Greg Laurie — The Biblical Worldview on Salvation
See everybody has a worldview. There is no question about that. Your worldview is influenced by many things. It's influenced by culture, your upbringing, your education or lack thereof. The books you read or the lack of books you read. The media you expose yourself to. And a worldview is comprehensive. It will affect every area of your life from your personal morality to how you spend your money to your politics to how you vote even. It affects everything about you. And so what we want to have is a Christian worldview. More specifically, we want to have a biblical worldview. The only way to have a biblical worldview is by studying and memorizing scripture and spending time in it each and every day so we run everything through a biblical grid and we ask ourselves the question, what does the Bible say about this?
Because sometimes people have an emotional worldview. They base their views on how they feel. And you don't want to do that because your emotions can mislead you. You know sometimes people will say well I just go with my heart because the heart wants what the heart wants. What the heck does that even mean? Let me tell you something about your heart. The Bible says it's deceitfully wicked above all things. Who can know it? So don't just go with your heart because your heart can mislead you. Don't just go with your emotions because your emotions can mislead you. Certainly don't go with culture because that will mislead you. Go with the Bible. It will never take you in the wrong direction. Learn to think biblically.
You see I am a righteous man. You say, Greg I don't know you know I saw how you drove earlier today. Wait. I didn't say I always do righteous things. But I am positionally righteous before God. And this is true of every Christian because the day I believed he removed my sin. He forgave my sin. He forgot my sin. He removed every trace of my sin and in the place of that he put the righteousness of Jesus Christ. That's what it means to be justified. But here's the problem. We know these things. We say these things. But do we live like saved people? Because sometimes you don't see the impact of one's salvation on a person's lifestyle or on their choices. They will say yes I love the Lord but they will do things that seem to contradict that. They will say oh yes I am saved, but you wonder are they really saved? And I think if a person has really met God. There will be evidence in their life. If a person has really come into this encounter with Jesus Christ, you will see the results. Time will tell if they're saved. Right. And this is sort of a transitional moment of what I'm talking about here where I want to talk about working out your salvation.
So let's look at Philippians 2:12. "Therefore, my beloved, as you've always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and do of his good pleasure". Work out your own salvation. What does that mean? It means only you can work out your salvation. Wouldn't it be nice if you could hire someone to work out for you? You say I don't want to work out. Why don't you go work out for me? But you can't do that. You have to go work out for yourself. So work out your own salvation. This is not something someone else can do in your place. This is something you must do for yourself. It's a personal choice. But Paul throws in an interesting thought here in verse 12. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but more in my absence.
So basically Paul is writing to the believers here in Philippi from a prison. He's been arrested and he can't go and be with them as he was in the past. And so he misses them and they miss him. So basically he is saying now guys I am not with you, but I still want you to work out your own salvation. I think the new living translation is helpful here where Paul says, "Dearest friends you were always so careful to follow my instructions when I was with you. But now that I'm away you must be even more careful to put in action God's saving work in your lives". Here's what Paul is saying in effect. Guys you need to grow up spiritually. You can't build your spiritual life on me. Don't even for a moment think you guys can go into spiritual cruise control if I'm not personally there for you because it is God that works in you, not Paul. I'm not doing the work in your life. God is doing the work in your life.
I bring this up because sometimes we can allow people to take the place of God in our life. I'm not going to church if so-and-so isn't speaking. I only go when he speaks. Well I'm not going to do that because I don't know that person. I only like this person and we can become far too willing to put a person in the place of God. We can allow our hearts as one said to become idol factories. A husband chooses to not go to church because his wife doesn't go any more. Or maybe the kids don't go to church because their parents don't go anymore. Listen, you need your own relationship with God. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. You say, but Greg my parents were hypocrites. Or I saw a hypocrite at church. Yeah. Get over it. Grow up, put your faith in Christ and follow him. Paul is saying it can't be all about me being there with you because I won't always be there with you. But the Lord always will be there with you. So work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Paul did not say work for your own salvation because salvation is a gift of God. And by the way, this is a gift that grows more valuable with the passing of time. Isn't it interesting how things that were so valuable on the day you received them have no value now. And that which didn't have as much value has become more precious to you now. For instance, you may have gotten a gadget. Oh, it was the cutting edge gadget. You were so excited when you got it. But now, as you look at that cassette player it makes a nice doorstop. It's a nice nostalgic item. Or eight track player or whatever it is. See it's outdated. But maybe that little drawing your child did for you that you just put away in a box has become more precious to you with the passing of time. Salvation is like that. The longer we live, the more valuable we see it is. It is not that it becomes more valuable. It always was, but we are just discovering the value of it because the salvation God gives us saves us from our past, our present, and our future.
First, it saves us from our past sins. The sins we have committed. The wrongs we have done. It's removed. It's taken away. It's erased. We have been given a clean slate as I pointed out. But now it saves us from our present. The power of sin in my life. I have God's power to overcome it. And lastly, it saves me from a future judgment. So that's why the Bible calls it such a great salvation. You see the value of it more with the passing of time.
Going back to the analogy of a gym. You go and you work out to get into better shape. The more you do it the better the results will be. Maybe it's because you're having issues. The other day I literally thought I might be close to having a heart attack. And the reason is I was feeling pressure on my chest. And so then I Googled symptoms of heart attack. It says pressure on your chest and the pressure grew stronger as soon as I read that. Literally. Then it said nausea and I was nauseated the second I read it. I am nauseated. So I'm going to see my doctor. I call him up. I have to come over right now. I came over and he hooked me up to an EKG and he said Greg you're absolutely fine. And then about a week later I got the bill and I did have a heart attack.
So what happened was I have been playing racquetball. I used to do that years ago and I started playing again because I hate cardiovascular. Okay. I hate treadmills. I hate stationary bicycles and all that pedaling. Racquetball is fun because I will go to any length to chase a stupid ball around the court and it is a good workout. I sweat a little bit more. And also what I do is a fall and I hit the wall really hard chasing the ball and that's why I felt the pressure on my chest but I'm okay for now. But sometimes you have to check up on those things. Your doctor will say you need an exercise regimen. So you go to the gym. But here's the problem. Weird people hang out in gyms. You know what I am talking about. They are strange people. There's a person who sweats all over everything. What is with that? Are you one of those people? Please stand up. I want to talk to you. One of those sweaters.
Seriously you know they do get up from the equipment whatever it is you know there and there's just perspiration all over the floor. It is like can you take a towel and wipe up after yourself, you know. Or there is the guy that screams every rep because he is lifting too much weight. Stop it, you know. Still you need to get in there and do what you can. So you work out to get in shape. And the same is true of the spiritual life. I am not working for it. God has given me the salvation. It is mine, but work it out or discover what it actually means for me. In fact the phrase Paul uses here for work out is a phrase that's also used to explain working a mine. Going into a mine and extracting the silver, the gold, or whatever is in the mine. Many years ago in California we had the California gold rush. There was a lot of gold in the state. There's gold in them Thar Hills it was said. So people came from around the country and even the world to find their fortune. The gold was soon gone. I think people thought it was just laying around on the street. They had to go to the mines and work at it in hopes of maybe discovering the mother lode.
So Paul is saying it is like a mine. Go in there and discover all God has done for you. Extract it. Live it out. Understand it. Appreciate it. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. What that means is with self-distrust. So I come with a reverence for God and a distrust of myself. I can't do this in my own strength. Paul explains it. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God that works in you both to will and to do with his good pleasure. Some people say God does it all. I do nothing. Others say I do it all and God does nothing. Both of those views are wrong. God does it through you as you mine it and discover it for yourself. Work out your own salvation with self-distrust, for it is God that is working in you.
Now when it says work it out with fear and trembling. I don't want you to think that Paul is suggesting that one can lose their salvation because I believe once you're saved you're saved. That's why we call it eternal life and not temporary life. That's why you don't have to get saved again and again and again and again. You don't have to be born again again again again again. You are born again once. Now you can make a recommitment to Christ if you need to, but once you have eternal life it is a gift to you from God. And I bring this up because sometimes even believers who have known the Lord for years will doubt their own salvation.
And you need to know that the devil loves to challenge what God has said. Don't forget in the Garden of Eden he came to Adam and eve and he said, did God really say what you thought. God said. He challenged the word of God. He will do the same to young Christians, especially. Right after they believed he will say do you really think you're saved? Do you really think Christ has come into your life? And it is then that I must stand on the promises of God. This is bringing that biblical worldview, not my emotions because my emotions can mislead me. I don't feel saved today. Maybe I lost my salvation last night. No. It's still there. It's still the gift of God. It still belongs to you. And it is then that I come back to scripture. Scriptures like 1 John 5:10. It says, "Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart". Romans 8:16 says, "His spirit bears witness with our spirit that we "Are the children of God". John 5:24 Jesus says, "I tell you the truth, "Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me "Has eternal life, and shall not be condemned". He's crossed over from death to life. And really my favorite assurance verse. 1 John 5 says, "These things, we write to you "That believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life".
So when the devil comes and says you're not saved you say to the devil go to hell. I am saved. By the way that's not cussing. He is going to hell. Hell was created for him so that is where he is headed. Then you say I know I am saved because the Bible says these things we write you to believe on the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. And sometimes I'll quote scripture out loud to remind myself. Even Jesus did that. Remember when he was tempted in the wilderness. The devil said to him why don't you turn this rock into a piece of bread. Jesus says, it is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Satan says why don't you fall down and worship me and Jesus says is written, you shall worship the Lord God and him only shall you serve. The point is you come back with scripture. That's what I mean when I say think biblically. Let everything go through the grid of scripture. Not your emotions. This is something God has given to you.
So we may wonder well can you lose salvation once you have it. I already said I don't think you can. So what about those people that make a profession of faith and say they are saved and we even see some evidence, or so it would seem initially. But then a month later two months later, maybe six months later they just walk away and they never come back. So was that someone who was saved and now unsaved? I would suggest to you if a person walks away and never comes back they were never saved to begin with. Here's how you know who the real Christians are. It's where they end up. Christians can go astray. Christians can be prodigal sons and daughters can't they? But God will call them and if they are real believers they will always come home again. And if they never were believers they will never come home because it never was their home.
We are told over in I John 2:19, "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us for if they had belonged to us they would've remained with us for their going out showed that none of them ever belonged to us". So sometimes people make a profession of faith that is based on emotion. Jesus talked about this in the parable of the sower. In Mark 4:16. He said, "Those that receive the seed that goes "On ground that is embedded with rocks so it shoots up, but it doesn't take root". He says, "These are those that hear the word of God with great enthusiasm, but they are shallow soil of character. So when the emotions wear off or some difficulty arrives there's nothing to show for it". So these are the people that were never really believers at all. It was just the whim of an emotion. Don't work for your salvation. Work out your salvation and what an incredible gift it is. All you have to do is receive it.