“Workers Together with Him”

II Corinthians 6:1

A STATE OF idleness anywhere in the great universe of God is contrary to Divine law. Of the Creator Jesus said, “My Father worketh hitherto,” then added, “and I work.” (John 5:17) Everything in nature, animate, and inanimate, has a function. Solomon said to idlers, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” (Prov. 6:6) Yes, the lowly ant works, the bee works—all creation works. Even the individual members of a body—the heart, the lungs, the stomach, the brain, the hands, etc.—they all work. When any member of a body fails to work, it becomes a handicap to the entire body, and affects other members of the body, even to the extent of causing death.

Those who become “new creatures” in Christ Jesus are no exception to this universal law of the Creator. (II Cor. 5:17) There is much said in the Scriptures concerning the work of a Christian. Paul speaks of Christians as being a people “zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14) In one of his parables, Jesus speaks of Christians as servants hired to work in a vineyard. (Matt. 20:1-16) Paul speaks of those “abounding in the work of the Lord,” and assures them that their labor will not be in vain. (I Cor. 15:58) This same apostle also speaks of the “work of faith, and labour of love.” (I Thess. 1:3) James reminds us that “faith, if it hath not works, is dead.” (James 2:17) In Revelation 2:26 a precious promise is given to those who overcome and who keep the Lord’s works unto the end.


The Apostle Paul admonishes us to work out our own salvation, and adds that God is working in us “both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:12,13) Here we have a suggestion of being coworkers with God—that we have a work in cooperation with what he is doing in and for us—‘workers together with him’. Herein is a fundamental difference between the natural functions of everything else in the material universe, and the work assigned to Christians as New Creatures in Christ; for ours is a new work, entirely different from anything else we ever did. It is God’s work, a work in which he has given us the privilege of participating. No wonder the apostle explains that “all things are become new.”—II Cor. 5:17,18

Yes, we are ‘coworkers’ with God. This is a thought that is almost beyond comprehension! We marvel, and properly so, when we think of the high honor that Jehovah bestowed upon his beloved Son, the Logos, (Spokesman for God), when he assigned to him the work of Creation. In this he was a coworker with God, for “without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3) But he was the beloved Son of God, and always his Father’s delight. (Prov. 8:22-31) He was a powerful spirit being, next to the Creator himself. He had ability to do the work of God. With us it is so different, yet the grace of God has made it possible for us also to be coworkers with him. No wonder the apostle admonishes us not to receive this grace “in vain.”—II Cor. 6:1

And what is this work of God in which we have been invited to participate? Jesus explained, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:29) Jesus does not here mean simply to believe that he came as the Christ of God. James declared that faith, or belief, if it has not works is dead. (James 2:17,18) A true belief in Jesus implies obedience to his teachings and a willingness to walk in his steps. True believers are disciples, and Jesus said, “If any man will come after me [be my disciple], let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”—Matt. 16:24


Jesus came to do the work of God. “I must work the works of him that sent me,” he declared. (John 9:4) Fundamentally, what was the work of God which Jesus came into the world to do? Paul answers, saying, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” (II Cor. 5:19) There would have been no occasion for the Logos to come into the world except for the fact that the human race had sinned and was alienated from God. The loving plan that God had made has a provision to redeem and restore as many as would accept his grace; and Jesus came to be the Redeemer, and the one through whom reconciliation would be made.

This, then, is the work of God on behalf of humanity. But can we have a part in that work? Did not Jesus die and ‘pay it all’? Do not the Scriptures speak of the ‘finished work’ of Christ? (Rom. 9:28) It is true that the blood of Christ is sufficient to cleanse from all sin due to Adam’s transgression. He is “the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (I John 2:2) However, to obtain life through Christ it is necessary to believe and to accept the provision of Divine grace that has been made through him; and Paul asks the question, “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?”—Rom. 10:14

The answer to this question is obvious—they cannot. Hence, the apostle explains that our part in the great work of God, that work of reconciling the world through Christ, is in the fact that he has given to us the “ministry of reconciliation,” a ministry that is accomplished through a faithful use of the “word of reconciliation.” (II Cor. 5:18,19) The blood of Christ serves as a satisfaction for the sins of both the church now, and the world in God’s kingdom; and as co-laborers with God in the work of reconciliation our work embraces both periods of time.


We are not to suppose, however, that our responsibilities as coworkers with God are fully discharged simply by ministering the word of salvation to others. In the Divine plan there is a wonderful goal set before us. It is described by Paul as the “prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:14) Again, it is spoken of as a “heavenly calling.” (Heb. 3:1) Much effort is needed in order to attain to this exalted position in the Divine plan, and this is described by the apostle as ‘working out our own salvation’.—Phil. 2:12,13

This is a reference to the “great salvation” which began to be spoken by our Lord, and was, as the apostle says, “confirmed unto us by them that heard him.” (Heb. 2:3) Salvation from Adamic death is made possible through the finished work of Christ on Calvary. But the expression, ‘great salvation’, is descriptive of that high reward of ‘glory and honor, and immortality’ which is promised to the followers of Jesus who strive for it through “patient continuance in well doing.”—Rom. 2:7

Our striving and our working for this great salvation is along the lines set forth in the Scriptures. We must endeavor to emulate Christ in our daily walk in life. We must seek to be kind and patient toward those who oppose us, and strive to put away self that the will of God may rule more supremely in our hearts and lives. We must seek to be filled with the Spirit of God that it may produce in us the fruitage of love in all its various aspects. And in all these efforts, God works with us. He encourages us with his promises, and guides us by his counsel. He warns us against dangers into which we might fall as our Adversary, the Devil, deceitfully sets his traps for us. Thus he works in us to will and to do of his good pleasure.

The matter of working out our own salvation should not be undertaken from a selfish standpoint. We cannot work out ‘our own’ salvation by ignoring the interests of others. The context indicates that this expression is intended merely to emphasize our own personal responsibility before the Lord, and that we cannot expect others to make our calling and election sure for us. It means that we must individually lay hold upon the exceeding great and precious promises of the Lord, and to make personal use of all the means of grace which have been provided in order that we might gain the prize of the high calling. We can assist others, and they can help us, but the final responsibility of being faithful is our own. If we fail to attain that “great salvation,” the fault will be ours, not someone else’s—“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”—Phil. 2:12


Far from being a selfish undertaking, to work out our own salvation properly calls for a life of service to others. There is no surer way of losing the prize of the High Calling than to center attention chiefly upon ourselves. It is only as we forget self and plunge wholeheartedly into the Divinely appointed service to others in the great ministry of reconciliation that we can successfully work out our own salvation.

True, there is to be a work of grace in our own hearts and lives. We are to grow up into Christ in all things. Paul writes, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 2:5) The mind of Christ was unselfish. It led the Master to humble himself and to become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (vs. 8) In this we have a supreme demonstration of Divine love, a love that is willing to sacrifice all that others might be blessed. And this is the mind, the viewpoint, for which we are to strive. It is this willingness to sacrifice our own interests, our time, our comforts, our reputation, our everything, in order that others might come to know the Lord and be drawn closer to him, that will make us “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”—Col. 1:12

If we focus attention merely upon ourselves, thinking thus to grow along spiritual lines, and to become more like Christ, we will be deceiving ourselves, for Jesus did not focus attention upon himself. He was exceedingly careful to do the work of God as it had been outlined for him in the Scriptures, but the work itself was for others, not for himself. And this is the example that we are to follow.

It is true that the present great objective of the Christian is to make his calling and election sure to joint-heirship with Jesus in his kingdom. Our present objective is not to convert the world, but to prove ourselves worthy of “glory and honour and immortality.” (Rom. 2:7) However, this cannot be done by concentrating on self and self-interests. It has been well said that love is the sum of all the Christian graces, and if we are filled with love our constant aim in life will be to bless others. If we can succeed in keeping self in the background, and concentrate our efforts on blessing others by conveying to them the ‘word of reconciliation’ in keeping with the work of God which has been assigned to us, the great prize of the High Calling will be ours.

To put the matter in other words, we might say that one of the best ways to work out our own salvation is to work for the reconciliation of others, to tell them the glorious Gospel of the kingdom and to assure them that if they come to God through Christ in repentance and full devotion to his will, they will have peace with him, and by faith will pass from death unto life. Some seem to have the mistaken thought that in order to serve others, it is necessary to take ‘time off’ from working out their own salvation. This is a serious error. Every time we make known the glad tidings to others, the truth becomes more powerful as a transforming influence in our own lives.


The church at Thessalonica was very zealous in work for the Lord. In the space of the several weeks and months that Paul had preached the Gospel message to them before being driven away by persecution, they began to preach in Macedonia and Achaia in spite of the severe persecution they endured. (I Thess. 1:5-8) Paul mentions this zeal on their part, and that he and Silas and Timothy did not have to preach in these regions because they were so proficient in doing so.

But later there developed an evil among some of them, and some walked in a disorderly manner. (II Thess. 3:1-6) Satan is always on hand to confuse. Some thought that they did not have to work to support themselves, and took advantage of their brethren. Perhaps they may have felt that if they worked together with the Lord, he would provide their needs. Paul had to speak very plainly to these brethren and use his own work for the Lord as an example. He did not expect support from the brethren, but worked “night and day.” (vss. 8,9) There were some that did not work at all, and were busybodies.—vs. 11

Paul had told them before, “If any would not work, neither should he eat.” (vs. 10) To all the other brethren who were faithfully working together with the Lord, he gave these words of encouragement: “Be not weary in well doing.” (vs. 13) Likewise we should strive to do with our might what our hands find to do and not be weary in well doing.

Truly, we have been called with a “High Calling,” and in our partnership with God may we daily endeavor to be faithful as “workers together with him.” It is a costly, but blessed partnership. The joy of the Lord and the peace of God are ours now, and the assurance of the Divine nature and joint-heirship with Christ later; for, if we are faithful in doing these things, an abundant entrance “shall be ministered unto you into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”—II Pet. 1:11

Dawn Bible Students Association
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