Apr 11, 2010

John 6:29 - Israel Atkinson

John 6:29, it may be observed parenthetically, has considerably perplexed some expositors ; but believing here is not connected with salvation at all. Mr. Haldane, speaking on the term, "law of faith," in Rom. iii. 27, says, "The word law is here used in allusion to the law of works, according to a figure usual in the Scriptures. By the same figure Jesus says, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." Here faith is called a work for a similar reason." But this is altogether a mistake; for, in deed, there is no figure at all in either of these texts.

The words law" and "work" in these instances are to be taken in their usual meaning, according to Scripture usage. Law, in the one case, means a principle of government ; and work, in the other, that which earns a reward. Although, it is presumed, Mr. Haldane took it that faith unto salvation is intended here, and that this is a duty, he yet seemed to feel that, spoken of as the work of God, some softening explanation was required, and this he found in a figure of speech. Bengel says of the work of God, "That which is approved by God." Olshausen takes a long step further, but wide of the mark. This expositor says, " With a fine allusion to the ` works' he terms it (faith) the work of God, faith being not only pleasing to God, but also performed by his grace, and thus being a work of God in the soul of man." Gill, who was far enough from making faith unto salvation a duty, falls into a similar mistake. He says, " This as a principle is purely God's work ; as it is an act, or as it is exercised under the influence of divine grace, it is man's act." But surely it will be plain to the most superficial observer that all ideas of what God works, mediately or immediately, must be fetched from afar in expounding this text, and that, when brought, they have in them no affinity whatever with what is here taught. " Works " and " work " are to be taken in their usual and well understood sense in the Scriptures. " That ye believe," here, is, simply a divine command and a human duty, according tot he law of works, neither more nor less. God had sent his Son into the world, and he demanded then, as he demands now, upon sufficient evidence, that men should believe on him. The belief here required, being a human duty, can have no connection with salvation, for this is wholly of God, and so of him that his grace is all in all.

Duty-faith Expositions

Free Grace Expositions