VV 12-13, 12 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; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Paul addressed the Philippians Christians as his beloved, indicating his affection and strong bond of friendship. In Philippians 1:1, he addressed them as saints, bishops, and deacons. He implored the Philippians Christians to obeyed God to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. Paul did not advocate salvation by work. The injunction is to “work out” your salvation, not “‘work for” your salvation. Working out your salvation is a response to what God had done for you. God had “worked in’’ the work of salvation to you by grace. This should result in good works of servitude. Good works comes after salvation, not before.
James 2:14-17, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead”.
Justification and salvation is by grace, through faith in Christ and not by works. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast”.
Justification and salvation is a miracle of a lifetime. This alone should be enough to make you tremble with fear. God saved you by grace according to His will.
VV 14-16, 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing,15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
As children of God, they (and we), should do things without complaining and disputing, be blameless, harmless, and faultless to shine light of Christ into the dark and perverse world. They (and we), should be hold fast to the word of scripture, rejoice and await the day of Christ’ second coming.
VV 17-18, 17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
Paul was very emotional as he anticipated his impending martyrdom for his faith in Christ. He rejoiced because “to live is Christ and to die is gain’’, Philippians 1:21. He was headed for heaven.