Philippians 2:12-13—Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
When you came to Christ and repented of your sins and asked for forgiveness, you were saved. In God’s eyes, you have His very own righteousness. That is a done deal. It is so because of the finished work of Jesus. You are a new creation. Knowing that is all true, why do we not walk through this life in the same manner as Jesus did? He was a man with the righteousness of God. The difference is that we have a sinful past and an old nature. We have ruts in our thinking, in our ideas, and in our patterns of behavior that are being transformed. The salvation that is in us must be worked out in experiences. Though my old nature has been given a deathblow, at any time I can take my spiritual foot off its throat and yield to its twisted interpretation of the world around me. We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling, because we know the destructive seduction of the old nature. We know how subtle and cunning it can be. It is even capable of perverting good things, like worship, into depravity. No wonder we should work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We can so easily be utterly deceived. We do have help though. God is working in us to will and act in ways that please Him. The old nature is always at war with our spirit, but our spirit has a powerful Helper. He helps us will what is good. That is half the battle. Just having correct desires is halfway to expressing the new life. But He helps with the second part too, the actions.