Once we have been saved through faith in Jesus Christ, the second step is to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Fear and trembling is not terror of damnation, but a kind of anxiety one has when they feel an important interest is at stake and there is danger of losing it. Working out our salvation is not the same as earning it, which we cannot do.
Jesus shows us how to work out our salvation in Matthew 25:1-12, the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. In this story, Jesus said that the kingdom of Heaven could be likened to ten virgins. Five of them were wise and the other five foolish. The wise ones took oil for their lamps so their lights wouldn’t burn out. The foolish ones did not make the extra effort to take oil. The oil was available to all ten, but unlike the lamps, it was not given to them, they had to take it.
When the call came at midnight for the virgins to go into the marriage, only the ones who had taken oil could find their way and enter in. The foolish ones were locked out.
In the same way, salvation (represented by the lamps) is offered to all. But those who are wise will do something with their salvation. We need to be proactive about growing our relationship with God by spending time in prayer and by studying God’s Word. These things are the oil that keeps our light burning.
Second Timothy 2:15 says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The word of truth is the Bible and it “is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). In other words, the Bible teaches us who God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are and instructs, corrects, and convicts us about what is right and what is required of us in order to lead a life that is pleasing to God.
Step three coming soon…