Chapter 2 in the book of Philippians opens up encouraging us to "imitate" Christ and to have they same mindset/attitude of Christ, then Paul puts the focus back on us by telling Christians to "continue to work out their own salvation" , he then proceeds to tell us to do things without grumbling or complaining and become pure and blames, which will set us apart from the way the world is living/acting "crooked and depraved generation" is his words.
We cannot live or act or have the mindset or attitude of Christ unless we are truly taking our faith and our part in the body of Christ(the Church) very seriously. But, Paul makes a crucial point about our faith, that our salvation though a gift from God through Jesus Christ, is up to us to work out.
Jesus saves, but the only way we stay saved is if we are faithful followers of Jesus Christ, who continue to build our faith, grow our faith, and mature our faith. It's a daily commitment to work out our salvation. Too many people live with the mentality of I've been saved or baptized and I'm going to heaven, so my part is done and I'm just gonna coast in to heaven some day. Wrong!
If people truly took their faith seriously and they were trying to imitate the mindset of Jesus Christ, our churches would be full each service, our volunteer sheets would be filled up, and we've have a whole body of Christ that was each serving and doing their part. Yet, that's not the case in many churches.
In many churches, you have your Sunday morning only Christians, fair weather Christians, the I'll go to church if I don't have better plans or if I feel like it. Many who are inconsistent and sporadic in their attendance, giving, and involvement. Some never attend a bible study, Sunday school class, or small groups. Others only come and warm a pew and never use their gifts to serve the Lord in the church. So you have a small minority (10-20% )of your church members who are doing 100% of the work, giving, teaching, and serving in the church. There is something wrong with this picture and the picture Paul is painting in Philippians 2.
People are not working out their own salvation. They don't understand or care about church attendance, worship, service, involvement, giving, or what it means to even be a member/part of the body of Christ. People aren't studying or participating in studying and learning God's Word like they should. People claim they are bored, the topics don't interest them, they don't get anything out of the service, or they can't sit still that long, the sermon is boring, or the teacher is boring, they don't do things the way I want or like, and the list goes on and on of all the excuses people use for not being involved and faithful to the very Church they are supposed to be a part of, the body of Jesus Christ and besides the church is about Jesus not me or you!
Working out your salvation means it's up to you, it's your salvation. You are the only one who will answer to God for you. No one should have to beg you to attend church, give to the Lord, or serve the Lord through His Church. Yet what do many churches do? Plead with members to volunteer to serve, plead with members to give faithfully to the church, send out cards, make phone calls and visits pleading and trying to get supposed members to come to church they are supposed to be a part of in the first place.
If you confessed Jesus as Lord of your life, if you repented of your sins and asked the Lord to save you, if you were baptized for the remission of your sins and gift of the Holy Spirit, then you shouldn't have to be begged to serve, attend, give, worship, participate, and grow. You should have a desire. Salvation isn't a free ticket where you get "saved" and do nothing else. Working out your salvation implies that you have to make an effort to maintain your relationship with Jesus Christ. You have to work on your prayer life, your study of scriptures, your spiritual gifts, your worship, your giving, your faith, and your salvation. There isn't anything wrong with your church, there is something wrong with your attitude or mindset.
I want to both challenge and encourage anyone who calls themselves a follow of Jesus(a Christian) to live daily for Jesus and working out your own salvation. If you're a Christian you need to be faithful to your local body of Christ(church) and be a faithful part their serving, worshipping, giving, attending, participating, and growing. Letting God use you and develop your service and deepen your faith. Stop making excuses for not going to church or not participating or serving. It's time you do your part and stop letting others carry a heavier burden because you're not doing your part.
A church is only as strong, healthy, and thriving as its members and a Christians is only as strong, healthy, and thriving as their commitment to Christ is. Work out your own salvation daily. The church is the body of Christ, if you're a Christian, you're a part of that body, and your salvation is up to you. Jesus already provided the gift of salvation, it's up to us what we do with it, and we will answer someday how we worked it out or didn't work it out.