What Does it Mean That We Are Co-Workers with God?

Being co-workers with God means that we work together as a unit to achieve what God desires and part of that is building the Church. That is why Paul emphasized ministry and sharing the Good News with people.

Christianity.com Contributing Writer
Published Oct 28, 2021
What Does it Mean That We Are Co-Workers with God?

Being co-workers with God is a concept that most Christians tend to misunderstand. In fact, because of this, we tend to elevate pastors and ministers to a God-like manner when they do particularly eventful good deeds.

This should not be the case. After all, all Christians are called to the ministry of the Word of God because all Christians are called to some sort of ministry or service.

Each of us is a minister or servant of Christ. We may not be teaching on the stage but we have a contribution one way or another.

Ministry literally means serving Christ. "Minister" and "ministry" are derived from the Latin minister, which literally means "to serve." In Latin, minister is the same as the Greek diakonos, both originally words for waiters.

Therefore, to be in Christian ministry is to serve others in some way — in any way — for Jesus Christ's name and for the sake and glory of God. Ministry can also be a co-worker with God. What does this mean? Let’s take a look at the New Testament to understand this further.

We Are Co-Workers for God’s Ministry

Paul's two epistles to the church at Corinth speak more often than any other book in the New Testament about Christian ministry.

Since so many members of the church in Corinth challenged Paul's authority and questioned his legitimacy, Paul had so much to say about ministry, particularly his own ministry as an apostle.

He wrote so much about this subject to the Corinthians because he had so many problems with them. They divided along the lines of loyalty to their favorite Christian preachers, because like all ancient Greeks they admired an eloquent orator such as Apollos.

The Apostle Paul explains early on in First Corinthians how their relationship with the Lord is truly different from his own and Apollos'. Leaders of the church weren't political partisans who tried to bully their opponents as though it were a political institution.

In the Christian ministry, a group doesn't succeed by beating every rival. As Paul said, the church represents a field of many workers cooperating to reap a harvest. Churches are a lot like buildings, where the walls are raised together by co-workers.

To make his point, the Apostle Paul frequently employed vivid metaphors. The church is compared to a field and a building: "You are God's field, God's building" (1 Corinthians 3:9). And if we are God's field, then our job must be to grow, not to quarrel with each other.

Therefore, being co-workers with God means that we work together as a unit to achieve what God desires and part of that is building the Church. That is why Paul emphasized ministry and sharing the Good News with people.

We Are Co-Workers for God’s Creations

Paul’s passage also contains another beautiful image, one which not only depicts Paul's ministry as an apostle but also describes the Christian life. The apostle says we are God's fellow workers. That's what Paul calls us as ministers in 1 Corinthians 3:9: we are God's workers, God's partners, God's synergists.

God created us in order to give us dignity and purpose by allowing us to share in his work, which includes governing the world. God expects us to take care of the earth as our first parents did. According to Micah 6:8, he also requires us to "do justice and love mercy."

All people are created in God's image and are therefore responsible for caring for the world around them. The scriptures should especially motivate Christians.

We need to love and maintain the earth because it is God's very good creation and because we should provide for the most vulnerable people on earth.

This has not been done very well. In our day-to-day choices and attitudes, we are often influenced by what is fashionable or what is culturally acceptable. There is no doubt that human activity has caused effects such as species extinction and climate change.

We need to grieve and repent, but we shouldn't despair if we are following Jesus. It is possible to hope rationally, accept the enormity of challenges we face, and take action with the hope the gospel offers.

We Are Co-Workers for God’s Promise

God enlists us as co-workers in his great work of salvation. Ephesians 2:8-10 makes it clear that only God can ultimately save anyone. Even so, we have a real role to play in God's saving work.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:8-10).

According to Philippians 2:12-13, Paul advised them to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."

Growth in our spiritual life involves both human and divine forces. If we are to bear fruit, then we need the help of the Holy Spirit just as Christ is the vine in which we must abide to bear fruit.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:4-5).

It's up to us to grow in Christlikeness, practice obedience, and cultivate spiritual disciplines. Those are the steps to becoming saved.

It is also our responsibility to bring that salvation to others. Through the ministry of the gospel, God enlists our help in saving and building up people around the world. In a later letter to the Corinthians, Paul emphasizes working in unity with God (2 Corinthians 6:1).

What Does Being a Co-Worker with God Mean?

Being a co-worker with God does not mean that God needs laborers for Him to do His work. After all, He created everything by Himself. Instead, it means that we are co-workers in governing the world that He created.

It means that we have the responsibility to take care of what God has given us, which is literally everything. It also means that we have the responsibility to be the ministry of Christ, which was given to us as a responsibility.

We should share the Good News with the world through our ministry. It does not mean that we should all stand in the pulpit and preach. After all, we have different gifts. It means we become active in the sharing of the Word to others especially those who have not heard the Word.

Lastly, we should be co-workers for our salvation. Jesus has already given us Salvation, but we have to work for it in order to obtain our place in heaven. This is a work in progress that we should always remember.

For further reading:

What Does the Bible Say about Working Hard?

Is it True That God ‘Works Behind the Scenes’?

What Does it Mean That We Are God’s Workmanship?

Why Should We Work with All Our Hearts?

What Does it Mean That 'All Things Work Together for Good'?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/nd3000

Glory Dy has been a content creator for more than 10 years. She lives in a quiet suburb with her family and four cats.


Christianity / Theology / God / What Does it Mean That We Are Co-Workers with God?