Faith Column: We are his workmanship
October 17, 2014
Ephesians 2:10 (NASB), "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."
With what passes for gospel preaching in much of the evangelical community today, Jesus is presented as a way for one to improve their life and to achieve their self centered goals. If you are lonely, Jesus will be your friend. If you are poor, Jesus will make you rich. If you are sick, Jesus will provide healing for you … if you will only but believe. There is very rarely a call to repentance and hardly a mention of the need for a new life in Christ. If one studies and understands God's word then one very quickly is disabused of these myths and understands that we are indeed called to a "new life in Christ." As Ephesians 2:1 rightly points out, our problem and thus the need for a "new life" is not loneliness, our problem is not poverty or ill health; our problem is that we are "dead in" our "trespasses and sins."
The truly and genuinely redeemed believer is going to live a life that is "new" and is far different from the life they previously lived. We are not saved to just occupy a pew when we deem it necessary to attend church (if the Broncos aren't playing). We are not saved to remain exactly the same as we were before, the only difference being our church membership certificate. In Ephesians 2:10 the Apostle Paul reminds us that we are saved and we are saved to serve.
Paul makes several points about the nature of salvation and the resultant service. First of all, at the beginning of verse 10 he points out that "we are His workmanship." Our salvation is not dependent upon us and is in no way our work. We are so lost and so depraved that there was and is absolutely nothing that we can do to earn salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 remind us of this: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."
The second point that Paul makes about our salvation is that we are saved to glorify God. How do we do this? By serving Him which means doing "good works." Paul writes that we are "created in Christ Jesus for good works." Good works cannot produce salvation but they are indeed subsequent and thus are the result of salvation. Good works are the evidence then of a changed life and the fruit of this new life we have in Christ. John 15:8 says, "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples." Titus 2:14 reminds us that Christ gave "Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds."
The final point that is made in this verse is that these "good works" are all part of God's sovereign purpose. Paul writes that these "good works…God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." God is sovereign over all things which includes salvation, and He is sovereign over the good works that we do as a result of salvation. Like our salvation, the believer's sanctification and good works were ordained before time even began.
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In Ephesians 4:1 Paul wrote, "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called." We are to walk in a way that honors and glorifies God, which means that we are to be occupied with things, with deeds or works that honor Him. Far too many of us are content to sit on the sideline and let others do the serving and the working. But as Christ’s followers who are committed to living lives that honor Him, we are to be on the field of battle serving Him in whatever way we can; the most important way being the work of evangelism.
How you live your life speaks to whether or not you are truly saved. Before one is saved they are dead because of their sin. After they are saved they are raised to a "new life" in Christ. Along with this "new life" comes a new way of living; a Christ honoring lifestyle that glorifies God.
In 1 John 5:13 the Apostle John as he is closing his letter to the early church writes, "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." How do we know that we have eternal life? One of the primary ways is that we live a life that is marked by "good works." Our works do not save us but they do reveal the condition of our heart. If you have never repented of your sins and believed in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, I want to encourage you to do that today. If you have questions about what that means, I invite you to call me at 970-824-5222.
Tim Adams is the pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Craig.