You make continual reference to accomplishing “the work of God” in your publications and sermons; however, doesn’t the scripture in John 6:29 show that simply believing in Jesus Christ fulfills doing the work of God?


Understanding our part and responsibility regarding the work of God is a pivotal issue for those who claim to follow the Christian faith! The fact is that there is great confusion about exactly what the work of God means.

To truly comprehend what Jesus taught about the work of God, we must consider not only the verse in John, but, additionally, we need to compare other references in God’s Word. First, here is the text in question:

“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent’” (John 6:29).

Consider the specific context of this statement by Jesus. Multiple thousands of people who followed Jesus had recently been miraculously fed (compare John 6:1-14). Some continued to seek Jesus—even to the point of getting into boats and crossing to where Jesus had gone, as recorded in verses 22-25 of John 6.

It is quite revealing to read how Jesus responded:

“‘…Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him’” (John 6:26-27).

Here is a quite obvious case of people following Jesus for the wrong reasons. They believed they would receive physical food to satisfy themselves. In fact, Jesus warned that some would claim that they used His name for preaching, for withstanding Satanic forces and even for doing miraculous works (compare Matthew 7:21-22). However, carefully note what He also said about people of this mindset:

“‘And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”’” (Matthew 7:23).

These all knew about Jesus, but they utterly failed to live within the laws of God!

Jesus asks this poignant question of any who would claim to be His follower:

“‘But why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great’” (Luke 6:46-49).

What Jesus said for us to do, He also did Himself! One example of this is the establishment of how Christians are to observe the Passover:

“‘For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them’” (John 13:15-17).

Far too many—indeed the majority of Bible students—read over passages such as this and ignore the plainly expressed teaching of Jesus Christ!

Being a Christian mandates doing what Jesus Christ has commanded His servants to do!

One important activity for Christians is to be supportive of the Church of God, and that is expressed time and time again in bringing forward the preaching of the gospel. This is also something that Jesus Christ dedicated Himself to as He began and then finished His ministry. In Mark’s account we find that “…Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:14-15). At the very end of His ministry, Christ was able to give account of Himself to the Father, and He said, “‘…I have finished the work which You have given Me to do’” (John 17:4).

The fact that Jesus accomplished things is proven by the bitter resentment that the Jewish religious leaders held for Him. Jesus even healed people on the Sabbath. Jesus’ answer to those who questioned Him was “‘…My Father has been working until now, and I have been working’” (John 5:17).

Remember, Jesus is the pattern, and the apostle Peter taught this as a foundational principle of Christianity when he wrote of the need to patiently endure suffering: “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

One must conclude that just believing that God sent Jesus is not the end of our responsibility!

The apostle Paul came to believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God—even that Jesus was resurrected from the dead and was alive, living in heaven alongside the Father. But coming to that knowledge was only the beginning!

In 2 Corinthians 11, verses 22 through 33, Paul relates what happened to him following his conversion to Christianity. In verse 28, Paul speaks of the work that fell to him—“besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.”

Toward the end of his ministry, Paul was able to give account for the work God had given to him to accomplish: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

Romans 16 summarizes the work of brethren in the Church of God. Note how Paul refers to a man and wife of that time: “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus…” (verse 3). This chapter memorializes those who actively contributed their part to the building up of the body of Christ (compare Ephesians 4:12; Jude 20).

Those who believe and teach that only invoking the name of Jesus Christ completes their responsibilities to God and fulfills their calling to Christianity have greatly compromised the truth of the Word of God! Many of Christ’s parables concern bearing fruit on His behalf—one such teaching is found in Matthew 25:31-46. Fundamentally, the warning is to those who have been called into a knowledge of the truth of God, and the consequences for those who ignore and become lax in following Christ’s teachings are inescapably frightening!

Evidently, this deceptive argument about faith and works became entrenched in the Church of God at the outset. James addressed the issue squarely, and this is the way he concludes, “… faith without works is dead…” (James 2:26).

In our generation some say that the work of God is over, as Christ’s disciples felt after His death and resurrection (compare John 21:1-3); some have crafted their own personal beliefs to excuse their rebellion (compare 2 Timothy 4:3-4); others seek personal power over the “sheep” of God (compare Paul’s warning in Acts 20:28-31); still others have lost the power of discernment that is God’s gift through His Holy Spirit (compare 1 Thessalonians 5:4; 2 Timothy 1:6-7)!

When Jesus Christ prepared to leave this earth, He told His disciples to “‘…Go into all the world and preach the gospel (Mark 16:15; compare, also, Acts 1:8). That task and duty remains and is still the assigned work of the Church of God. The absolute and incontrovertible proof of this is found in the prophecy spoken by Jesus Christ about things that would be taking place leading to His return to this earth:

“‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come’” (Matthew 24:14).

Concerning the issue of faith during these end times, Jesus asked this searching question, “‘…when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?’” (Luke 18:8).

To return to Christ’s saying in John 6:29, we cannot do the work of God unless we believe in Jesus Christ–the Head of the church–who directs and leads and guides us. But we must follow His lead–we must DO whatever He requests of us. When we believe in Jesus, we WILL DO the Work. Remember, faith without works is dead. Consider also James’ remarks in James 1:25: “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a DOER of the WORK, this one will be blessed in what HE DOES.”

One vitally important key for us to ensure that we stand in the faith of Jesus Christ is to, like Him, “work the works of God.” Jesus Christ had a sense of deliberate urgency for completing the work His Father had given to Him, and He said, “‘I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work’” (John 9:4).

For those who believe in Him, Jesus makes this undeniable promise:

“‘Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it’” (John 14:12-14).

Your salvation and your eternal life must not be taken lightly! We all have this powerful admonition:

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

In the final chapter of the Book of Revelation, Jesus states this: “‘And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work'” (Revelation 22:12).

Something to consider, and, absolutely, something we had better believe!

Lead Writer: Dave Harris

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