If someone asked you to explain one of the major differences between Christianity and other religions, what ideas would come to your mind? It’s a big question, isn’t it? And the answers are multiple, but Paul touches on one of the most important ones when he says to the Philippians, “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. There’s a huge difference between working out your salvation and working for your salvation.
The burden of being good enough to earn salvation and of being sufficiently obedient to certain laws and regulations in order to receive an eternal reward weighs heavily on the adherents of religions around the world. In fact, it is the driving force that keeps people committed to their particular belief system. Their fear and insecurity forces the adherents to try hard, but never allows them the joy of knowing that their god(s) is (are) pleased with their efforts. It keeps them in bondage to whatever the particular guidelines are for their theology.
The contrast is huge, isn’t it? Jesus humbled Himself and came to this earth. He died in your place and your salvation is a gift from Him to you. There is nothing that you can do to earn it – Ephesians 2: 8 – 10. What you can do is to receive it with thanksgiving and joy because that makes you a child of God with an eternal inheritance. And in the meantime, you have the Holy Spirit who dwells within you so that you can learn to think and to do the things that please your Father who is in heaven and His Son, Jesus. It is not a burden and it is not bondage. It brings the possibility of contentment and joy and the presence of God to comfort and strengthen you until the day comes when you will see Him face to face. Remember what Paul said about this in chapter 1?
So “let your light shine”, my friends. What do you think that might mean for you?