The work of God

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by npetreley, Oct 18, 2004.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley
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    John 6:28 Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"
    29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."


    The word "work" in "work of God" is "ergon" in the Greek. It is translated deed, doing, labour, work. It is an accomplishment.

    Naturally, the Arminians/Pelagians are going to find a way to wriggle out of this one, but these verses seem to offer no option other than these two possibilities:

    1. It is the work of God, not man, to believe.
    2. Since the word implies an accomplishment, this would be a stretch, but the Arminian/Pelagian might argue that -- in answer to the question "what shall we do?" -- Jesus is saying "the work required by God is that you believe.

    The former explanation harmonizes perfectly with scripture. We are saved by grace through faith, and that [faith] is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast.

    The latter explanation would make the act of believing a work. In that case grace is no longer grace and we earn our salvation by doing the work of believing, giving us reason to boast.
     
  2. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    John 6:28-29 has some powerful information. By 'working the works of God' the Lord is saying that they did not want to 'work miracles' [vs. 26 e,f] as to perform these magical events, to their minds, but they may have wanted to accomplish the miracle of multiplying the bread for their families without going to work to earn the denarius. [26 g]

    And yet in verse 28 the people seem to come back with the declaration that they indeed wanted to ' . . . work the works of God.' They obviously were not talking about creating salvation in the hearts of sinners, because they were sinners themselves.

    In John 6:29 our Lord said, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He hath sent.' In other words, Jesus tells them to believe in Jesus who was sent by God the Father. Dr. A.T. Robertson the Greek scholar says this. 'In I Thessalonians 1:3 Paul speaks of "your work of faith" (kumon tou ergou tes pisteos). So here Jesus terms belief in Him as the work of God.' from Dr. Robertson's "Word Pictures In The N.T"

    Dr. Westcott says, 'This simple formula contains the complete solution of the relation of faith and works.' {"Word Pictures In The New Testament, Volume V, p.105 taken from the former professor of N.T. Interpretation in Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

    'I disagree with Dr. Robertson in his quote in the third, fourth and fifth sentences in paragraph three of this post. In I Thessalonians 1:3a, God speaking through the Apostle Paul seems to have no problem with the stated fact that faith is a work. Paul says: 'Your work of faith, and labor of love . . . ' On the other hand, faith and belief in Jesus is not considered a 'good work' as though engineered by by the sinner. Grace is the gift of God and faith is the non-Christians' response to the call of God, or in the words coming from God, 'For by grace are you saved, through (or via) faith; and that not of yourselves {as in good works} it is the gift of God; not of works lest any person should boast.'[Ephesians 2:8-9]' (end quote from Dr. Berrian)

    Regards . . .
     
  3. BobRyan

    BobRyan
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    John 6:28 Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"

    Seems clear enough. But then I am Arminian and have no need to edit the text.

    Who is the one believing? Is it God? Who is the one "doing" the work in that verse above?

    But in the spirit of compromise with the other side - I am happy to explore the way the text "needed to read" to be Calvinist-friendly.

    Maybe the text SHOULD have said "What shall GOD DO that GOD may be WORKING the WORKS of GOD?" And then of course the Calvinist answer would be to tell God "Believe FOR the elect".

    That would have been such a wonderful calvinist text. I would have enjoyed reading it.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  4. BobRyan

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    Notice that IF you can get the text turned around as I point out above - THEN you have the wonderful result that if "you" the Jewish leaders do NOT believe - then the fault is "God's" whose "WORK IT IS" to believe for you.

    In Calvinism you get one connundrum followed by another - so never a dull day.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  5. npetreley

    npetreley
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    You are quoting the question. It's the answer that matters. The people who asked the question obviously thought they could get into the kingdom by doing works. Jesus set them straight with His answer.
     
  6. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    npetreley & Bob Ryan,

    In John 6:26 followed Jesus to consume the loaves that He multiplied. He points out in verse twenty nine that their concern should be to focus on Jesus Who is the true Bread and gives the Heavenly Bread, [vs. 31c] which leads to everlasting life.

    Best regards . . .
     
  7. BobRyan

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    You are quoting the question. It's the answer that matters. The people who asked the question obviously thought they could get into the kingdom by doing works. Jesus set them straight with His answer. </font>[/QUOTE]The question sets the context for the answer. It is "in that context" that we find that the work for the saints - that God has given them, that they might work the works of God - is to believe in Christ.

    Pretty simple really.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  8. BobRyan

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    True.

    Instead of directing the jews to work that is of some picky - fine-point-of-the-law, Christ points out that their work - (if they are to do the work that God has assigned them) is to believe on the Son of God.

    And this is "true work" because it takes an act of the will.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  9. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    Bob Ryan,

    Yes, Bob having faith in Christ may be considered as work; but it is clearly not a 'good work' that leads to salvation, as is stated in Ephesians 2:8-9. In our theology classes we were taught that faith is a persons' response to the calling of God on the life of the sinner. If not we become merely human puppets on the stage of history. [​IMG]

    Regards,
    Ray
     
  10. npetreley

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    Now this is amazing. You have a question coming from people, and an answer coming from Jesus. So by what standard do you measure the truth of this passage? You measure it by the question coming from the people, not by the answer given by Jesus. In other words, your measure the truth of this passaged based on the ignorant question, not based on the Truth Himself.

    If that were not bad enough, by interpreting this from the wrong end, you must come to the conclusion that the "work required by God is to believe", thus turning faith into a work. So then, according to you, we are saved by works, not by grace. Based on the question of ignorant people, you would rewrite Ephesians 2:8 to say:

    "By works you have been saved, not grace, and this work of belief is of your own free will, so that you can boast."
     
  11. Ray Berrian

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    All of human history begins with God. Many blessings from God fall on the Christian as well as the non-believer. The Lord God gives grace, which is His favor which we cannot merit. Only faith in this Lord can bring salvation and eternal life. We cannot take a tiny bit of credit for our making it to His eternal home for us in eternity. Faith, nevertheless is the human response to the calling of God the Spirit. Why is this a fact? Because ' . . . without faith it is impossible to please Him.' God could not be please with faith if it originally and all came from Himself. Hebrews 11:6 says, 'But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.'

    The writer of Hebrews, in this situation, claims that the human/sinner coming to God must believe that He exists and that God is the Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. In [11:6] God is not seeking man; man is in a search after the Lord God.

    God calls for a response to He and His Gospel. He asks us to believe because His grace is so plenteous in mercy. John Wesley said, 'Plenteous grace with Thee is found.' I believe we all agree on this vital point.
     
  12. billwald

    billwald
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    Consider that "liturgy" means the "the work of the people."

    Obviously "the works of God" refers to works required by God.

    The works required are Love God, be a good neighbor, worship.
     
  13. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    billwald,

    My most recent church was 'high churched' and was liturgical. I clearly recall that litury does mean the work of the people, meaning interplay between the people of God and the clergy and God. We had two different liturgies for the Service of Holy Communion.

    Our ministry [II Corinthians 5:18] is to lead people to Christ and to get them to believe on the Son. This should be the concern and work of the sinner.
     

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