Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” 29Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:28, 29
It is a simple question, but its answer is complex, not so easy to understand.
The most recent versions, seeking to adjust to a more precise approach, have elaborated the same question in the following terms:
What must we do so that our works are the works of God? What does God want us to do? What will we do so that we can do God’s works?
Jesus defined it as believing. If so, we do when we believe, the more we believe, the more we do. This would be the key to understanding God’s work. Believe what?
To do the work of God is to believe. To believe in the one the Father has sent,(6:29) that is, to believe in Jesus. At first glance it seems to be a simple and not very complicated work.
However, the intolerance that Jesus’ interlocutors, even his disciples, showed toward what they heard from Him, even though they understood that He had something from God, shows us that believing is more complicated than it seems. We can better appreciate this in the following argument.
Nicodemus said, – Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.(3:2); the almost five thousand men who participated in the multiplication of the five barley loaves and the two fishes, seeing what Jesus had done, said, – This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.(6:14); however, the account of the multiplication of the loaves ends by acknowledging that from the teachings many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed him.(6:59,66)
What is the real obstacle?
Why is it so complicated to believe?
Are we talking about the same kind of belief that we are used to?
Jesus admitted that not everyone can believe, that those who believe and approach Him, Jesus, is because the Father gives them to believe and draws them to Him. Believe only those whom the Father allows them to believe.
This means that believing is a divine attribution given to men in accordance with the Father’s disposition.
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:44
If not all are given to believe, why does He demand and reproach the unbelief of the people? Is there unrighteousness in Jesus? No, there is no unrighteousness; and His reproach and demand is right.
Man’s belief is the result of a punctual action, man believes in the moment because of what is in front of him, man’s belief is a conclusion; God’s belief, on the other hand, is the result of processes, God explains before making a demand of faith.
So, when man is led by God to believe, his belief is not a conclusion but a decision. Man decides to listen to the Father’s voice, and act on what he heard from Him.
Believe who chooses to hear the Father’s voice, do not believe who decided to reject it. This is the basis of the choice.
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18
So, when faced with the question, why is it so hard to believe? The answer is, because not everyone is willing to listen to God’s voice and be taught by Him.
It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. John 6:45
Heard and learned from the Father, it is a reference to the Law given by Moses, to the prophets, and to all the scriptures in general, as Jesus had previously established,
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. John 5:39, 40
And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24:27
Let us review what we have so far:
God’s work consists in believing in the one whom the Father has sent. It is not a matter of believing in the sense of understanding, admitting, recognizing, as a logical-rational process, as we have already realized; but of being willing to hear the Father’s voice,
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17
Thus we come to the conclusion that to believe means to identify in Jesus the only mediator that the Father has appointed to reconcile man, and to bring him out of the rebellion into which he fell because of Adam’s disobedience.
Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men! Luke 2:14
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
Believe, it means moving toward Jesus. It is an active belief in which, who decides to do so, subordinates all their actions to the doctrine of reconciliation, and is subject to the lordship of Christ.
Believe, it means to understand, accept and participate in the historical process of salvation,
But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. John 5:36
So, believe only the one who listens to the Father. Then, if to believe is to hear the voice of the Father, then what are the works that the Father has given us to do? What kind of works does Jesus mean?
To believe is to do. To believe is not knowledge, it is action. Whoever believes, acts.
Believing is doing. Believing is not knowledge, it is action. Who believes, acts.
18But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. … 20But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? … 26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:18-26
Therefore, the works that the Father wants us to do are all those things that we believe but have not done,
Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17
The cases presented in the parables, of slaves who are considered to be stewards of their master’s goods, but who do not act according to the entrusted designation, are clear examples of men and women of faith who do not do the works of the Father,
But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. Matthew 25:26
And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. Luke 19:22
The works of God are actions to validate the Word of God.
By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. Hebrews 11:4
The works of God are actions demanded by God to establish by the conviction of who acts the determined judgment for the regions where the works are made.
By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. Hebrews 11:7
How is God going to demand that a people, city or country have faith, if there is not a righteous person who is willing to live for it?
In the same way, how is God going to establish judgment on the perversity of a region, if there is not a righteous person who wants to repudiate from his life the evil and perverse works?
So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Ezekiel 22:30
The works that God wants us to do are simple actions, they are unseen works, unrevealed works; but works done on the basis of believe God who has given them to establish for them his Kingdom on earth, and that it be done on earth as it is done in heaven.
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. Hebrews 11:6
God said it, God will do it. This is the basis of God’s works. No one who is not willing to do what he or she believes can establish God’s work in the places assigned by Him.
God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Numbers 23:19
How many times has it happened to us that when we ask about God’s work we believe that it is an extraordinary work, of great dimensions? The work of God is simple, it transcends the spiritual because of the simplicity and obedience with which we execute it.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.