Friday, December 30, 2011

The One Work of a Believer

I was thrilled when I first read John 6: 28-29:

"Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6: 28-29)

"Believe!" I thought. "That's easy."

So, I pondered, if I just believe, then all will work out just fine.

Of course, that was not the case at all in my life shortly after reading that verse for the first time. I still made many mistakes, circumstances of a troubling nature also surprised me. Because I worried that perhaps God was not doing a very good job of watching out for me, I felt compelled to inject anxiety into my life, watch over my own shoulder so to speak so that I did not fail.

In truth, my problem was that I did not believe enough.

First, it is important clarify what or who we believe in.

Returning to John 6:29, I read:

"Believe on him whom he hath sent."

Who is He? Jesus Christ, of course.

But who is Christ to you? Who was he to me at the time?

I look back on the first time that I read John 6:29, and I pictured Jesus Christ as the guy who would make sure that everything would work out for me. However, I had to pay due diligence that I kept believing on Him. If I deviated in my belief, then I would forfeit my connection to Him.

My revelation of Jesus Christ was distorted and limited, if not outright false.

When I reread John 6:29, I looked at the description of "Him":

"whom he hath sent." Why did God the Father send His Son?

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3: 16-17)

Condemnation is a big deal to God, enough that He did not want anyone to fall under condemnation. John the Baptist explains:

"The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3: 35-36)

Wow! Christ's death was meant for every human being to avoid the wrath of the Father on account of our sins. However, Christ's death was also for us to receive Eternal Life, which is His Son (cf John 14:6)!

So, Jesus was sent to save us from our sin and instill within us eternal life. John also mentions that "all things" were given "into his hand."

In order to make sense of these grand claims, we need to consult the epistles.

Paul writes:

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1; the original text does not include 'who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit')

This phrase is emphatic and ultimate - no condemnation at all, not a smidgen, and it has nothing to do with me, and all to do with Christ.

Paul explains why in another epistle:

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

We are "the righteousness of God" in Christ. What else does Paul write about our new status in Him?:

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

"Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

"And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

"That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2: 4-7)

God is "rich in mercy" toward us. Not only has He brought us from death because of our sins, but has seated us with Christ!

Where is Christ seated? At the right hand of the Father:

"Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (Romans 8:34)


"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." (Colossians 3:1)

There Christ is now, sitting in the seat of honor next to God the Father, who loved us enough to send His Son to die for us. There Christ is, making intervention for us:

"Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (Romans 8:34)

In Christ, we have everlasting righteousness, no reason to fear death, or anything else (for His perfect love casts out all fear! (cf 1 John 4:17)

In Him we have all things, as the fullness of Creation lies in Christ, and thus to us accorded.

So, what do you believe? Who do you believe? Is Christ in you just a faint hope, or is He the hope of glory, an ever-expanding joyful victory that nothing can dampen or impede?

It is your "job" to believe on this powerful One!

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