we are in Christ, knowing that we are saved by grace. How do you work out your salvation? Thank you and good bye.

Michael:  All right. That's a good question. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling is what he said. You can't work it out until God's worked it in. In other words, salvation in the Bible is spoken of in three tenses. You have been saved, you are being saved, and you will be saved. Salvation as a package is God's gift to us. But, salvation is not over with the day you're born again. Now it's secured for you, it's reserved in Heaven for you. But that's not the end of it. That's the beginning.

Your salvation then, from the day you are born again, throughout your life, to the end of your life is that process by which God not only has forgiven you but, does deliver you from the process of sin.

So you must be delivered from the daily acts of sin as well as from the guilt of sin. And that's the working out part. In other words, if you look at Paul's epistles, he'll start off with one, two, three chapters where he tells us about our position in Christ and all that God's given us.

The books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians. It is a great blessing and a great encouragement. Then he'll say now, put off also these. He said if you put on Christ, now put off these. Lying, anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication, put them away.

So that's the working out process. It is the process of He said examine yourself. It is a process of examining ourselves and discovering those things that are sinful within us still.

Bring them to Christ, and reckoning ourselves to be dead, so that on a daily basis we're delivered from the power of sin. That's working out what God's worked in. And so it is a process all of us participate in and will until the day we die.

If we don't then, there won't be any changes in our lives. Those changes come as we allow God to work through us that which He has already worked into us. It's like planting a garden.

You put a tomato plant in the ground and you've got your garden planted. You say I've planted my garden today. Great, OK. I'll wait three months and harvest it. No you won't.

What you'll do in the meantime having planted that garden is you will weed it, you will water it, and you will sucker the vines. You'll go out there and pull those old tomato worms off.

We did that this summer. The grandkids loved to come around and pull those old big long tomato worms off and squash them. They'd take two or three of them and put them in a lunch pail and wait, put some leaves in there and they'd turn into butterflies. That's not part of our question is it?

So we work out that which God has worked into us and it's a process. It's a long process. It's a whole lifetime process. So it's not working for your salvation, it's working out that which is inside.

Announcer:  If you would like to ask a Bible question, email us at [email protected] or call at 931‑805‑4820.

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3 comments on “What does working out your salvation mean?”

  1. Hi Christina.
    if brother pearl or another brother from this ministry dont give you an answer. then i am happy to give you one. i am a bible student and i love some teachings of brother michael pearl. but i also study the holy scriptures for myself. so here is my answer too you. an may god bless you richly.
    Philippians 2:12.
    Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
    Note 1 at Php 2:12: Here, the Philippians were encouraged by Paul to be faithful in his absence as they had been in his presence. Notice that he did not tell them to work for their salvation; rather, he told them to work out their salvation (see note 2 at this verse).
    Note 2 at Php 2:12: Salvation is what God did for us through Jesus Christ. It is the gift of God (see note 4 at Ro 6:23) that can only be received by faith. When we put our faith in Jesus as our Lord, God puts salvation and all its blessings in us (Php 2:13), but we have to work it out.
    The phrase "work out" was translated from the Greek verb "KATERGAZOMAI," and according to Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament, it means "'to carry out to the goal, to carry to its ultimate conclusion.' We say, 'The student worked out a problem in arithmetic.' That is, he carried the problem to its ultimate conclusion. This is the way it is used here. The Philippians are exhorted to carry their salvation to its ultimate conclusion, namely, Christlikeness."
    Php 2:13 reveals there is a divine enablement that wills and is able to perform God's bidding in our lives, but there is an effort on our part too. We have to work it out. This work needs to be understood in the light of the labor spoken of in Heb 4. We are to cease from trust in ourselves and rest in the Lord. That takes effort.
    Note 3 at Php 2:12: The Amplified Bible translates the last part of this verse as "work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ)."

  2. I will try to explain my understanding of how what Mr Pearl is saying is different from what others say. We have freedom from sin through Christ and the Holy Spirit. We are made a new creature and are circumcised with a circumcision made without hands. Therefore our spirit is free to walk after the leading of the Holy Spirit having been cut away and freed from the body. We can now make the body do what we want it to do rather than the other way around. Therefore, as we become aware of a particular sin in ourselves, we can right then stop doing that sin. We are not a slaves to it. However, the fact is we will becoming aware of new manifestations of sin throughout our lives. Sometimes it may be the same sin, but a new manifestation of it so that I at first didn't recognize it as the same sin. (pride is a good example) There is always something new The Lord is showing me about myself that I should change. It's not to earn salvation, it doesn't make me righteous in the eyes of God. Upon the moment I was saved, I was like the leper who was made clean. At that moment, I wanted to follow The Lord because, like a simple child, I just love him and want to be with him. I want to see my daddy work and be a part of what he is doing. I delight in doing his will. It is my expression of love in response to his greater love.
    Many others teach that we can never be free from a particular sin. They act as if we will always struggle to overcome the same sins. (Like addictions) The focus seems to be more on what we must do in ourselves as a good little Christian. I find that when I focus on my own efforts, I become like Peter when he took his eyes off of Jesus and focused on the limitations of his flesh. He began to sink in ther stormy sea.
    I may be going beyond what Michael Pearl teaches with this; I do not know. But I have come to believe that it is God who works out my salvation. 1John says that I cannot sin because his seed is in me, meaning the Holy Spirit. Well, since I cannot earn the Holy Spirit; it is a gift. So then this sinlessness, this holiness, this fruit of the spirit I will exhibit is a work of the Holy Spirit in me. It is all a work of his grace. I'm not really doing anything, unless you consider the wholehearted delight of a child in his father as a work. If I do his will, it is just me copying what I see my father do. If I say what he would have me say, it is just me mouthing the words he has taught me. His yoke is truly easy when I follow him.

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