Another King James Bible Believer

What is the work of God?  John 6:29

Faith - the work of God

 

“This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”  John 6:29

 

This verse is seen and understood in two very different ways. One way ends up contradicting the other Scriptures, and the other way confirms them in a surprising manner.

 

John chapter 6 is full of very interesting and controversial statements our Lord Jesus Christ made. In fact, in this chapter in John 6:66 (interesting numbers;-)  we read: “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”

 

What were some of these “hard sayings” our Lord uttered that resulted in the “many” who had once followed him, now went back?

 

He told them in v.36 “ye also have seen me, and believe not.”

 

He then goes on to say: “ALL that the Father giveth me SHALL COME to me;  and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37

 

“And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of ALL WHICH HE HATH GIVEN ME I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”  John 6:39

 

“NO MAN CAN COME TO ME, EXCEPT the Father which hath sent me DRAW HIM: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44

 

Notice that the verse teaches that the individual man that the Father has given to the Son and draws to him WILL BE RAISED UP at the last day, and will not be lost.

 

Those who oppose the doctrines of sovereign grace are then quick to refer us to John 12:32 which says: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, WILL DRAW ALL MEN UNTO ME.”

 

Yet they misunderstand the meaning of the verse in the context it is given, and end up contradicting numerous other verses of God’s Book.  

 

See my article on this verse here -

 

http://brandplucked.webs.com/john1232iwilldrawall.htm 

 

 

The Lord Jesus then goes on to tell these people who end up “going back, and walking no more with him” - “Therefore I said unto you, that NO MAN CAN COME TO ME, EXCEPT IT WERE GIVEN UNTO HIM OF MY FATHER.”  John 6:65

 

So what exactly does the Lord Jesus mean in John 6:29 where he says “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”?

 

These people were asking the Lord what WORKS (plural) THEY COULD DO, and the Lord Jesus is in effect telling them that the only WORK (singular) that is of any value is the one God does.

 

It is GOD’S WORK THAT WE BELIEVE.

 

Just as other Scriptures tell us.

 

"For UNTO YOU IT IS GIVEN in the behalf of Christ, not only TO BELIEVE ON HIM, but also to suffer for his sake." Philippians 1:29

"For I say, through the grace given unto me, TO EVERY MAN THAT IS AMONG YOU, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as GOD HATH DEALT TO EVERY MAN THE MEASURE OF FAITH."  Romans 12:3

 

The "every man" in the context is the "every man among you"  - those who were already converted Christians to whom Paul is writing. 

Not everyone has faith. 2 Thessalonians 3:2 "for all men have not faith" and obviously there are unbelievers. 

 

If you think you got this faith to believe on your own, then you are guilty of the very thing Paul cautions us against. You are thinking of yourself more highly than you ought to think.

 

For much more on this, see my article “Why do some believe the gospel and others do not?”  here -

 

http://brandplucked.webs.com/originoffaith.htm

 

A section of Scripture that is often quoted and yet misunderstood by those who think "they chose by their own free will to believe" is Ephesians 2:8-10

 

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

 

The “free willers” tell us that it was THEIR faith that made all the difference, and when the Scripture says that this salvation is “NOT of works, lest any man should boast” they are quick to tell us “Oh, but faith is NOT a work. It’s just the hand that reaches out and accepts the gift.”

 

Yet the Lord Jesus Christ clearly tells us in John 6:29 that faith, or believing, IS a work. “This is the work of God, that ye believe”.  The work is God's work. "for we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, CREATED in Christ Jesus"

 

So, whom should we believe? Those who tell us that they came up with this saving faith that makes all the difference between those who are saved and those who are lost, and that this contribution of theirs is “NOT a work”, or God who clearly tells us that it IS a work. In fact, it is HIS work?

 

This shouldn’t be a “tough call” guys. You either believe God or man.

 

Commentators as well as professing Christians are divided, as they are on most things.  But here are a few comments you might want to consider and pray about.  Ask God to reveal his truth to you and give you a heart to accept it.

Notice that The First London Baptist Confession of Faith, 1646 lists John 6:29 as a proof text that God gives the gift of faith.

http://www.reformedreader.org/ccc/1646lbc.htm

XXII.

Faith is the gift of God, wrought in the hearts of the elect by the Spirit of God; by which faith they come to know and believe the truth of the Scriptures, and the excellency of them above all other writings, and all things in the world, as they hold forth the glory of God in His attributes, the execellency of Christ in His nature and offices, and of the power and fulness of the Spirit in its workings and operations; and so are enabled to cast their souls upon His truth thus believed.

Eph. 2:8; John 6:29, 4:10; Phil. 1:29; Gal. 5:22; John 17:17; Heb. 4:11,12; John 6:63.

 

 

 

John Gill on John 6:29 - “Verse 29. Jesus answered and said unto them, this is the work of God,.... The main and principal one, and which is well pleasing in his sight; and without which it is impossible to please him; and without which no work whatever is a good work; AND THIS IS THE OPERATION OF GOD, WHICH HE HIMSELF WORKS IN MEN; IT IS NOT OF THEMSELVES, IT IS THE PURE GIFT OF GOD THAT YE BELIEVE ON HIM WHOM HE HATH SENT;  there are other works which are well pleasing to God, when rightly performed, but faith is the chief work, and others are only acceptable when done in the faith of Christ. THIS, as a principle, IS PURELY GOD’S WORK; as it is an act, or as it is exercised UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DIVINE GRACE, it is man's act: "that ye believe"; the object of it is Christ, as sent by the Father, as the Mediator between God and men, as appointed by him to be the Saviour and Redeemer; and believing in Christ, is believing in God that sent him.”

Matthew Henry on John 6:29 - “THE WORK OF FAITH IS THE WORK OF GOD. They enquire after the works of God (in the plural number), being careful about many things; but Christ directs them to one work, which includes all, the one thing needful: that you believe, which supersedes all the works of the ceremonial law; the work which is necessary to the acceptance of all the other works, and which produces them, for without faith you cannot please God. IT IS GOD’S WORK, FOR IT IS OF HIS WORKING IN US, and quickens the soul in working for him, (2.) THAT FAITH IS THE WORK OF GOD which closes with Christ, and relies upon him. It is to believe on him as one whom God hath sent, as God's commissioner in the great affair of peace between God and man, and as such to rest upon him, and resign ourselves to him.”

John Trapp’s Commentary on the Bible (English Puritan) - Ver. 29. This is the work of God, the το εργον. It is an easy matter to believe (thinks the worldling), but he that goes about it shall find it as hard a work to believe the gospel, as to keep the law.  FOR GOD MUST ENABLE TO BOTH. Non minus difficile est nobis velle credere It is no less difficult for us to wish to believe than for a corpse to wish to. (saith Beza) quam cadaver; volare.”

Are you among those whom God has given to the Son and has drawn to himself and who will be never be lost but will be raised up at the last day?  I certainly hope so.   

Let us be as Peter who said in John 6:68-69 after “many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” and Jesus asked if they too will go away.

“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life, And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”

ALL of grace, believing the Book - the King James Holy Bible.

Will Kinney

Return to articles -

http://brandplucked.webs.com/kjbarticles.htm

 

Objection # 1 raised-



Brandon S. says: "As for work and belief, I simply believe what the Bible says:


Romans 4:5 (KJV) But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.


You keep saying that believing on Christ is some kind of salvation work. Paul disagrees and calls it "worketh not." I choose go believe Paul."


Brandon, what you are completely missing and is going completely over your head is that belief or faith is NOT a work that WE do, but rather it is a work that GOD does in and for his people.


THAT is the point. We are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created IN Christ Jesus.


Faith is clearly a work. But it is the work of GOD, not us!


“This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:29


Just as other Scriptures tell us.


"For UNTO YOU IT IS GIVEN in the behalf of Christ, not only TO BELIEVE ON HIM, but also to suffer for his sake." Philippians 1:29


"For I say, through the grace given unto me, TO EVERY MAN THAT IS AMONG YOU, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as GOD HATH DEALT TO EVERY MAN THE MEASURE OF FAITH." Romans 12:3


The "every man" in the context is the "every man among you" - those who were already converted Christians to whom Paul is writing. 


Not everyone has faith. 2 Thessalonians 3:2 "for all men have not faith" and obviously there are unbelievers. 


If you think you got this faith to believe on your own, then you are guilty of the very thing Paul cautions us against. You are thinking of yourself more highly than you ought to think.


Now, Brian, here is once again the other question you keep dodging. Did God give you the faith to believe, or did you do this by yourself?



 

Objection # 2 raised -

Hi Will, this is Joshua A. I just received your post on Calvinism. I have to say that I'm no longer a Calvinist, nor have I been for quite some time now (a few months). Nevertheless, I'm not going to call you a heretic or anything like some of the brethren do :-). Regarding John 6:29 KJB, the key is to look at verse 28 KJB, "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" They weren't asking Jesus about what God could make them do or work, but about what they could do. "The works of God" is simply a reference to the works God would have them to do. Verse 28 makes that crystal clear. Jesus responded, "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:29 KJB). Jesus isn't telling them God makes men believe, but rather is responding to the audience's question. He's telling them the great "works" that God would have them to do to be saved is to simply believe on Christ. And notice Christ says, "that ye believe on him", indicating it was their action, their decision to believe on Christ. I honestly think there are a ton of better arguments for Calvinism than this verse, like verse 37 (which you pointed out in your email). I would recommend you stay away from using this particular verse to support Calvinism.

God bless you and your efforts at defending and upholding the King James Bible.

In Christ, Joshua 


Hi Joshua. I am sorry to hear that you have gotten so far off from the truth. There are several flaws in your arguments here.  I can think of about 4 different ways of looking at the passage without violating the rules of Grammar.



In response to their question “What must we do, that we might work the works of God?”  The Lord tells them “This is the work of God, that ye believe own him whom he hath sent.” This is not a command. It is only a statement.  He is not commanding them to do anything here.

It is much like in John 3 where Jesus is speaking to one individual, Nicodemus, and he says “YE (plural) must be born again.”  Notice that neither is this a command telling Nicodemus what HE must do. It is merely stating a fact. Ye must be born again.

Could Nicodemus do this on his own? Did he have the innate ability to fulfill the requirement?  No. Of course not.  Only God can create the new birth, and Scripture clearly tells us that this is done “not by the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  John 1:13

Also notice the use of the plural “YE”. To whom was the Lord referring?  To all the Jews?  To the elect Jews? To all those who believed in Jehovah but had not yet come to faith in their Messiah?

It is open to different interpretations.

In a similar manner in John 6:29 when he says “This is the work of God, that YE believe in him whom he hath sent.”  In Scripture we often see the mingling of what can be called “the generic you” and “the specific you”.

When Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount and said things like “YE are the salt of the earth” and “YE are the light of the world”, was every single individual in that large audience the salt of the earth and the light of the world, even though they may have been unbelievers? I don’t think so.

Even here in John 6:31-33 we should notice how the Lord uses the word “you”.  These same Jews tell Jesus: “Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto YOU, Moses gave YOU not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth YOU the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.”

Notice the part about "Moses gave YOU not that bread”. Jesus is saying it was God who did this rather than the man Moses. But who is the “YOU” here? It is referring NOT to the people to whom he is directly speaking at the moment, but refers to the Jews who wandered around in the wilderness hundreds of years before.

Another way of looking at the passage it what some commentators have pointed out. Jesus is telling them that something must be done -“that ye believe on him” - which is impossible with men, but that only God can do.

It is like the law - by the law is the knowledge of sin.  Man is shown to be incapable of doing it. No one has ever loved the Lord with ALL their heart, mind, soul and strength. Except the Lord Jesus Christ.

I hope your thinking hasn’t gone so far off the rails that you now think that faith is something that man can produce all on his own. The Bible clearly tells us that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, and that if we believe, it is because God gave us this ability, since it is He who blinds the eyes and hardens the heart of some so that they CANNOT believe, and He gives to others the measure of faith.

It is God’s work that we believe. The natural man cannot do this on his own. Just as God alone can provide the bread in the wilderness, it is God alone who can give life to the world and God alone who can create faith the Saviour.

It is not a good idea at all to try to overturn and contradict the many clear statements in Scripture that tell us the new birth is NOT of the will of man but of God, and that He has chosen his elect in Christ before the foundation of the world, and that God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation” (2 Thessalonians 2:13) and that ALL that the Father gives to the Son WILL COME to him, and that “as many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48) just because you base your argument of some pretty open-ended and ambiguous wording found in John 6:29 where Jesus just makes a statement of fact (and not a command) saying: “This is the work of God, that ye believe in him whom he hath sent.”

May God graciously lead you into his truth, wherever this may take you.

God bless,

Will Kinney

 


The First London Baptist Confession of Faith, 1646


http://www.reformedreader.org/ccc/1646lbc.htm


XXII.


Faith is the gift of God, wrought in the hearts of the elect by the Spirit of God; by which faith they come to know and believe the truth of the Scriptures, and the excellency of them above all other writings, and all things in the world, as they hold forth the glory of God in His attributes, the execellency of Christ in His nature and offices, and of the power and fulness of the Spirit in its workings and operations; and so are enabled to cast their souls upon His truth thus believed.


Eph. 2:8; John 6:29, 4:10; Phil. 1:29; Gal. 5:22; John 17:17; Heb. 4:11,12; John 6:63.