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Keep Working at All Y'all's Salvation in Holy Awe

Carry out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God.

So work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved.

Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.

Be keener than ever to work out the salvation that God has given you with a proper sense of awe and responsibility.

Keep Working at All Y'all's Salvation in Holy Awe.  

Philippians 2:12b (CEB, MSG, CEV, NLT, PHILLIPS, Sevy Southern Accent Translation)  

We live in a narcissistic, individualistic, consumerist society here in the west.  I think it is very easy 
to view Philippians 2:12 as individualistic, as in, "I have to work out my own salvation before God".  I believe strongly in personal responsibility and assertiveness, so my mind tends to go in the individualistic direction.  But I discovered that is the wrong or not the best or fullest (exegetical) interpretation of Philippians 2:12(b).

Verses have to be interpreted in their context and the context of Philippians 2 is the whole community.  When Paul writes, "you", he means "you all".  The salvation in verse 12 is the ongoing salvation in our lives.  It's sanctification, healing, and growth.  These all occur in community.  Community is a key to growth.  

Dave Black wrote about this the other day and inspired me. As Dave Black states, this is a corporate exhortation. Paul is speaking to the church and to each individual within it. In the church, we are all linked as one. Earlier in Philippians 2, verse 2, Paul writes that the church should be of one purpose and one mind. Dave Black calls this "co-souled":

""co-souled" (2:2), inextricably linked together by the Spirit of God on the basis of their common faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, who is in the process of creating a visible community of faith -- a living, breathing organism that knows that its most credible form of witness to the world is its own unity and love."
I am reminded again that Christianity is not a solo flight and even The Lone Ranger had Tonto!  I thank God for my friends and the healing communties I have been a part of.  We need time alone with God and we need time with community.  Inspiring sermons and uplifting worship are wonderful.  I love them.  But the Christian life is lived out and grown in community.  Two's and three's, four's and five's, ten's and sometimes twenty's.

Being in a small group, Bible Study, or house church is no guarantee of being in community.
What then is community?  Thoughts, definitions, and comments:

"Community, for me & as I understand it, is nothing short of having a group of people to which you grow together with in love & in understanding & application of the Gospel of Christ.
Church cannot completely satisfy it.
..nor Small Groups.
..nor Bible Studies.
It happens & when it does, we should hold fast to it & savor it."

"People that will do anything for one another with no expectation of anything in return. They don’t have to have the same background or life situation or go to the same church or school. They reach beyond social, financial and popular expectations and show true brotherly love."
"I think it looks like a bunch of real people – with real family, real issues, real hopes, real dreams, real fears and real failures… People who come together regularly and get involved in each other’s daily lives with the aim to genuinely pursue following Jesus, living Jesus, loving Jesus and loving each other like Jesus loves them. Its people committed to a bigger dream and a greater glory – to a world where the kingdom comes more and more and where outsiders become insiders cause of the love of God. It’s a place of extreme generosity, radical kindness and unheard of compassion. It’s a group of people who are relentless encouragers – who’ll tell you when you’re acting like a moron (cause they love you), who’ll forgive you (regardless) and you’ll forgive them, and these same people will be the ones who cheer you on as you run the race of life. It’s messy too (as families are) but issues are addressed with grace – and unity is a key outcome and objective. Its sacrificial living too – living that says “I wanna also put your needs above my own”… "
“Jesus with skin on!”


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