What does it mean to “work out your salvation”? Many people mistakenly think Paul was telling us to work for our salvation. But the apostle was saying something completely different: Your salvation experience isn’t the end of your spiritual journey—it’s the catalyst that turns on your “operation mode.”
So having trusted Jesus as Savior, you can begin living out what He has given you, which is His abundant life. If you’ve given your heart to Him, the Holy Spirit now indwells you—He is with you forever. It is God’s Spirit working in and through you, empowering you to live out your salvation. The degree to which you yield to Him impacts the work He will accomplish through you and the changes He’ll effect in your life.
Let’s say you start reading the Bible and learning about the Lord. As your faith and relationship with God develop, you will begin to notice Him moving in your life. When you share your faith and your blessings with others, you’ll realize He’s working through even more avenues. Keep following Him, and the seeds He’s planted within you will flourish (Isa. 55:10-11). So when Scripture speaks about working out our salvation, it means we’re to reverently live out what we’ve already been given and allow Christ’s life in us to come fully to fruition.
Your salvation should be a reflection of Jesus everywhere you go. As you work it out among your friends and family, on the job or in school, and even with strangers, God’s Spirit will energize you to make a difference and impact others—that is, to be salt and light (Matt. 5:13-16).