Why, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence…
You are to work it out. It must be presented to the eye; it is not to be like the works of a watch that are elaborately finished and then concealed in a case. The words imply that there is something in the Christian's heart has to be brought out, and that only work can develope it. A mechanic takes a bar of iron. He knows there is brightness in its nature, so he places it in his lathe, and by means of cutters, files, and other instruments the black or rusty bar is made so bright that it dazzles the eye with its shining surface. And there is that in the heart of every Christian which worked out would delight all that knew him. "Let your light so shine," etc.
(D. R. Jenkins.)
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.