Paul says, "Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling." In Christian Science we learn that only as fear subsides does salvation come into view, and that we gain the one by losing the other. From first to last the Bible tends to banish fear; from the "Only be thou strong and very courageous,... be not afraid," of the Old Testament, to the "Perfect love casteth out fear" of the New, its teachings reestablish confidence and fearlessness. Paul himself frequently reiterates the same truth, that "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." Whence, then, comes the apparent contradiction of this saying that our salvation must be worked out with "fear and trembling"?

It is true that the attainment of salvation must be won through many a struggle with fear; for not until our fears have been faced and overcome do we begin to enjoy the solid realities of salvation. It is sometimes thought that it is to this struggle Paul is referring, as though he said. "Work out your salvation while still in the midst of fear and trembling." A consideration, however, of his use of the term in other passages shows a better interpretation. "Servants, obey your masters," he says, "with fear and trembling." Evidently the phrase here is an Orientalism, a purposely exaggerated phrase. To this day the deference due from servant to master is expressed in the East in the most hyperbolical terms. The phrase is again applied in the same characteristically oriental manner to the attitude of careful respect and honor observed by Corinthian brethren towards Paul's envoy, Titus,—"He remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him." In both the above passages the phrase is coupled with the idea of obedience. In days when slavery was still the rule, and a fuller sense of freedom had not yet had time to remold the language and manners of mankind, an attitude of "fear and trembling" was but the natural, time-honored way of expressing respect and devotion. In just this sense it is used in the passage in question: "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." The phrase implies the careful, alert, deferential attitude expected from a good servant, to be as readily accorded in the master's absence as in his presence.

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