2021 Advent Reading – Hope for the World: Advent with John Wesley

Day 10 Tuesday 14 December 2021

On Working Out our own Salvation –  Part 1 (Philippians 2:12-13)

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.


Many Christians wrongfully believed once they have accepted Christ, there is nothing more they need to do. Christ has purchased for them the salvation by being a propitiations for their sins. There is nothing more they need to do. John Wesley denounced this type of thinking and through this Epistle of Paul, he exhorted us to be a person who “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.”

Q: Therefore, who is actually the one working in us, God or ourselves?

A: It is God who works in us to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose. The meaning of these words may be made more plain by a small transposition of them: “It is God, in order to fulfil his good purpose, works in you both to will and to act.” This position of the words, connecting the phrase, “of his good purpose”, with the word “works”, removes all imagination of merit from man, and gives God the whole glory of his own work. Otherwise, we might have had some room for boasting, as if it were our own merit, some goodness in us, or some good thing done by us, which first moved God to work. But this expression cuts off all such vain conceits, and clearly shows his motive to work lay wholly in himself-in his, own mere grace, in his unmerited mercy.

Q: How does he work in us?

A: He works in us to will and to act. Here, “to will”, implies put in our heart every good desire and “to act”, whatever outward results flowing from the good desire. In summary, God breathes into us every good desire, and brings every good desire to good effect.

Q: How should we treat all such good desire and blessings from God?

A: If we know and feel that the very first motion of good is from above, as well as the power which conducts it to the end; if it is God that not only infuses every good desire, but that accompanies and follows it, else it vanishes away; then it evidently follows, that he who glories must glory in the Lord.


During this season of Advent, let’s take a moment to reflect on this truth and pray and give thanks for all the good desires and acts that we do. May we learn to give all glory to God.

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