“IS BELIEVING A WORK?”
Q: “How can the Bible say one thing in one place then give a different meaning in another?”
A: “It seems that way doesn’t it … but it’s not the
case. It is simply God’s way of confusing and blinding the non-serious Bible
student who will not study to show themselves approved unto God (2Tim 2:15).
Let’s put it this way … imagine that the Bible is a massive Jigsaw Puzzle made up of 773, 692 pieces being all the words contained therein. Everyone piece fits perfectly in its place. Now that’s the Bible. Now Satan tries desperately to convince men otherwise with the very subtlest snare of a perverted or misapplied text.
All heresies are built up this way. God’s verses of truth are to be held and placed into their proper context of the various dispensations. No one text is to be allowed to weaken or defeat another.
Q: Look, I’ll get straight to the point. There are two verses that contradict each other.
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. John 6:29
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
John says we are saved by works but Ephesians says we are not saved by works.
A: First off, a very common error for people in not understanding the Bible is “I’ll tell you what the Bible means before I read what it actually says.”
In this case, it is God’s work … not yours. God did the work in sending Christ to earth.
But let’s just suppose that John’s believing on Jesus is a work. How could this be possible?
It’s all about dispensations. Christ is talking to Israel under the kingdom of heaven dispensation whereby Christ would fulfil the works outlined in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) on Israel’s behalf, while at the same time, they would have to sacrifice blood for the remission of past sins (Romans 3:25). Right here is their work needed to believe on Christ … jumping on their camels and riding up to the temple!
Now Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is written after the cross of Christ, and so we are in a different dispensation … that of the kingdom of God, where, Christ has already fulfilled the law as a sinless man, and in addition, has shed his perfect blood to redeem us, thus paying our sin past, present and future sin debt.
Can you see the difference between the two dispensations? There was works involved when Christ was on earth, that of going up to the temple for blood sacrifice, but there is no more sacrifice for sins now (Hebrews 10:12, 26).
In summary, in John’s gospel, to believe on Christ meant there were works needed for the Jew to be saved, but under Paul’s gospel in the current dispensation there are none … for either Jew or Gentile.
Australian Bible Ministries hope this clears up any confusion.
“What is the gospel?”