The Work of God

Then they asked Him,  “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

Jesus answered them,  “The work of God is this:  to believe in the one He has sent.”  John 6:28, 29.

That’s it?!!!  Just to believe in Jesus is all that’s required?  Wow, that’s easy.

Wait a minute, I detect another play on words here.  Let’s see if I can work this out, so if I believe in Jesus, then that must mean I trust what He says to be true.  If I believe Him to be telling the truth, then that means I must follow what He says to do, be and think. 

Bah!  It’s a trick answer!

Not that I really feel resentful about this being true, but you get the point, I hope, that many people do.  They come to Jesus’ party for the free food and drinks, then come to find out they must wear the robe of His righteousness in order to stay.  It just isn’t fair in their eyes, and it’s something no one in the believers camp can explain to their satisfaction either.  Those who look for a free ride into heaven without anything required of them won’t like the consequences of being with Jesus for His very mission is to change us back into the original design—with a couple of modifications.

The reason this statement by Jesus is important is what He was about to say next would challenge them to their core.  For them to really become His followers (not that many really desired this, I’m just saying it for the sake of the discussion) they would have to accept what He was about to say.  Their beliefs were about to be challenged and they would be required to step up or step off.  I know many today who don’t like this view of Jesus because it excludes them and many others due to their lifestyle choices, but it is part of His message.

Those who object want a softened truth, one which requres very little from them and allows all to be saved—whether they conform or not makes no difference.  Dietrich Bonhoffer calls this type of Christianity “cheap grace” because it doesn’t demand anything of the follower except to believe that Jesus is the Messiah.  James refutes this assumption (one reason some would like to elliminate his book from the canon) by exclaiming,  You say you believe in God?  Good!  Even the devils believe and tremble!  Belief isn’t enough for eternal life because one can know God as supreme and still refuse to worship Him as such or submit to His authority.

Notice the answer is in the singular the question is in the plural.  They were willing to do great works for God to earn His favor but to actually have to change…that’s just asking too much.  Ok, we might be willing to change a little, you know, conform to a modified version of love…”as long as I can stay similar to the person I like to be.”  We humans like being Knights in Shining armor.  In fact, I think some of us believe it’s better to be the Black Knight or bad guy than to be an obscure nobody, such is our skewed vision of living.

To be important in the kingdom of God one thing is paramount, ultimate and final in our reach for eternity:  To believe the One God sent into the world.  Just one work to be whole, one person in whom we place our faith, and trusting with all our hearts what He has to say.

The Jews questioning Jesus were looking to be heroes of the kingdom through gallant deeds and quests, they looked for a Messiah who also met those goals.  Jesus disillusioned them quite badly by making it far more simple in choice, though incredibly difficult in scope.  All they had to do was believe in who He was and act on that belief in faith.  It wasn’t what they were looking for, instead they demanded a sign—this right after eating the big dinner on the other side of the lake.

What do we demand of God in order for us to believe and trust Him?  Do we come at Him with conditions, addendums and quid pro quo?  What do we have to offer that’s so special the God of the universe would even consider making a deal with us?

Only ourselves in the shape of a heart willing to serve.

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One Response to “The Work of God”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    Well said!

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