12 Basic Principles for Faith and Work

Dan Doriani | August 15, 2017

There’s a tendency, even among faithful teachers, to lapse into what we might call “Nike Christianity.” Despairing over laxity, antinomianism, and a resistance to Scripture’s ethical teachings, we want to shout simple commands divorced from any motivations, “Obey! Pray, worship, witness, be holy because God says so, and I say so. Just do it.” 

But we know better. We know to ground imperatives in God’s gracious redemptive work and promises. This truth has vast implications for our callings. Indeed, a fully God-centered theology of work is Trinitarian.

Humanity longs to be creative and to sustain what is good because the Father created us in his image. The Spirit also works in us, recreating us in Jesus’s image (Rom. 8:29). That means we are Christomorphic—formed by Christ as we become more like him.

We can, therefore, consider the work of the Son and ask how we might imitate it—not by atoning for sin, but by working with our hands. Like Jesus, we can long to complete grand tasks and love demanding projects enough to say, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34). Jesus knew how to stop working so he could do something else (Matt. 14:22), but he also had that passion for…

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