“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
“NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” For we are God’s workmanship! The wonder of the workmanship, therefore, is something for which God is to be praised. He accomplished it, not we.
All creatures are God’s workmanship, for he is the one Creator. The universe did not produce itself. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. All things were made through the Word; and “without rum was not anything made that hath been made” (John 1:3). God not only made what is, he planned it as it is. The material creation is the thought of God made palpable to us. So writes Edmund Spenser:
What time the world’s great Workmaster did cast
To make all things such as we now behold,
It seems that he before his eyes had placed
A goodly pattern, to whose perfect mould
He fashioned them as comely as he could.
God also has a workmanship of grace. Believers are his new creatures in Christ Jesus. The Greek word translated “workmanship” literally reads “poem.” Christians are God’s poems. In Paradise man was a perfect poem. The divine artistry had produced a work of beauty. Every line answered God’s purpose. Every expression harmonized with God’s will. Alas, there occurred a marring of those beautifuliness. The harmony was gone, and God was grieved. But he was not frustrated. The marred workmanship was re-made—a work of grace in Christ Jesus. Do we see the full beauty of this restoration in this sinful world? No, but we shall see it one day. “Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is” (I John 3:2).
Created in Christ Jesus. He is the environment, the atmosphere of that divine working. Even as we were chosen in rum, so is our nature reconstituted in him. “Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold they are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17).
Created for good works. Not of works, or by works, or because of works, but for works. And they are good works—works which the divine Worker regards as good, works that serve his purpose, which is the glory of his name. These works result from the operation of grace. They are the fruits of that new nature given us in Christ. By first making the tree good he makes the fruit good. Hence, the good fruit proves that the tree has been changed. Good works are the proof that grace has operated and that a new man has been created in righteousness and true holiness (cf. Ephesians 4: 24).
These good works Originate with God—“God afore prepared,” says Paul. That a Christian should do good works is not optional with rum. How can it be when “God afore prepared” them? The way of obedience was in the divine determination from eternity. That we should walk in that way has been settled by God. We are elect unto obedience as we are elect unto salvation.
All is of God in salvation and sanctification! We love him only because he first loved us. Do we have holy aspirations? They are of him. Do we long to be like our Lord? That longing is of rum. Do we speak the language of edifying Christian exhortation to a fellow sinner? Let us not commend ourselves. It is God’s Spirit that blesses us with the glow of devotion and endues us with courage boldly to speak of Christ or to promote his cause in the world. Even in prayer we need him, “for we know not how to pray as we ought” (Romans 8:26).
With mercy and with judgment
My web of time he wove,
And aye the dews of sorrow
Were lustered by his love;
I’ll bless the hand that guided,
I’ll bless the heart that planned,
When throned where glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.
Father in heaven, thy will be done. Work in us and through us thy loving and wise purpose. Take the clay, and form it as thou wilt. Cause us to look to thee for everything, and to rest in ourselves for nothing. Amen.