Summary: God created us with responsibilities. We are responsible to work and earn the bread that we eat.
I AM CREATED TO WORK
We are told in the Scriptures that we cannot work to earn our salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. We cannot do enough works to earn God’s favor or to repay our sins. Salvation comes by grace through faith alone! We must trust in what Jesus did for us on the cross. He offers salvation for all who believe and make Him their Lord.
Salvation gives us a new nature. It is through our new nature that we have works to do. Works do not save us but they are the evidence that we are saved! Our faith is made complete by what we do after salvation. The Bible speaks about Abraham in James 2:22-24 (NIV) 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. 24 The Bible makes it clear that a person is made complete by what he does.
If we performed works to earn our salvation, we would fall terribly short of the standard, which is holiness. It is when we understand that we are saved, forgiven, and loved by God that we produce “good works” because of Christ in us. Through faith we allow Christ to work through us. God enlightens and empowers us to: deny ourselves, pick up our cross, crucify the flesh, and live by the Spirit.
The verse that follows the scripture that says we are saved by grace through faith alone is Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
The Bible also warns us that we will be judged based on our works. Revelation 22:12 (NIV) 12 "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
We have no excuse not to fulfill the works that God has prepared in advance for us to do. He has given us all that we need to accomplish the tasks that He has for us to do. You will not be able to say on the Day of Judgment, “I didn’t know what you wanted me to do.” You won’t be able to say, “I wasn’t given the right “tools” to complete the task." God’s Word and the Holy Spirit are the right tools.
Philippians 2:12-13 (NIV) 12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
So how do I know what works I am to accomplish? 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. If we fail to know the Scriptures and apply them to our lives, we will fail to fulfill the good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do.
WORKING IS GOD’S INTENTION FOR MAN
From the very beginning of man, it was God’s intention that we should work. Genesis 2:15 (NIV)
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
We are the stewards of God’s creation. We have responsibilities to fulfill for God. The day is coming when we will be judged on how we have worked for God.
When Adam and Eve sinned, the responsibility to work did not change. The work became harder, however, because of their sin. Genesis 3:23 (NIV) 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After the fall of man, the ground became cursed. Our toil in working the ground would now produce sweat. Genesis 3:17-19 (NIV) 17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."