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The Potter's Clay

Scripture, Theology, the Christian worldview, and other ramblings.

06 September 2005

The One Thing Necessary

by Thomas Watson

"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." - Philippians 2:12 If there be anything excellent, it is salvation; if there be anything necessary, it is working out salvation; if there be any tool to work with, it is holy fear. "Work out your salvation with fear."

The words are a grave and serious exhortation, needful, not only for those Christians who lived in the apostle's time, but may fitly be calculated for the meridian of this age wherein we live.

I proceed now to the exhortation, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling," which words do branch themselves into these three particulars:-

First, the act, work out; secondly, the object, your own salvation; thirdly, the manner in which we should work it out, with fear and trembling. I shall speak principally of the first two, and draw in the other briefly in the application.

The proposition is this: It should be a Christian's great work to be working out his salvation. The great God hath put us into the world as into a vineyard, and here is the work He hath set us about, the working out of salvation. There is a parallel Scripture to this: "Give diligence to make your calling and election sure" (2 Pet. 1:10). When estate, friends, life cannot be made sure, let this be made sure: The original Greek signifies to study, or beat the brains about a thing. These words in the text, "work out," imply two things. First, a shaking off spiritual sloth. Sloth is a pillow on which many have slept the sleep of death. Secondly, it implies a uniting and rallying together all the powers of our souls that we may attend the business of salvation. God hath enacted a law in Paradise, that no man should eat of the tree of life, but only in the sweat of his brows.

I.

I proceed now to the reasons enforcing this holy sweat and industry about salvation, and they are three. We must work out our salvation because of:-

1. The difficulty of this work.
2. The rareness of it.
3. The possibility of it.

More to come...

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