Mar 4, 2015

Salvation Assurance

Salvation Assurance and Philippians 2:12

      Is salvation assured like fundamentalists say or is it something like the Catholic Church teaches that we have to work out? That is what this post is about and it is inspired by a special friend on Facebook and many others whom I have been blessed with.

Clearing up some misconceptions.

The first thing I want to clear up is the Catholic position of salvation which is often misunderstood by fundamentalists and non-Catholic Christians alike.

We are saved by Grace, through faith and our faith is justified by our works or we have a dead faith. A dead faith can not save us as said in James chapter 2.

I have found in my more than ten years study on the Christian faith and reading the bible that salvation is not assured to us (fundamentalist position), but is something we must work out with fear and trembling like Saint Paul has put it.

“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.” (Phil 2:12 KJV) In this verse and in his letter to the Philippians as a whole he is talking to people who are already Christians.

In the fundamentalist’s interpretation of salvation, Christians are assured salvation after becoming a Christian (excepting Christ as personal Lord and Savior). If that view of salvation was something held to by Paul and his Christian audience then he would have had no reason to say what he did to the Philippians.

But, let’s back up a bit and view this verse in context. Did these Christians in whom Paul is talking to confess that Christ was their Lord and Savior? In the fundamentalist’s view of salvation if they had not then they would not be truly saved Christians and Paul’s advice to them would make sense.

In Philippians chapter 2:2 Paul is giving some advice (as he is doing throughout this letter) to “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of mind.” (Phil 2:2 KJV) As Christians we must agree especially on key doctrines of the faith, like salvation. This like “mind” he is talking about, that he wants to be in the Christian, he explains is also in Christ Jesus.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Phil 2:5 KJV) Paul is explaining that Christians must think like Christ and agree especially about matters of the teachings of faith like Paul is teaching through his letter. Paul goes on and is teaching the Philippian Christians (after he talks about what Christ did for us) that God has given Christ a name “which is above every name:” (Phil 2:9 KJV)

He continues, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;” (Phil 2:10 KJV) In other words Christ is King of the world and everything that exists and we must especially as Christians bow to him who is our Salvation!

Paul is telling Christians to think like Christ, and worship Christ. If we think like Christ and worship Christ then we can assume that we will for the most part also act like Christ. We will do all of this by Grace when we have believe in his name.
This next verse (2:11) comes right before the one first quoted which suggests that Christians works out their salvation with fear and trembling. “And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (phil 2:11 KJV) Here Paul has told the Philippian Christians to “confess that Christ is Lord…”

We know that this is exactly what these Christians have already done because Paul says in the next verse, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed…” Obeyed what? That not only Christ is Lord and Savior, but that their salvation must be worked out even still and after this confession of faith!

Verse 12 continues “not in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Paul explains in the very next verse that “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phil 2:13 KJV) In other words even after we confess Christ as our Lord and savior not only does our salvation need to be worked out, but that God is not done with us yet either.

In the fundamentalists view of salvation Philippians 2 verse 12 is not needed. Paul could have stopped at verse 11, but he and the Holy Spirit working through Paul did not! Paul is not teaching “assurance of salvation” he is talking about a faith in Christ that keeps on working towards salvation and a faith that God can use as he pleases until we see him in heaven.

After all, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven.” (Matt 7:21 KJV)
Sincerely Joanne

For more information please check out and I highly recommend:

 Works Salvation by Joanne Utke 

The Salvation Controversy by Jimmy Akin