What is the work of God?
Important question, many answers. Incorrect answers cause confusion in our world. Many people claiming to be Christians, claiming many different things. Which is the work of God?
Further, God gets credit/blame for much. Fatalism, determinism. "It was just the will of God." Person dies, just will of God. Something tragic happens, just will of God. Is that what one tells hurricane survivors in Central America, houses still falling down, just will of God, God did it.
Listen to Jesus, John 6:28ff. Jesus is epitome of work of God, John 9:3, came to work will of God.
Challenge is to make our list--what is work of God? What would you put on your list? What does God want, what is his will? I thought my list would be long, but mine was short.
Traditionally God's work has been summarized as creation, redemption, sustaining. Let us look at these again.
I. GOD MADE US.
God creates after which the fall of humanity is continuously demonstrated--Eden, Cain, Flood, even Noah, Babel. Human choices move us away from God. Yet God reaches out to bring us back.
II. GOD CALLS US.
Beginning in Garden. Throughout history. Through Abraham and his seed, through the work of God.
III. GOD REMAKES US.
Calls us through recreation, salvation. This is OT story. Story of God's work, culminated in Christ Jesus, Lord and Savior, in that order. To make God known, to demonstrate how to love, how to live, whom to hear, believe, obey. Question is, how will humanity respond to this power of God at work. Will we respond in faith, acknowledging God, accepting God and his power?
IV. GOD SUSTAINS US.
God's work is not done in creating and recreating. God will sustain by his power. Sustaining, caring. Encouraging, bringing together in the body of Christ.
God has not quit working. Work of God in Jesus Christ so vital, yet is not the end. God continues to work. God sustains. God's power is still available. Story of NT. Why to live for Jesus Christ, how to live for Jesus Christ.
So....why are we here? To participate in work of God. But what is the work of God? Jesus answered, belief. That the world may believe. After creation and fall, the work of God is to call humanity to recreation. Power of God at work. Salvation is work of God through power of God. God initiates, humanity responds. But how will God continue this work after Jesus Christ ascends? We are the hands of God in making him known to the world. In demonstrating his love to the world. In making clear the one who is to be heard, believed, and obeyed. The choice that ultimately blesses. God's power is at work in salvation. The blood of Christ applied in our lives saves.
After salvation, the work of God is sustaining. Worship is sustaining, not saving. Catholics in Reformation era had seven sacraments, sacred activities in which it was thought that humans moved closer to God--baptism, marriage, last rights, ordination to the priesthood, communion. Today understand that sacraments are not saving acts, not meritorious. If sacraments is to be used as word to describe, these are where we touch work of God, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In God's work to save, one must touch the death, burial, and resurrection in baptism, responding to God's initiative. But after salvation, one must touch the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Lord's Supper. This is an important distinction. Worship is sustaining, not saving. Post salvation activity is sustaining, not saving.
What is work of God?
God is at work in this world--creating, pursuing personal love relationship for his creation with him, thus he can be seen, can be found, because he reveals himself.
God invites you to become involved in his work. Understand his work. But this participation in work of God brings always a crisis of faith/belief that requires adjustments in our lives for now God defines us, empowers us.
You come to know God through obeying him, and he accomplishes his work in you with your permission. You continue to work in work of God as you move that message of God's work in the world unto the uttermost parts.
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