For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
In examining grace and good works, we are again seeing that God’s grace is not only His willingness to forgive us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but it is also His resource for shaping and usingour lives as believers.
God desires that we become amply engaged in good works, to glorify His name in the edifying of His people and the reaching of the lost. Although we are not saved by good works (“not of works, lest anyone should boast”–Ephesians 2:9), we are saved unto good works (“created in Christ Jesus for good works“).
Our hope of abounding in good works rests upon the graciousworking of God on our behalf. First, He remakes us through new birth in His Son: “created in Christ Jesus.” Then, He continues to work on us. We do not shape ourselves into an instrument that the Lord can use. God willingly takes that responsibility upon Himself. “For we are His workmanship.” God wants to shape our lives like a work of art, thoroughly crafting us in relationship to His purposes for each of our lives.
God’s gracious work extends beyond new birth and subsequent fashioning. He even prepares the good works in which He wants us eventually to be engaged: “Created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand.” Think of it. The Lord has already arranged the acts of service in which He intends for us to be occupied! Then, why are we not always involved in such good works? The answer is related to this phrase: “that we should walk in them.”We do have a strategic responsibility in this process. We are to humbly and dependently walk with the Lord Jesus every day.
Jesus addressed this matter. “Then they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Himwhom He sent'” (John 6:28-29). Exercising faith in the Lord is what brings us into the workings of God for our lives. This involves believing in His plan, as revealed in His word. This includes trusting that His will is best for us. This comprises walking in reliance upon Him, allowing Him to guide us each day into the appropriate good works. Such a response brings service empowered by grace, as seen in the early church. “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33).
Creator of heaven and earth, I thank You for creating me anew in Christ Jesus. I praise You for Your ongoing work in me. Please shape me into an instrument You can use. Lord, forgive me when I am irresponsible through self-will or self-sufficiency. Lord, I want to humbly and dependently follow You each day, in the light of Your word, Amen.