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THE ONLY TRUE WORK FOR THE CHRISTIAN
THE ONLY TRUE WORK (John 6:28-29)
6:28-29 They said to him: "What are we to do to work the works of God?" Jesus answered: "This is the work of God, to believe in him whom he has sent."
When Jesus spoke about the works of God, the Jews immediately thought in terms of "good" works. It was their conviction that a man by living a good life could earn the favour of God. They held that men could be divided into three classes--those who were good, those who were bad and those who were in between, who, by doing one more good work, could be transferred to the category of the good. So when the Jews asked Jesus about the work of God they expected him to lay down lists of things to do. But that is not what Jesus says at all.
His answer is extremely compressed and we must expand it and see what lies behind it. He said that God's work was to believe in him whom he had sent. Paul would have put it this way--the one work that God desires from man is faith. Now what does faith mean? It means being in such a relationship with God that we are his friends, not terrified of him any more but knowing him as our Father and our friend and giving him the trust and the obedience and the submission which naturally arise from this new relationship. How does believing in Jesus tie up with that? It is only because Jesus came to tell us that God is our Father and loves us and wants nothing more than to forgive, that the old distance and enmity are taken away and the new relationship with him made possible.
But that new relationship issues in a certain kind of life. Now we know what God is like, our lives must answer to that knowledge. That answer will be in three directions, each of which corresponds to what Jesus told us of God.
(i) God is love. Therefore in our lives there must be love and service of others corresponding to the love and the service of God, and forgiveness of others corresponding to his forgiveness of God.
(ii) God is holiness. Therefore in our lives there must be purity corresponding to the holiness of God.
(iii) God is wisdom. Therefore in our lives there must be complete submission and trust corresponding to the wisdom of God.
The essence of the Christian life is a new relationship to God, a relationship offered by him and made possible by the revelation which Jesus gave us of him, a relationship which issues in that service, purity and trust which are the reflection of God. This is the work which God wishes us and enables us to perform.