In a previous post, I discussed the fact that the Holy Spirit is the Governor General of the Kingdom of God. He is the One who mediates God’s Reign in the lives of God’s people. The question is, how does He go about doing that?
We find the answer in Philippians 2:12 – 13.
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, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. ESV
Working Out Our Salvation
Notice that this verse does not say we are to work for our salvation. The words work out mean to work out to the ultimate conclusion. It is similar to working out a mathematics problem to its final answer. The ultimate goal of our salvation is to be conformed to the image of Christ as we were predestined to be (Romans 8:29). This is so we can fulfill the original mandate of bearing God’s image in the earth as we live under His reign (Genesis 1:26 – 28).
God is Working
We are to do this with a sense of reverence because God is continually working in us by His Holy Spirit for the accomplishment of His will. He is consistently exercising the influence of His Person to energize us (which is what the word works indicates in the Greek) to both will and do His good pleasure.
Energized to Will
God has given man a will which gives him the power to choose. When our lives are surrendered to the Lord, He will energize our wills to come into line with His. First He makes His will known. He can do this in a variety of ways. He can instil a simple desire in our hearts or speak to us profoundly through His Word or by His Spirit. Regardless how it comes, once the will of God is known, He will energize us to say, “Yes” in response to it.
Energized to Do
Once we have said yes to God’s will, He does not leave us to accomplish it on our own. He will energize us by His powerful Presence to fully complete His mandate. This is why, when everything is said and done, all the praise and glory goes to Him. He is the One who energizes us to will His will, and then fulfill His will in the strength He provides.
This is how the Holy Spirit works out the Reign of God in our lives on a daily basis. As we follow our spiritual instincts and cooperate with Him in this process of willing and working, righteousness, peace, joy, and power will be the result. In other words, our lives will reflect what life looks like when God is in charge. That is truly living in the Reign.