Monday, August 16, 2010

The Work of God

In John 6 we read the story of the feeding of the 5,000 with five barley loaves and two fish. Great story. Good stuff. At the end of the story, the people decided to take Jesus by force and crown Him king, so Jesus headed off for some alone time and the disciples headed off across the Sea of Galilee. There is the classic story of Jesus walking on the water in there, and then they arrived at the other side. The next day, the crowd caught up with Jesus again. They were converts now. They wanted to know, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" Jesus, of course, wasn't fooled. He knew they were there to get fed, not to learn from Him. So He answered, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."

It's a mind-boggling statement. We're all pretty sure that it is our effort of believing in God. Jesus says that belief is God's work. Think of that! Paul says that God has assigned to each of us a "measure of faith". That is, if you have faith, it's because it was given to you, not because you mustered it up. He told the Philippians that their believing in Christ was a gift granted to them. He tells young Pastor Timothy that he should correct opponents with gentleness because "God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth."

I like to reflect on worship on Sundays. I like to examine reasons to ascribe worth to God, the basic definition of "worship" (actually the origin of the word). There are lots of reasons to see God as of extreme value, but I can think of none today more amazing than this single notion. I am saved because He saved me. I didn't supply the righteousness required. I didn't supply the payment for failing to provide the required righteousness. I didn't supply the effort, the will, even the faith required. I am forgiven because He did it all. Or, as Augustus Toplady put it, "Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling."

It may do damage to my pride, standing here helpless and all. But I'll agree with Paul on this. "I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." That's "worth-ship".
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The Work of God

In John 6 we read the story of the feeding of the 5,000 with five barley loaves and two fish. Great story. Good stuff. At the end of the story, the people decided to take Jesus by force and crown Him king, so Jesus headed off for some alone time and the disciples headed off across the Sea of Galilee. There is the classic story of Jesus walking on the water in there, and then they arrived at the other side. The next day, the crowd caught up with Jesus again. They were converts now. They wanted to know, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" Jesus, of course, wasn't fooled. He knew they were there to get fed, not to learn from Him. So He answered, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."

It's a mind-boggling statement. We're all pretty sure that it is our effort of believing in God. Jesus says that belief is God's work. Think of that! Paul says that God has assigned to each of us a "measure of faith". That is, if you have faith, it's because it was given to you, not because you mustered it up. He told the Philippians that their believing in Christ was a gift granted to them. He tells young Pastor Timothy that he should correct opponents with gentleness because "God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth."

I like to reflect on worship on Sundays. I like to examine reasons to ascribe worth to God, the basic definition of "worship" (actually the origin of the word). There are lots of reasons to see God as of extreme value, but I can think of none today more amazing than this single notion. I am saved because He saved me. I didn't supply the righteousness required. I didn't supply the payment for failing to provide the required righteousness. I didn't supply the effort, the will, even the faith required. I am forgiven because He did it all. Or, as Augustus Toplady put it, "Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling."

It may do damage to my pride, standing here helpless and all. But I'll agree with Paul on this. "I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." That's "worth-ship".
Post a Comment