“Then said they unto him, 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)
Did you ever get a call like this? An off-duty officer has a man under arrest. You go to the call and find a man with a badge around his neck who has a man in handcuffs sitting on the ground. The off-duty tells you that he stopped him for speeding and smelled marijuana. He took him out of the car, patted him down, and found a gun and a pound of weed. Good arrest, right?
You put the suspect into your car, take the evidence, and ask where the off-duty works. He now admits that he’s not really a cop. He wanted to do something about crime so he got the gear and started looking for criminals. Well, even if he meant well, the “off-duty” had no police power to stop the traffic violator in the first place. So, even if the arrest itself was good, it will be thrown out in court. If the “off-duty” wants to do police work, he needs to first become a cop.
The people talking with Jesus in this passage had a similar issue. They wanted to serve God—their intentions were good. They asked Him, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” Maybe they thought that they needed to do something, like go to the synagogue or give to the poor or read their Bible. No, Jesus told them that if they wanted to do the works of God, they first needed to receive the Lord Jesus as Saviour—to “…believe on him whom he hath sent.”
Many people may consider themselves Christians because they go to a church that believes in the Bible, or they were baptized, or they give to the poor or try to do right morally. All of these are good in their proper place, but doing these things does not make a person a Christian, any more than pulling over traffic violators makes your “off-duty” a police officer.
In order for a person to become a Christian, he needs to be born again. Nicodemus was a very religious man, but he was not born again. Jesus told him, “…Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) No doubt many people are very religious and try to do right and serve God, but they don’t know Jesus as Saviour and are not headed for heaven.
So how does a person become born again? By receiving Jesus as personal as Saviour: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will or man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13) According to this passage, the moment that these people became Christians, born again, was the moment in time when they received Jesus as Saviour. If you are a cop, there was a moment in your life when you raised your hand and took the oath of an officer. Technically, that was the moment you became a cop. Likewise, if you want to be a Christian, there needs to be a moment in your life when you took Jesus as your personal Saviour.
If you want to see how to receive Jesus as your Saviour, please click the “How do I go to Heaven?” link on the sidebar to the right.
Brian Miller 3/2/2015
Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822