Why, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence…
Christ has made salvation possible for us, but He has not made it easy; He has brought it near to each of us, but we have still to be working it out. He has cast, as it were, the rope to shipwrecked souls, vainly buffeting with the breakers, and blinded with the spray. We could never have made our way without this help, bruised and battered, benumbed as we were. We could never have saved ourselves without His help, but now all may be well, through Him, only there still needs effort on our part as well as on His, if only to hold fast by the cord of life and watch against the perils that still lie in our way. That effort is needed as really as is His help. The door of life is still open, but it is still a strait gate, and we must strive to enter in. Eternal life may be laid hold of, but we must fight the good fight in order to lay hold on it.
(W. C. Smith, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.