John 6:29
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
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(29) This is the work of God.—They speak of “works,” regarding life as an aggregate of individual deeds. He speaks of “work,” regarding separate acts as the outcome of principle. His own works (John 5:36) made one complete work (John 17:4). They had one great work to do, which indeed seemed not a work, but which when realised would be the living principle of every work, and would be as food abiding unto eternal life.

That ye believe on him whom he hath sent.—Comp. John 5:24. To believe on Him whom God hath sent is already to have the spiritual life which is eternal. The contrast of the words comes to us across the discussions of many centuries, speaking to the angry waves which arise in men’s souls and bidding them be still. Faith and work, then, are one. As soul and body, they together make one life. The energy of every work is in the faith which links the soul with God; the outcome of all faith is in the act which links the soul with man. The work of life is faith; and “faith worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6).

6:28-35 Constant exercise of faith in Christ, is the most important and difficult part of the obedience required from us, as sinners seeking salvation. When by his grace we are enabled to live a life of faith in the Son of God, holy tempers follow, and acceptable services may be done. God, even his Father, who gave their fathers that food from heaven to support their natural lives, now gave them the true Bread for the salvation of their souls. Coming to Jesus, and believing on him, signify the same. Christ shows that he is the true Bread; he is to the soul what bread is to the body, nourishes and supports the spiritual life. He is the Bread of God. Bread which the Father gives, which he has made to be the food of our souls. Bread nourishes only by the powers of a living body; but Christ is himself living Bread, and nourishes by his own power. The doctrine of Christ crucified is now as strengthening and comforting to a believer as ever it was. He is the Bread which came down from heaven. It denotes the Divinity of Christ's person and his authority; also, the Divine origin of all the good which flows to us through him. May we with understanding and earnestness say, Lord, evermore give us this Bread.This is the work of God - This is the thing that will be acceptable to God, or which you are to do in order to be saved. Jesus did not tell them they had nothing to do, or that they were to sit down and wait, but that there was a work to perform, and that was a duty that was imperative. It was to believe on the Messiah. This is the work which sinners are to do; and doing this they will be saved, for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth, Romans 10:4. 29. This is the work of God—That lies at the threshold of all acceptable obedience, being not only the prerequisite to it, but the proper spring of it—in that sense, the work of works, emphatically "the work of God." Our Lord calleth them to a work they never thought of, the owning and acknowledgment of him to be the true Messiah; the embracing and receiving him as such, and trusting him with all the concerns of their souls; which was necessary, notwithstanding all their acts of obedience to the law, though most certainly productive also of that obedience, and inseparable from it. This our Saviour calleth

the work of God, in answer to what they had said about working the works of God. Yet this will not prove that we are justified by works, because we are justified by faith; for here is no discourse concerning the causation of faith in the justification of a soul, but only concerning what is the will of God, as to all those that shall be saved.

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 of 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. The Jews reduce all the six hundred and thirteen precepts of the law, for so many they say there are, to this one, "the just shall live by his faith", Habakkuk 2:4. (e).

(e) T. Bab. Maccot, fol. 23. 2. & 24. 1.

{5} Jesus answered and said unto them, {g} This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

(5) Men torment themselves in vain when they try to please God without faith.

(g) That is, this is the work that God requires, that you believe in me, and therefore he calls them back to faith.

29. the work of God] They probably were thinking of works of the law, tithes, sacrifices, &c. Christ tells them of one work, one moral act, from which all the rest derive their value,—belief in Him whom God has sent.

that ye believe] Literally, that ye may believe. S. John’s favourite form of expression, indicating the Divine purpose. Comp. John 6:50 and John 5:36.

John 6:29. Τὸ ἔργον τοῦ Θεοῦ, the work of God) That work which is approved by God: comp. ch. John 4:34, [Jesus said] “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.” Jesus opposes the singular number to the plural of the Jews, who had said, the works of God, John 6:28. He retains, however, their term. In another sense, τὸ ἔργον τοῦ Θεοῦ, the work of God, is used Romans 14:20.[126]—πιστεύσητε, that ye believe) The thing is expressed plainly, and afterwards is described successively in metaphorical and in plain language.

[126] “For meat destroy not the work of God,” i.e. the spreading of the Gospel.—E. and T.

Verse 29. - Christ's reply really solves the great problem which had long perplexed the schools of Palestine, and often, and even to the present hour, is dividing into two hostile camps the Christian Church. Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God. Observe, not "works," but "work" - the one work which is the germ and the consummation of all the partial workings which are often made substitutes for it. There is "one work" which God would have man do. Jesus admits that there is something to do (ποιεῖν) - there is a labour, an effort of the will needed to do what God requires; and this is evident enough as soon as this great work is described, viz. That ye believe on him whom he (the Father) sent; or, hath sent. Ἵνα πιστεύητε, here preferred by the R.T. to πιστεύσητε (see John 13:19), marks the simple fact and continuous act of believing with the effort tending to such result; while the aorist would have pointed to one definite act of faith (see Westcott).. To "believe on him," to habitually entrust one's self to the power and grace of Christ, to make a full moral surrender of the soul to the Lord, includes in itself all other work, and is in itself the great work of God. "It is the Christian answer to the Jewish question" (Thoma). "Faith is the life of works, works the necessity of faith" (Westcott). "Faith is the highest kind of work, for by it man gives himself to God, and a free being can do nothing greater than give himself: St. James opposes work to a faith which would be nothing but intellectual belief. St. Paul opposes faith, active faith, to works of mere observance. The 'faith' of St. Paul is really the 'work' of St. James, according to this sovereign formula of Jesus, 'This is the work of God, that ye believe'" (Godet). Luther says, "To depend on God's Word, so that the heart is not terrified by sin and death, but trusts and believes in God, is a much severer and more difficult thing than the Carthusians or all orders of monks demand." Schleiermachcr says, "This is the most significant declaration, that all eternal life proceeds from nothing else than faith in Christ." John 6:29Believe

Faith is put as a moral act or work. The work of God is to believe. Faith includes all the works which God requires. The Jews' question contemplates numerous works. Jesus' answer directs them to one work. Canon Westcott justly observes that "this simple formula contains the complete solution of the relation of faith and works."

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