Wherefore, my beloved, as ye 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. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:12, 13.
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” What does this mean? It means that every day you are to distrust your own human efforts and wisdom. You are to fear to speak at random, fear to follow your own impulses, fear that pride of heart and love of the world and lust of the flesh shall exclude the precious grace the Lord Jesus is longing to bestow upon you.50Manuscript 42, 1890.
Man’s working, as brought out in the text, is not an independent work he performs without God. His whole dependence is upon the power and grace of the Divine Worker. Many miss the mark here, and claim that man must work his own individual self, free from divine power. This is not in accordance with the text. Another argues that man is free from all obligation, because God does it all, boththe willing and the doing. The text means that the salvation of the human soul requires the will power to be subjected to the divine will power…. And it is the very hardest, sternest conflict which comes with the purpose and hour of great resolve and decision of the human to incline the will and way to God’s will and God’s way.51Letter 135, 1898.
Man is allotted a part in this great struggle for everlasting life; he must respond to the working of the Holy Spirit. It will require a struggle to break through the powers of darkness, but the Spirit that works in him can and will accomplish this. But man is no passive instrument to be saved in indolence. He is called upon to strain every muscle in the struggle for immortality, yet it is God that supplies the efficiency.52The Signs of the Times, November 5, 1896.
Here are man’s works, and here are God’s works…. With these two combined powers, man will be victorious, and receive a crown of life at last…. He puts to the stretch every spiritual nerve and muscle that he may be a successful overcomer in this work, and that he may obtain the precious boon of eternal life.53Manuscript 13, 1888.