Philippians 2:12 Says:

12 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,

1st Corinthians 15:2 Says:

2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

There are a large sect of Christians (mainly fundamentalist evangelicals) in America who hold salvation to be a once a done, one time event. How do they respond to these passages?


How can 1 Corinthians 15:3 be reconciled with Calvinism and limited atonement?

3 Answers 3


Allow me to refer to John Stott - 'Why I Am a Christian,' (IVP, 2003) p. 87 (a riposte to Bertrand Russell's earlier work, 'Why I Am Not a Christian.')

I have been saved – in the past – from the penalty of sin – by a crucified Saviour: “For in this hope we were saved" (Romans 8:24). “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Romans 2:8).

I am being saved – in the present – from the power of sin – by a living Saviour: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18).

I shall be saved – in the future – from the presence of sin – by a coming Saviour: "Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!" (Romans 5:9)

Perhaps related, Sanctification is both a done deal and a daily work.

In the past, God granted us justification, a once-for-all, positional holiness in Christ. Now, God guides us to maturity, a practical, progressive holiness. In the future, God will give us glorification, a permanent, ultimate holiness. These three phases of sanctification separate the believer from the penalty of sin (justification), the power of sin (maturity), and the presence of sin (glorification).

Forgive me for such a short post but I have to sign off for the evening. If I have time tomorrow I will revisit this question to add more information.


Scripture affirms all three tenses: We have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved.

Justification - We have been saved from the penalty of sin - Romans 8:1 Sanctification - We are being saved from the power of sin - Titus 2:14 Glorification - We will be saved from the very presence of sin - Revelation 3:21


The first thing to note from the book of Philippians is the fact that the Apostle Paul is addressing believers. Starting at Philippians 2 note the context.

He wants them to make his joy complete at vs2. How? "by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose." Vs3, (were still on "how). "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; vs4, "do not merely look out for your own personal interest, but also for the interest of others."

At vs5, Paul now explains to have the same attitude which was in Jesus Christ, who, although (or in spite of the fact) He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. vs7, "but emptied Himself taking the form of a bond-servant, having been found in the likeness of men."

Vs8, And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Vs9, "Therefore God highly exalted Him. Vs10, "that at the name of Jesus that every knee should bow, Vs11, "and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

It is my opinion that the Apostle Paul is not specifically writing to prove that Jesus Christ is God, which He is as far as I'm concerned. He's writing to show how Jesus Christ (who is God) gave up everything for mankind by becoming a bond-servant, a person bound in service without wages.

Vs12, "So then my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Paul is saying to "work out the solution or deliverance of your problems with fear and trembling." Vs13 "for (or because) God who is at work in your, both to will and to work for His good pleasure."

At vs14 Paul is reiterating what he stated at verse's 2 and 3. "Do all things without grumbling or disputing; vs15, that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world."


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .