What works of God shall we do?

by Steven Chan

The bible exhorts us in 1 Cor 15:58 to keep on doing the work of God: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

But what is the work of the Lord that we are to do?

Jesus gave the answer in John 6:27-29:

“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.” 28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

Jesus said that the work of God that we should do is “to believe in Jesus”. This is the foundational work that God wants us to do because “if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”(John 8:24). This necessity was emphasized in John 14:6: “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”(Acts 4:12). If we want to do the work of God, we must believe Jesus – that He is the Son of God and that He is the only way to the Father; there’s no other way to heaven.

But what does the work of God in believing in Jesus entail? Merely believing or just acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of God? The Bible says that even the devil believes and trembles (James 2:19) as in Matt 8:29: “And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” How different is our belief in Jesus from that of the demons?

Let’s listen to the words of Jesus in Matt 7:21: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” And also in Luke 6:46-48: “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock.”

The demons will not submit themselves to do the will of God and to do the things commanded by God. The faith that saves us is that which works, i.e. that actually “DO” (not just talk or think) what God has commanded as explained in James 2:21-25: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”

What are the works of God that we must do?

  1. We must believe in Jesus (John 6:29) and abide in Him so that we may be transformed by His Word to do His Will:

John 15:4-8: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

He, who does not abide in His words but deviates there-from, does not have God with him: 2 John 9: “Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God: he that abideth in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son.”(ASV). This implies that we are to study His word (2 Tim 2:15) and feed on the word of God (Matt 4:4; Acts 20:32). John 14:15: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

Rom 12:1-2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 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.” Then we will walk by the Spirit and bear the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:16, 22-23).

So Paul wrote thus: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”(Gal 2:20)

  1. We must love one another (John 13:34-35) and work together as a body of Christ (I Cor 12:12-27; I Pet 4:10-11).
    Reiterated in 1 John 3:23; “And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.” In bearing one another’s burden, we fulfil the law of Christ (Gal 6:2).

We must be “joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”(Eph 4:16) So we need to encourage one another (Heb 3:13) and provoke one another unto love and good works (Heb 10:24)

  1. We are to go and preach the gospel to all.

”Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (Matt 28:18-20)

In preaching the Gospel, we are fellow workers with God:

1 Cor 3:5-9: “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers;”

  1. We are to do good works so that God may be glorified (Matt 5:16). “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”(Eph 2:10; I Tim 6:18; Titus 3:14; I Pet 2:12; Matt 25:31-46).

Gal 6:10: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

The Bible exhorts us in 1 Peter 3:15-17; 4:7-11:

1 Peter 3:15-17: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

I Pet 4:7-11: “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

Are we busily doing God’s work?