The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

November 3, 2012

INSTANT MESSAGE: The Work that God Requires

By CRAIG HARRIS
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — John 6: 27-29 (NIV): Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." 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."

To me, this is such an important passage because it shows us what God requires of us to achieve eternal life.

The Old Testament had spoken of living a long, good life, but this was something new and radical: the idea that a person could live forever. No one had ever made such a promise. No one had ever said we had the option of living eternally. Then Jesus came along and offered just that.

Naturally, people wanted to know what they had to do to get in on this eternal life. This would have to be the most expensive item ever purchased. It must be so expensive that few could afford it. But it would be worth any cost to get. Nothing could ever compare to such a gift.

The people's question was simple and legitimate: okay, what must we do to get this? What work must we do to earn a spot in eternity? Everything in our nature tells us we must earn something like this. And it must be hard to get.

Jesus’ answer was every bit as radical as the concept itself: "believe in me." He said you can't earn eternity by any works other than that one thing — believe in the one God sent. In other words, believe that Jesus is the Messiah. There is no other way to heaven. Jesus was soon to pay for eternity with his own broken body and spilled blood. Only Jesus could pay for something so expensive and that is exactly what he did. But we must believe that. We must trust in him for our salvation and not try to earn it ourselves.

Yes, our salvation has already been paid for, but there is one thing we must do to receive it, we must believe in Jesus. A simple concept, yet Jesus said himself that few would do so.

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Craig Harris is the pastor at Brushy Creek United Methodist Church in Brushy Creek and Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church in Pert. Sunday services are at 9:30 at Brushy Creek and 11 a.m. at Pert.  See more of his columns at www.instantmessagelive.com.