There is more about work that can be written in just one article. This next Monday is Labor day for those of us in the United States and Canada. It is to celebrate the working man. Some celebrate on May 1, but we do it on the first Monday in September. We are to be working for the Lord. Work comes in many different forms. The farmer works, the doctor works, the student works also, and it is all different. We all have work to do in the service of God. Let us be about our Father’s business.
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). Whether Paul was with them or not he wanted them to keep working on their salvation. Paul also said, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Paul told Titus, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). It seems as though we have some conflicting statements within the Scriptures or our views may not be correct in regards to works. Let us study this subject a little closer then.
Jesus was asked, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:28-29). The context has to do with working. The people (that is some of the people) were following Jesus for what they could get out of it. They were following Him for the food. Jesus tells them, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:26-27). Faith or belief comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). So our faith comes by our listening to and then obedience to what God has said. This takes work. If you have ever studied for a test so that you could pass a course; you know work was involved. Have you ever studied for a test so that you could be a promotion at work? This study was just as hard as working a forty hour week job. This study is not something that stops once we become a Christian. We must keep growing and growing to become more like Christ.
Jesus explains this to His disciples this way, “But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:7-10).
You understand that God has given us a number of commands to obey. Yes, even baptism is a command to be obeyed. “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days” Acts 10:48). Worshipping God in an assembly is also a command that must be obeyed. “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him is spirit and in truth” (John 3:23-24). When we have done all that God has required us to do, it is no big thing. We have only done that which is required of us to do. We have not earned our way to heaven. We are just doing the work that God has given us to do. Let us keep working at our salvation.