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  • Writer's picturePastor Chris Smith

Work Out Your Own Salvation

This week, we hear more of Paul’s advice to the Philippians. When Paul addresses the Philippian church, he invites them into a journey of active exploration concerning their faith. He encourages them to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Interestingly, this exhortation follows a what would have been a popular worship hymn that captures the essence of Christian discipleship, urging believers to embody the selfless attitude of Christ and engage actively in the communal and personal aspects of their spiritual journey. This ‘working out’ is not about earning salvation, but rather an engaged process of understanding, living out, and growing in the salvation already secured through Christ. This engagement with our faith is both a personal and communal endeavor that requires an openness to explore, question, and delve deeper into the teachings of Christ.

Our Little Free Librarian reminded me that next week is Banned Books Week. The Philippians were challenged to consider new ways of existing in the world. They were called to explore ways they might better embody Christ in their time. We are also called to work out what salvation looks like in our time. Banned Books Week is a helpful reminder of the freedom to explore, learn, and grow we find in Christ. It’s a celebration of the expression of ideas, even those considered unconventional or challenging. Such freedom allows us to grapple with different perspectives, leading to a deeper understanding and a more robust foundation of belief.

Many of us recognize the benefits from the free exchange and discussion of diverse ideas and our faith is no different. There’s a richness, a deeper understanding, a more personal connection to be discovered when we venture into the breadth and depth of our faith. This week, I encourage you to consider some of the more challenging elements of the faith we share.

Consider how you might ‘work out’ your salvation. What practices can help you delve deeper into the mysteries of faith? Engage with scripture, pray for understanding, and don’t shy away from the tough questions. As we observe Banned Books Week, celebrate the freedom of exploration in all areas of life. Visit a local library, read a banned book, discuss it with others, and reflect on how the freedom to explore, question, and learn is a crucial aspect of both intellectual and spiritual growth.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Chris

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