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Works of God
WORKS OF GOD. “The works of God” or “...of Jesus” is a common phrase in the Bible denoting both the things made by Him and also the acts done by Him. Words particularly used in this connection are ἔργον, G2240, “work”; μεγαλει̂α, “mighty acts”; μεγάλα, “great things”; ποίημα, G4473, “workmanship”; and ἐνέργεια, G1918, “working.”
The divine works.
With its strong doctrine of creation the Bible naturally uses ergon to describe the totality of God’s creative work. It does this in an active sense for the actual work of God, e.g.
The passive is more common and much clearer in the pl. with reference to the individual phenomena of nature. The heavens are the works of God’s fingers (
The OT speaks also of God’s acts in history. These are in the first instance acts of deliverance. The events of the Exodus are the basic works of God for Israel. These works are often miracles; i.e. mighty acts transcending the normal course of history. Nor do the works cease with the entry into Canaan. The basic acts of redemption are a constant guarantee of new works of God. One finds these in, e.g., the deliverance from the Assyrians or the restoration from exile.
If God’s works are predominantly works of deliverance, they have a reverse side. The deliverance of the Israelites at the Red Sea meant the overthrow of the Egyptians. The people delivered by the judges were also delivered up to their enemies when they sinned. The prophets in particular proclaim works of judgment on a rebellious and obdurate people (
The human response.
God’s works demand responsive action on the part of man. First, man is to consider these works. Various words are used in this regard. He is not to forget the great things that God has done (
Thanksgiving and praise.
Finally, man is to declare God’s mighty works. He teaches them to his children (
What the NT has to say about God’s works is essentially the same as that which is found in the OT. The new thing is that the works now bear a common reference to. It is by Him that they are done. The works of God are thus in a very real sense the works of Jesus. works in and through the Son.
This may be seen already in creation. All things were created by Christ (
The main emphasis in the NT, however, is on the saving works of God performed in Jesus Christ. Rather oddly, there is little reference to these in the synoptists, who simply record the works with their culmination in the crucifixion and resurrection. The acts are their own witnesses. Only in relation to the Baptist’s question is there mention of the works of Christ (
In the primitive preaching of Acts, however, the picture changes. Empowered by the Spirit, the apostles declare the wonderful works of God (
Paul, too, emphasizes the work of God. Unlike John, however, he is primarily concerned with this work as the present ministry of the word. The Corinthians are his work in the Lord (
G. E. Wright, God Who Acts (1952); G. Bertram, TDNT, II (ET, 1964), 635-643.