Kenneth S. Wuest Translation
Wherefore, my beloved ones, as you always obey, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, carry to its ultimate conclusion [likeness to the Lord Jesus] your own salvation with a wholesome, serious caution and trembling, for God is the one who is constantly putting forth His energy in you, both in the form of your being desirous of and of your doing His good pleasure.
All things be constantly doing without discontented and secret mutterings and grumblings, and without discussion which carry an undertone of suspicion or doubt, to the end that you may become those who are deserving of no censure, free from fault or defect, and guileless in their simplicity, God's children without blemish, in the midst of the perverse and distorted generation among whom you appear as luminaries in the world...
Note that "beloved ones" is plural. In the phrase "your own salvation", the word "your" is also plural. Paul was not addressing to an individual, he was addressing to the assembly--the whole gathering of the local assembly.
SALVATION (Greek Definition) 4991 SõTẼRIA, from SõZõ 4982, to save. Deliverance, preservation, salvation. Use of material and temporal deliverance, etc.
The salvation here refers to the preservation of the Philippian assembly because there were major problems in the assembly according to verse 14, "discontented and secret mutterings and grumblings...suspicion and doubt..." There was much trouble in the assembly so Paul was telling them to behave for them to become good witnesses and "appear as luminaries in the world" (verse 15).
"..carry to its ultimate conclusion [likeness to the Lord Jesus] your own salvation.." This phrase tells the Christians that in order to resolve their present problems among themselves is to become the likeness of Christ (Colossians 3:1-4), meaning to look up and stop pointing fingers to each other. Example of this is seen in Philippians 4:2, "Euodia I exhort, please, and Syntyche, I exhort, please, to be of the same mind in the Lord." Confession has to be a continual and daily activity for Christians in order to keep fellowship and communion with the Lord, because Christians carry the nature of sin. Hence, we must make it a habit to confess our sins continually (1 John 1:7 and 1 John 2:1).
Don't forget the salvation in three folds:
- We are saved from hell-- JUSTIFICATION.
- We are delivered from the temptations of sin--SANCTIFICATION.
- Our body will be transformed at the caught up--GLORIFICATION.
Paul was asking for the SANCTIFICATION of the whole Philippian assembly to preserve the testimony in their community knowing that the world of unsaved is looking at them, and so Paul's ministry will not be in vain "...I did not run in vain nor did I labor to the point of exhaustion in vain" (Philippians 2:16).