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"To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat." (Revelation 2:17 NKJV)
 
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SPIRIT BREAD WEEKLY
"HOW TO WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION"
PART 1
"ON OUR OWN"
By Jerry D. Ousley
 

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            “I am just going by what God showed me.  Me and God have an understanding you know.  I talk with Him all the time so I am just working out my own salvation.”  Man, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that one!  The statement usually comes from those who have decided to never darken the door of a church.  They want to be right with God and have an honest belief in God.  But they don’t read the Bible and when they do only pick out a few choice verses (sometimes as in this case fractions of verses) and build their Biblical theology on those few statements.  Wouldn’t it be nice (from a worldly standpoint) if God really did give us the freedom to believe what we wanted to and come up with a theology that was acceptable to Him and live our life like that and still know that despite what we justified as right and wrong, we would be candidates for Heaven?

 

            An old country song held the title to the first line of the chorus which said, “Me and Jesus, we got our own thing goin’, Me and Jesus; we got it all worked out.”  It was right in the center of this infamous doctrine that could possibly condemn one’s soul to hell even though they felt like everything was just fine.  I had an uncle who is with Jesus now, who pastored a good portion of his life.  He knew the untruth taught in this song and even though for a while it was popular to sing in church, whenever someone would begin singing that song he would stop playing his guitar and often even ask the individual to stop singing and pick out another song.  That took a lot of guts and folks because of the doctrine this song was portraying in my opinion he had every right to do that.

 

            Those who purport this teaching derive it from a verse of scripture written by Paul in Philippians 2:12 which says this:  “Therefore, my beloved, as you 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 …”  That is what Paul wrote. Those teaching and living by this false doctrine leave out all of the verse except the last part.  They only hear the “work out your own salvation, and forget about the first part and also the “fear and trembling” part.  What he was teaching was that since he had to be somewhere else and since they had always walked in his teaching, that now that he was away from them that they should continue in his teaching and in studying the Word of God, teaching themselves from the Word regarding their salvation, being very careful to not misinterpret the Word (fear and trembling).  He wasn’t saying that they could just do what they wanted to do and God would honor that.  He wasn’t saying that they could just believe anything and God was okay with it.

 

           Of course, when it comes right down to it, under the plan of salvation we are responsible for our salvation.   We are to surround ourselves with Christian friends to influence us.  We are to read and study the Bible so that we come up with the correct teaching of the Word in the correct context.  I am going to say something here that will raise a lot of eyebrows and may even get some torn robes and cries of blasphemy, but with so many denominations today and so many different views of the meaning of the Bible no wonder we have those who believe this false doctrine of “we got our own thing goin’”  Now I am not going to be so bold as to say that what I believe is the final word.  I know that isn’t true because as I have studied the scriptures all these years I have had to change my own belief many times to conform to what the Bible was saying.  But I am going to be bold enough to say that all these different teachings are not okay.  When God inspired the Bible He meant for it to say one thing.  So somebody is wrong and I think that most of us are wrong.  We may never know the full truth of every passage until we get to Heaven but God meant one thing with the scripture and all these different teachings can’t be correct.  Maybe we are all wrong.  But that doesn’t mean we should quit striving for the truth until we find it.  That’s where the problem really lies:  Many refuse to abandon their false belief’s and try to make the Bible fit what they believe instead of changing their belief to conform to the Bible.  We may never know in this life but I guarantee we will know when we are before the throne of God.

 

           We are to be quick to conform to the Word.  When we discover we are wrong then we must be willing to swallow our pride, gulp real hard and admit our error.  Ask God to forgive us for our ignorance and then go on in the truth.  Now when we do that then we are really working out our own salvation.