What a great point is made in Philippians!
Philippians 2:12b,13 …..work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
In my King James version of the Bible a subtitle is written above it. It reads: ‘Obligations of Christians’. Needless to say, subtitles are added by man. Often it is better just to ignore them.
I guess if you translate a verse and use ‘fear and trembling’ instead of ‘respect and awe’ our minds think ‘obligation’.
It is interesting to look at all the words in this section. ‘Work out’ is ‘katergazomai’ in Greek ( like zero in on, put your energy on). Salvation is ‘safety, preservation from danger or destruction’. We are to zero in on our preservation, without getting all wrapped up in making our own works. We have respect and awe for God and His word and realize that it is God that both wills (yes he wants to!) and does of His good pleasure! Each of us has to do this individually and uniquely. We don’t get validation from other people nor do we validate another’s walk. This is not about what others think we should do, but about focusing in a loving God that wants to work (energeo) in us.
I’m still working my way through Exodus and am seeing this quality in Moses’ life. He had a very unique calling. His upbringing, heart and personality were unique. There is so much about how he dealt with life written about him for all to see. God worked with Him! Each of us has the spirit of God working in us today. It is exciting and certainly not obligatory! In I Corinthians 13 the bible talks about faith, hope and love, not faith, hope and obligation. When you really find out who God is and what He has done, the only response is love.