“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13 ESV).”
Here Paul says, “work out your own salvation,” but then goes on to clarify how we work out our own salvation: “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”As Christians we do the work, but the will and the work are worked in us by God. We actually work as He works in us. We work as God synergistically works in us through our will. It is like a man working a backhoe tractor: “For it is the operator who works in the tractor, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” The tractor is actually what is digging the hole. The man operating the tractor never actually touches the ground himself, but he does dig the hole because he is in the tractor working the controls and willing it where, when and how to work. So we actually work out the salvation, digging the hole as it were, but God is the one in us at the controls willing us when, where and how to work. Both the operator and the tractor are working. The tractor operator does not work alone, and the tractor cannot work alone; it is a cooperative effort.