12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
-It’s easy to confuse verse 12 for a teaching that works have some merit towards salvation. This is an excellent example of why Bible verses need to be kept in context. In this case, verse 13 holds the key to understanding verse 12. God is doing a work inside of us that will leave us able to carry out his will. His work is the remedy to Paul’s teaching in Romans 7 that sin reigns in our members. God gives us the power to exercise His authority in our members which leads us back to verse 12; instead of sin dictating our actions, we can now use our members for God’s good pleasure. To further elaborate look at verse 16; we should be “holding forth the Word of life.” What is “holding forth”? It is the opposite of holding back; the opposite of keeping it to ourselves. God put’s something beautiful inside His children and it is our duty to push that out to the world around us. We don’t have to work to achieve salvation, but upon receiving salvation, it becomes obvious that the work is too important to be left undone.