by Rex Rouis
What is the work of God?’ What must we do to receive things from Jesus? Well, let’s ask Jesus:
Then they said to him, “What must we do, to do the works of God? Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” John 6:28, 29
Simple enough. The ‘work’ of the new covenant is simply to believe God and Him whom He has sent, namely Jesus. Easy right? Well, not always. Believing is not just saying that you believe. Believing really believes – without doubting – and God is the judge of it, so He knows. He looks down into our hearts where the believing is actually done.
I assure you: If anyone says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore, I tell you, all the things you pray and ask for–believe that you have received them, and you will have them. Mark 11:23, 24
But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, James 1:6, 7
Miraculous faith and answered prayer requires heartfelt believing. The things of God in our lives just don’t happen. They take believing and believing takes work. Many times, there is a price that has to be paid. A price of diligent study in the word of God, so that we will know what is promised to us by God. And diligent seeking so that we will know the specific will of God about what we want. Only seeking brings hearing and only hearing brings faith.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the (spoken) word of Christ. Romans 10:17
This is the work we must do ourselves. God won’t do it for us and others cannot do it for us. Yes, God has great mercy on baby Christians and their believing can be easy, but as we mature God begins to expect more out of us. Further on in Chapter 6 of John’s passage above, after Jesus tells them that the work of God is to believe; they ask, ‘What are you going to show us so that we can believe?’ This is so typical. They wanted God to do it for them so that they could easily have faith. They wanted God to do the work. And people think that way today – that God would simply give faith if He wants to, that it is the total work of God.’ But Jesus said it was our work.
Believing is the work we must do ourselves. God will not do it for us.This is does not mean that faith is by our own ‘self works’ as Paul discussed in Romans Chapter 4. The work we are talking about here is actually obedience to the word of God. Yes, faith in God is a gift of grace, but He only gives it to those who diligently seek Him. Faith is free, but it is only given once God has decided that we have been sufficiently obedient.
Our work in God is to get to a place of faith in Him. Believing is taking that faith and doing something with it. Only we can choose to throw our legs over the side of the boat. Believing is faith in action. It takes effort to get to a place of believing, and it takes effort to act according to that belief. If God tells us that we are healed, we must receive it, believe it, and then act accordingly.