The Most Confusing Passage In The Bible

Today, Interruptions gets theological.  

With many, and with me too, theological implies confusing. The following passage in the Bible is the one that confuses me the most: 

… Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13 ESV).

The confusion comes with “works.” Is Paul saying that we work out our own salvation? 

But then why does Paul write this: 

For by grace you have been saved by faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV).

Is the Apostle Paul contradicting himself? 

Okay, Apostle Paul, what is it, grace/faith or works/fear, that gives us salvation?

Great minds debate and there are even theological names for the opposing sides of this argument – Calvinism and Arminianism. Many books have been written too. So, let me promise two things:  1.  In this blog, I can’t resolve this problem, and 2.  In this blog, I can resolve this problem.

Pastor Grant, did you just write that you can’t solve this problem and that you can solve this problem? I’m confused with the Apostle Paul; now I’m confused by you.  

Okay, let’s stop for a moment and pray. Let’s ask God for peace during this confusion and that Pastor Grant will now write something – that makes sense!

Has anyone ever confronted you by asking, “Did you say this?” To which you responded, “Well, I did, and I didn’t.” To which your accuser demands, “What are you talking about?” And you say, “I did say it, but I didn’t mean it the way you think that I meant it.”

Then you give an explanation of what you meant. This is what the Apostle Paul does. He gives an explanation.

In Philippians 2:12 he writes, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Then in Philippians 2:13, Paul says, “Let me give you this explanation – God is at work in you both to will and to work.”

Let me give an explanation in my words.

You are saved by grace. Your works change. Experiencing God changes your will so that you want to serve Him more and more. God and you – it is all God – but He uses you. Your obedience to Him becomes easier as your love for Him grows.

Perhaps you’re still confused. Your mind hurts. And you are considering never reading  Interruptions again.

Pray: God, help me work out my salvation in this area (________) of disobedience. Change my heart so that I love you more than this sin.