We are GOD’s WORKMANSHIP created for GOOD WORKS: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:8-10)
The above passage reflects three fundamental truths that we should always remember about our spiritual new birth in Christ, and our renewed life thereafter:
- We have been saved by grace through faith: The grace of God is the source of our salvation. Faith is the channel through which we are saved by God alone. We cannot earn or work to achieve our salvation, which always arises out of the lovingkindness of God.
- We are saved for good works, not by good works: Our good works having no part in obtaining salvation, which has been obtained through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Our good works should follow, and not precede our salvation.
- We are God’s workmanship to result in producing good works: Like any great “work of art” we are the handiwork of God. A born-again believer is a masterpiece of God, a new creation through union with Christ, for “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). We are God’s work-in-progress; His unfinished works of art, and God is working in us to produce good works. We do not work in order to be saved, but work because we are saved since “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). So, our faith in Christ leads to salvation, which results in good works that will eventually be rewarded by God one day (2 Cor. 5:10).
Just like a master sculptor chisels on a big rock to carve out a beautiful image that He has purposed to create, God removes the unwanted areas of our lives and shapes us to His image and prepares us to do good work in His kingdom. Sometimes, God uses circumstances to bring us to our knees before Him. God also uses the twists and turns of our lives to shape us to be more like Christ. "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:29)
Finally, God wants us to join Him in the work that He is doing in our world. What He requires from us is that we “be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2), “do good” as Jesus did during His earthly ministry (Acts 10:38), “be rich in good works” (1 Tim. 6:18), and also “maintain these good works” (Titus 3:8). Let us be submissive to God’s plan and allow Him to work in us every day of our earthly lives so that we produce the “good works” in our lives that he has “prepared beforehand” for us (v. 10).
"Therefore, my beloved...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." (Phil. 2:12-13)