Rebellious Through Laziness

August 3, 2013

I’ve often heard Phil. 2:13 used and twisted in order to rationalize a lukewarm service for God. People do this as they teach that what we do for the Lord is fully God’s desire, work, and responsibility. But let’s look at some ways the verse can be rightly translated:

1. “For God is the One operating in you both to will [to desire / to determine] and to act [to do] on behalf of [according to] His good purpose.”

2. “For it is God who is working in you both to desire and to execute His will.”

3. “For it is God who works in you to will and to work for His good will.”

4. “For God is the One working in you inspiring your choices and labor so that His good purposes are accomplished.”

Whichever way it is said, if translated correctly, this verse must be understood as teaching this: That it is God who works within individuals so that they choose to carry out His good purposes. And from verse 12 we can see that these people are those who “have always obeyed” and who “continue to work out their salvation with fear and trembling.”

There is, therefore, no way that Phil. 2:13 can be applied to just anyone who says they believe in Christ. Instead it is only applicable for those who continuously, and with great fear, awe, humility, and reverence, obey God. It is applicable only for those who are humbly considerate and loving toward others (v. 2-4), those who are united with Christ (v. 1), and those who obey God even unto death –just as Jesus Himself did while on earth. (v. 5-8)

If a person is not striving to obey God –if he is not striving, in the fear of the Lord, to work out his salvation– then that person will not be regularly, if at all, hearing from God’s Word or Spirit. That person will thus not be desiring, or be even able to desire, to do God’s will. That person will be shutting off, through his sin and worldliness, the inspirations and power of God that could otherwise be his. No such person will have God’s energy or inspirations flowing through him, and so he will have no ability to (willingly) accomplish the Lord’s will / purposes.

What does this mean? It means that those who are sitting around on their couches watching T.V., and those who are so often traipsing off to golf courses and malls, are going to be held accountable on Judgement Day for their wicked laziness. For instead of searching out God’s will for them / God’s orders to them, they waited around day after day to hear His commands, yet were all the while blocking His commands, not only by their indulgence in sinful activities, but by their very negligence to strive to hear Him!

Will such people be rewarded for accomplishing the Lord’s good purposes on earth? Not quite. If He accomplished things through them, they were not “a willing party”. Certainly God’s plans cannot be thwarted (Job 42:2 // Ps. 33:11), but concerning those lazy servants, they will be condemned to Hell. (Mt. 25:24-30) For their laziness was none other than rebellion and a complete lack of respect toward God, His desire to inspire, His power, His work, and His will.

with love,

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