Shedd understands the crowd to be inquiring of Jesus about “those more special and important acts by which the creature might secure the Divine approval and favor,” as if there are those certain acts that, by their super spiritual nature, will endear us to God. Someone recently sent me a photo of an empty room with a garbage can over in the corner. An arrow pointed to the garbage can with the meme “My Good Works.” Pretty much nails it, doesn’t it? There are no “special, super spiritual acts” of our own by which we can be put into a good position vis-à-vis God. What, then? Shedd: Jesus, “in His reply tells them that the great and only work for them to do was to exercise faith in Him.”
So simple and, yet, so difficult for them. We can understand why so many reject the gospel offer so quickly with, “Surely, it cannot be merely faith that saves me.” Of course, it’s not just faith in anyone or anything but in Jesus Christ and his saving work on the cross.
And so ends the collection of Shedd’s sermons with the one instruction to all: “Is the question . . . pressing upon your mind? Do you ask, ‘What one particular single thing shall I do that I may be safe for time and eternity?’ Hear the answer of the Son of God Himself: ‘This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him who He hath sent.’” Believe and be saved! That’s good news!
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand:
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand. -- Edward Mote (1834)