… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” [Philippians 2:12, KJV].
Years ago, I had a faulty fire alarm detector in my apartment. Due to my experience as a resident advisor in college, I immediately called the office to inform them that I needed new batteries. To my surprise, instead of sending a worker to replace it, I was informed that it was not their responsibility, but mine. I replaced the battery myself; those periodic beeps were rather annoying. On a different occasion, by a freak occurrence, one of the glass shelves of the fridge shattered in my hands while cleaning. Aside from having a mess to clean up, I had to clean myself due to scratches by the pieces of glass. Again, I was told it was my responsibility to replace it. The leasing office would order the part, but I had to foot the bill. The lady was “kind enough” to point out that my lease stated just that with such occurrences, it was my responsibility to have the issue fixed. How many other things did I agree to by signing that lease?
Coming into Christianity and being a part of Christ’s body comes with a lease of its own. Oftentimes, we treat salvation as a one-time deal much like our apartment lease. We expect that Paul’s words here are all it takes: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved” [Romans 10:9-10, NIV]. Praise the Lord!!! That’s so nice and sweet!; but it doesn’t end there. Please note that this same Paul told the disciples of the Philippian church, “… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” [Philippians 2:12, KJV]. He said, even in my absence, continue to live by the “lease of salvation”. Do not think: it’s enough that through grace I received the measure of faith to “sign the lease”.
The Bible is the lease of the Christian faith/walk. It teaches us how to “conduct (ourselves) in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” [Philippians 1:27 NIV]. “The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone” [2 Timothy 3:16-17, TLB]. It is, therefore, our responsibility to know what is stated in the Bible.
A closer look at this new lease shows us that we are no longer citizens of the world. Rather, it is worth noting that God “rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins” [Colossians 1:13-14 NLT]. We have been moved from the ghetto community to the suburban, gated community. We can no longer entertain stray cats because this new complex requires every pet to be accounted for on the lease. In the same manner, the Bible says, “Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,” [1 Corinthians 6:15 & 19, NLT].
Just as adding a pet to an apartment lease costs you either a flat deposit or monthly payments so does a life of personal gain for the Christian. Paul goes on the tell us “Sexual immorality and all [moral] impurity [indecent, offensive behavior] or greed must not even be hinted at among you…[for as believers our way of life, whether in public or in private, reflects the validity of our faith]. Let there be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse [obscene or vulgar] joking,” [Ephesians 5:3-4, AMP], for these costs the professed Christian. He says, “no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God” [Ephesians 5:5, NLT]. What use is it to claim associations if you cannot and will not partake in the benefits of participation? “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?” [James 2:19-20, NLT].
So, it is imperative that we commit ourselves to God and His Word in order to gain the inheritance of the sanctified [Acts 20:32]. It is His Word that teaches us that “…obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols…” [1 Samuel 15:22-23, NLT]. The Bible teaches us that God would rather we take responsibility for our faults [2 Samuel 12:13] instead of blaming others and trying to save face with men [1 Samuel 15:24]. It also teaches us that in times of trouble, true help comes from God – the giver of life – thus we should seek Him [2 Kings 4:27-28, 32-35] above men who can do nothing [2 Kings 4:19-20]… It is when you get well versed on the terms of our “lease of salvation” that we can “walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]” [2 Corinthians 5:7, AMP]. It is this life of faith that pleases God; faith that grows by hearing more of His word.
We’re not expected to know and uphold all this knowledge on our own; no! This property owner (God) has assigned us “another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor–Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with (us) forever–” [John 14:16, AMP]. He’s given us His Holy Spirit, who “…shall teach (us) all things, and bring all things to (our) remembrance, whatsoever (God has) said unto (us)” [John 14:26, KJV]. This is how we can be the perfect tenants, having a great and loving relationship with management and our neighbors. Today, decide to get the Word for yourself.