SALVATION – THE WORK OF GOD FROM FIRST TO THE LAST!
compiled by Michael Jeshurun
“Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent!” [John 6:29]
“NOTICE the connection or you will miss the meaning of the words, for, at first sight it looks as if our Savior taught us that it is the work of God for us to believe on Him. Now, that would be quite true and it is VERY PLAINLY TAUGHT in other parts of Scripture that FAITH IS THE WORK OF GOD, but that is NOT the teaching in this particular instance, as will be very plain if you look at the context. First, our Savior said to the people, “See how you labor after the bread of your bodies. You have been running all round the coast to find Me in order that I might feed you again with loaves and fishes. Now,” He says, “let your labor run after something better. Labor not for the meat that perishes, but for that which endures to life eternal.”
They immediately answered, “You tell us to labor after the bread that does not perish. What shall we do that we might work the work of God and so obtain it?”
It is a faulty question—it is a question very much shaped by their ignorance and error. They suppose that there are works to be done, and merit to be earned by doing and obeying a law. And so they put it in that shape—“What shall we do? What shall we work that we may work the work of God?” The Savior did not chide them for the shape of the question. It was not the time to expect accuracy, but He gave them such Truth as they could understand and He replied, “You want to know what work you must do that shall be ‘the work of God,’ or a work pleasing to God? THIS, then, is ‘the work of God,’ the work most pleasing to God of all the works that can be done by men, that you believe on Him whom He hath sent!” – [C.H. Spurgeon]
It is appropriate to quote here that immortal quote of Augustine – “Grant what Thou commandest, and command what Thou dost desire!”
“This is the work of God” means, this is what GOD REQUIRES. It is not the works of the law, nor the bringing of an offering to His temple altar; but faith in Christ. Christ is the Savior appointed by God, and FAITH IN HIM is that which God approves, and without which nothing else can be acceptable in His sight. Paul answered the question of the Philippian jailer as the Lord before him had done—”What must I do to be saved?”: “BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved!” was the reply (Acts 16:31).
But again we say, Man had rather do than “believe.” And why is this? Because it panders to his pride: because it repudiates his utter ruin, inasmuch as it is a denial that he is “without strength” (Rom. 5:6): because it provides for him a platform on which he can boast and glory. Nevertheless, the one and only “work” which God will accept is faith in His Son.
But you will not believe till you are thoroughly convinced that all your doings are faulty, that all your efforts fall far short of God’s demands, that all your own righteousness is tarnished with sin, yea, is as “filthy rags.”
What man will renounce his own work in order to trust to that of another, unless he be first convinced that his own is worthless? What man will repose for safety in another till he be convinced that there is no safety in trusting to himself? It is impossible.” [A.W. Pink]
Man cannot do this of himself: it takes the WORK OF GOD!
“But OF HIM are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord!” [1Cor 1:30]
If you do not remember anything else beloved, remember THIS: that the reason the gospel means something to you and you have an interest in the Son of God is because GOD has quickened you, and given you an understanding, repentance and faith!
THIS IS THE WORK OF GOD! OR MORE PRECISELY THE GIFT OF GOD . . . NOT OF WORKS LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST! [Eph 2:8,9]
It is the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, and THAT ALONE, which brings the sinner to RENOUNCE his OWN WORKS and lay hold on the Lord Jesus for salvation!”
Salvation IS OF THE LORD! [Jonah 2:9]