Paul tells us to work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). This fear and trembling does not mean a cloying, servile obedience. In fact, when we look at what Paul is getting at, we find it’s just the opposite.
In our sanctification, when we act in obedience and put our sin to death, it is God himself who is working in us. The omnipotent, sovereign King of the universe is personally acting in our souls by his Spirit to bring obedience into action. We are acting a miracle. We should indeed fear and tremble in our obedience, but not because we’re shaking before the wrath of an angry, unappeasable God — we fear and tremble because this God chooses to work in us to make us like him.