The Salvation Workout


Everyone knows that you can’t improve your physical fitness by just wishing for it. You have to make the effort. Whether your goal is cardiovascular health or to compete in a triathlon, you have to commit to regular exercise and training. The same is true for spiritual fitness. To grow spiritually, you have to make the effort. Yet, many of us live our lives as spiritual couch potatoes, assuming that spiritual maturity will happen by itself. 

  • Are you sitting on the couch, just hoping your spiritual muscles will develop or are you engaging in the process of spiritual fitness?


12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What are the four commands Paul gave the “beloved” in this passage (vss. 12, 14, 15, 17)?
  2. What is the encouragement and promise of verse 13 as we try to obey these commands?
  3. Knowing from Scripture that if we have believed by faith, we cannot lose our salvation, what does it look like practically to “work out” our salvation?
  4. According to verse 15, how can you look different to the world as a result of this exercise of faith and obedience?


Although Paul calls us to “work out” our salvation, know that if you have trusted Jesus Christ for your salvation, it’s a done deal. The “work out” refers to how you make your salvation evident in your life. That evidence comes by allowing God to work out his will in your life. The more he works through you, the more spiritually fit you become. 

  • Ask God to show you a specific area of your life where you need to exercise obedience to his Word, and faithfully commit to his training program.