The Work God Requires
“Then they asked him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.’” – John 6:28-29
What does God require of us to be saved?
This is the question Jesus was asked by a group of Jews one day. His answer is crucially important, informative, liberating, and…puzzling.
Jesus tells the Jews,
“The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.“
The “one [God] has sent” is Jesus. Jesus was very clear throughout the Gospel that He came from the Father, was sent by the Father, and did the work of the Father. So, the work of God is to believe in Jesus.
The Work That Isn’t Work
The strange part about that answer is that the work Jesus describes as work isn’t really work at all.
I’ve been waiting my whole life for someone to offer me a job with a great salary and benefits which has the simple job description, “Believe you have the job.” You don’t have to do anything, just believe you have the job and will get paid and you will get paid. If you ever find that job, please let me know.
Why did Jesus phrase it that way?
Speaking the Language of the People
The people who were asking Jesus this question firmly believed that their works were what made them right before God. They had great trouble with the concept that salvation is a gift apart from works. Just look at the way they phrased the question.
“What must we do to do the works God requires?”
They are just assuming God requires works. So, their question is what are those works. Jesus starts to move them away from that mindset by phrasing the answer in the way they were used to speaking but telling them the only thing they need to do is believe.
It would be like if I was trying to give someone a free car and they couldn’t accept the idea that someone would just give them a car. “Surely the car costs something. What do I need to pay you?” they may say. I could respond, “The cost of the car is accepting the gift.”
Still Speaking Our Language
The truth is a lot of us still think like the Jews, maybe all of us. So, this passage is still very helpful for us, today.
When you start wondering what you need to do to be saved or if you’ve done what you need to do or if you’ve done enough, etc…When you question whether salvation can really just be a gift, remember this passage. The work God requires is to believe in Jesus. That’s it. Salvation really is a gift.
So, get to work. 😉
So often I fall back into the belief that I must earn my salvation somehow. This always ends up with me discouraged or prideful. Help me to remember salvation is a gift. You have already done the work. Help me to rest in that gift.
In Christ’s Service,