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First Acts of Obedience

First Acts of Obedience

by Josh Caudill

There is a passage in the book of Philippians that I often find myself chewing on. It's not that I don't understand the verse or its context. Still, every time I run across it, I find myself perplexed:

"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).

And this morning, as I continue to think about 1 Peter 3:18-22, this passage comes to mind. I can't seem to shake this feeling that Paul might be talking about the same thing Peter is here:

"Baptism,...now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:21).

When we tend to talk about salvation, we don't tend to focus on the now. We frequently talk about the long-term results of salvation, rather than the ongoing experience of being saved. The language here can be a bit confusing, but all that I want to point out is that salvation is something happening to us now, not just something that will get us to heaven a few years down the road.

And so when Paul talks about working out your salvation, he's talking about living out your salvation. He's talking about developing a lifestyle that is consistent with the salvation we claim has occurred on the inside. He's talking about outward signs of inward faith, I think.

And so Peter, too talks about an outward sign of the change within our own hearts: baptism. The connection here is crucial: Because God's mission is global (about more than just you or me), these outward signs area part of accomplishing this mission.

We work out our salvation. We demonstrate our faith by our generosity and love. We dunk each other in water to preach the Gospel story to our community.

We got to witness salvation being experienced by one of our church members this Sunday through the practice of baptism. We celebrated the beginning of Noah Stoldt's faith, not its end. It was a first act of obedience. It was a first outward sign of an inward faith. 

I encourage you to pursue outward signs of faith this week.

Be saved this week.

Grace & Peace
Josh Caudill