Words from the Heart for Monday May 16th, 2016
“Then they asked him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.'”
John 6:28-29 (NIV)
Believing is Doing
The work of God is a miracle work. He does not ask you to do a miracle. But He works a miracle for you to do the most important thing you could ever do: believe in Jesus Christ. Are you depending upon your work or upon Jesus’ work?
When his book Unknown Gods was published 22 years ago, University of Lethbridge sociologist and pollster Reginald Bibby painted a rather dreary picture of where Canada’s churches would be by about 2015. Congregations would be older, birth rates wouldn’t keep up with the number of folks who were dying off, and all the while many children weren’t being socialized into a faith. It was a linear decline, plain and simple. When 2015 arrived, Bibby decided to revisit his book and check on his predictions. He discovered that for many religious groups, he was quite off-target. Catholics, for example, are building new churches in some parts of the country. Evangelicals increased their total numbers as Canada’s population grew. He had accurately forecasted a long, drawn-out decline for the United Church of Canada and the Anglican Church. But some religions were getting an infusion of new blood.
One of the challenges of the presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is grace. You might be wondering what I mean by that, so let me explain. Every religious system in the world is based on works. People are called to perform certain ways in order to try to earn the favour of the god of that religion. You have to pray so often, or commit good acts, or keep your body under control in order to try to appease god. So people have a hard time believing that at the heart of Christianity is the teaching that there is nothing we can do to earn God’s favour. I have known people who have, at least at first, rejected the Gospel because they just can’t grasp the concept of grace. Jesus knew this would be a challenge and in John 6:28-29 he says “Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” What a powerful truth. The only part that we play in salvation is to believe. There is nothing else we can do and nothing else we must do. Over and over the New Testament teaches that salvation is a free gift, provided by Jesus’ death on the Cross. Believe that and live. Have you put your faith in Jesus Christ?
These have been words from the heart.