Philippians: Working Out Your Own Salvation

Working Out Your Own Salvation
Philippians 2:1216


Describe a time when you were motivated and operating to work out a task but the person you were depending on (e.g. a family member, classmate, professor) was not cooperating. Some examples: getting a letter of recommendation from a professor, having your friend ask a favor to someone else on your behalf, etc.


Focus: On one hand, the Bible reveals that salvation is by grace and through faith; it is not based on our works. On the other hand, it shows us that we need to work out our salvation in our practical daily life, that is, to bring it to the ultimate conclusion by our constant obedience to the Lord.

Read Philippians 2:12-16 twice. Look for the phrase “work out your own salvation” and try to understand the context in which this phrase occurs.

1. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Yet, seemingly contradicting,  Philippians 2:12 says that we must work out our own salvation. Based on the context of verse 12, what is the meaning of working out our salvation here? Read this excerpt.

2. How are murmurings and reasonings (v. 14) related to this salvation? How is our obeying related to this salvation?

3. Why is the phrase “it is God who operates in you” (v. 13) encouraging to us, even as it immediately follows the exhortation to work out our own salvation? How is the concept of our cooperation related to this?

Memorize and pray over Philippians 2:13, then recite it to one another:
For it is God who operates in you both the willing and the working for His good pleasure.


1. What provision in Philippians 2:16 can be used to cooperate with God’s operation? Have you been daily engaging with this provision?

2. If we work out our own salvation by cooperating with God’s inner operation, what will other people see in us? See Philippians 2:15-16