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

Day 11
Wednesday 15 December 2021

On Working Out our own Salvation –  Part 2 (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.


Q: What is the meaning of the phrase “to work out your own salvation”?

A: “Work out”, implies the doing a thing thoroughly.

“Your own”; for you yourselves must do this, or it will be left undone forever.

“Your own salvation”:

  • Prevenient Grace: Salvation begins with what is usually termed (and very properly) preventing grace; including the first wish to please God, the first dawn of light concerning his will, and the first slight transient conviction of having sinned against him. All these imply some tendency toward life; some degree of salvation; the beginning of a deliverance from a blind, unfeeling heart, quite insensible of God and the things of God.
  • Convincing Grace: Salvation is carried on by convincing grace, usually in Scripture termed repentance; which brings a larger measure of self-knowledge, and a farther deliverance from the heart of stone.
  • Saving Grace: Afterwards we experience the proper Christian salvation; whereby, through grace, we “are saved by faith;” consisting of those two grand branches, justification and sanctification. By justification we are saved from the guilt of sin, and restored to the favour of God; by sanctification we are saved from the power and root of sin, and restored to the image of God. All experience, as well as Scripture, shows this salvation to be both instantaneous and gradual. It begins the moment we are justified, in the holy, humble, gentle, patient love of God and man. It gradually increases from that moment, as “a grain of mustard-seed, which, at first, is the least of all seeds,” but afterwards puts forth large branches, and becomes a great tree; till, in another instant, the heart is cleansed, from all sin, and filled with pure love to God and man.


Let’s spend a bit of time to reflect back on your salvation. How God has brought you into his fold through his prevenient grace, convincing grace and saving grace. Dear Lord, thanks for bestowing us your grace upon grace.

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