By Edwin Christiaan

When the Bible says in the New Living Translation;

“Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” ‬‬

2 Timothy‬ ‭2:15‬ ‭NLT

The words “work hard” here has nothing to do with works for salvation, but “being diligent.”

But the following scripture in the King James Version does,

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, WORK OUT your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

Philippians‬ ‭2:12‬ ‭KJV‬‬

The same apostle Paul who wrote the verses above also wrote,

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” ‬‬

Ephesians‬ ‭2:8-9‬ ‭KJV

So why do we need to work out our salvation when works do not save us?
Because though we are saved by God’s unconditional electing grace through the gift of faith, the works we do prove that our faith is real. Works are evidence of election. For example Paul said,

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” ‬‬

Philippians‬ ‭2:3-5‬ ‭NKJV

“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life,” ‬‬

Philippians‬ ‭2:14-16‬ ‭NKJV

And from the apostle Peter,

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” ‬‬

II Peter‬ ‭1:5-11‬ ‭NKJV