“Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6.28-29
This is a loaded question if there ever was one — “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Now we can presume it was a Jew asking this question. And if it was a Jew, he/she knew the answer to the question – “six hundred and thirteen,” the number of Mosaic Laws required by Jews. Although there is some dispute with this number, this is the acceptable number of laws a Jew must obey in order to follow the Lord (See Bible Q – http://bibleq.net/answer/3899/).
Whether this number was exactly correct or not is not my point, but rather, there are a ton of laws said to be associated with Moses that God gave his people in order to remain his people. When the Jew was asking Jesus “What must we do to do the works God requires?” – he was either asking “Which laws are the most important?” or he was testing Jesus to see if he answered according to the popular opinion of the day.
But Jesus doesn’t answer as expected. He gives no lengthly discourse as to what law is best or what one must do in order to fulfill what God “requires.” Rather, Jesus just says “believe.”
Jesus replies to the question by saying, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” Living for God, abiding by his laws, obeying his commands, being a good “Christian” “Jew” or whatever means we believe in Jesus first and foremost.
Therefore, we can surmise that working is believing. That it takes work to have faith. It doesn’t just happen, it doesn’t even come naturally (not for me!). Believing requires an act of the will, a demonstration of faith, a lifestyle change. Now how we live this out is up to us, his Word and His Holy Spirit. What works for me might look different for you. My time with the Lord might not be the same as yours. How I hear his voice might differ than how you hear from God.
But in the end, faith comes not from what we do but by what we believe. As we “work out or salvation with fear and trembling,” (Phil. 2.12) we do so because of the love we have for the Lord.
So the next time you are feeling guilty about “not doing enough for God” remember the work of God is this – “to believe in Jesus, whom he has sent.” And your believing will produce fruit that will well up into springs for eternal life.
“O Lord, you are good. In the midst of the storm, I find calm. In the middle of trying to please you, to do the right thing and remain faithful, I find peace. Thank you Father that all I must do is believe. It all begins with that action and with trusting in your Son. Come, Holy Spirit, fill me with your love and power. Help me be the person you have called me to be that I might reflect your glory and shine your light into a dark world. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen