Have you seen the signs along the highway that declare a group is responsible to keep a mile of the road clean? The other day I saw one that had God’s name Yahweh on it. As I looked at all the trash on the road during this mile I thought “Do they expect God to come down and clean it Himself?” Although God could do a really cool miracle and keep this mile clean He does not because He chooses to use people to do the work.
God chooses to use people to work because He knows that we need to have a sense of purpose, accomplishment and well-being to make our lives fulfilling. God provides all kinds of work on the earth for us to do but this kind of work is temporary and will not completely fulfill us spiritually. Jesus said in John 6:27-29, “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal.” Someone asked Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus replied, “This is the work of God; that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
I have always taken this statement, “Believe in Him whom He has sent,” To mean have faith in Jesus to eternal life, since we have already done this, the work has been completed. But looking back to verse 26 we see Jesus is saying “work for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you,” implying a continuation of the work which He will give you, then also saying in verse 29 that this work is to… “Believe,” also indicating a continual task.
Jesus is saying that believing is the work of God, but to believe what? It is not only to believe in Jesus for salvation alone, but it is also to believe what Jesus speaks to you enough to cause you to act.
Faith in the Kingdom of God is built by hearing, believing and acting on that belief. Romans 1:17 says “For therein (the gospel) is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But he just shall live by faith.’” Each time you are told to do a work and you believe it and do it, it builds your faith. If you choose not to believe then that particular time of building your faith is lost.
This action is called working out your salvation, not to be confused with working FOR your salvation. Philippians 2:12&13 says, “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and work for His good pleasure.”
This working out your faith usually starts with the Holy Spirit convicting you of behaviors and attitudes like lying, gossip, rudeness, outbursts of anger, or any action that He would not do.
Then when you can control these things He gets deeper into your thought process teaching you to think like Him, changing your thoughts on how you treat people, even when they hurt you deeply, teaching you His way to forgive.
Then He takes you even deeper teaching you how to take these life lessons and help others trying to work out their salvation.
Each time you say yes to Jesus by changing into His image you will find that purpose, accomplishment and well-being giving you lasting fulfillment.