• Do Christians go immediately to heaven when they die? Question and Answer

    Philippians 1:23-24

    Historically, classical Christian theology speaks of what we call the status intermedius, or the intermediate state. That has to do with where we go immediately upon death, as distinguished from our state after the final resurrection. This is what the New Testament indicates when Paul says that it was more needful for him to stay here for us, but to depart and be with Christ would be far better (Phil. 1:23–24). He indicates that, as soon as we die, our souls go immediately into the presence of Christ. In the intermediate state, however, we are disembodied souls. We won’t have … View Resource

  • What does it mean that Christ “emptied Himself” in Phil. 2:6–7? Question and Answer

    Philippians 2:6-7

    Philippians 2:6–7 does not mean that Christ became anything less than He was. It does not mean that He ceased to be God because then He would have ceased to be who He was. It does mean that He submitted Himself to the power of the Holy Spirit and the will of the Father. In fact, if you go through the sayings of Christ, particularly in the Gospel of John, He said things like, “I only do what the Father tells Me to do,” “I only do what the Father shows Me to do,” “I only do the will of … View Resource

  • What does it mean to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12)? Question and Answer

    Philippians 2:12

    The Reformed stress on the sovereignty of God, the action of God, and the initiation by God in salvation might lead someone to conclude that we are utterly passive in the Christian life. It might lead someone to conclude that we do nothing but wait, that we have no responsibility, or that we take no action. You can see throughout the New Testament that this is not a correct application of the doctrine of sovereignty. It’s not the application of the doctrine of sovereignty that the Reformed have made. The Christian life, by the grace of God and the action … View Resource

  • How do you “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12–13)? Question and Answer

    Philippians 2:12-13

    That’s an important verse. Working out your salvation with fear and trembling begins by taking God seriously. It begins with having a high view of God, especially the holiness of God. When people saw the holiness of God in the Bible, whether it was Isaiah in the temple, or John on the island of Patmos, or Peter on the Sea of Galilee, they had no trouble having the fear of God. Once they saw the holiness of God, it sobered them and dropped them to their knees. So, in order to work out our salvation (“salvation” in Philippians 2:12 is … View Resource

  • What is the relationship between the Holy Spirit’s work and our effort in sanctification? Question and Answer

    Philippians 2:12-13

    I think the best place to go for a one-sentence answer to that is Philippians 2:12-13, where Paul urges the Christians to work out their salvation—which is not working up their salvation, but working out the salvation that God has already worked in. He says, “Work out your salvation in fear and trembling, because it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” So we fulfill all the responsibilities that God has given to us in His word as we trust in Jesus Christ and seek the help of the … View Resource

  • What words of comfort can help me fight fear and anxiety? Question and Answer

    Philippians 4:6-7

    FERGUSON: This is a time for us to prove in our own lives the gospel that we’ve always professed to believe. To start the conversation, in the well-known passage in which Jesus teaches us about living the Christian life during the Sermon on the Mount, there is a section where He underscores for us that the knowledge of God as our loving, caring, heavenly Father delivers us from two things. First, the knowledge of God as Father delivers us from hypocrisy (Matt. 6:16–18). We no longer need to pretend to Him to be something that we’re not. We no longer … View Resource