For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
I’m fascinated by fine craftsmanship. A trip to a museum, old home, or an antique store reveals work that is clever, meticulous, and imaginative. It’s truly amazing what artisans of the past created with simple hand tools. Their work speaks volumes about the passion, care, and love that went into their craft.
Many of these craftsmen learned their craft as apprentices under the tutelage of a master, which brings me to our focus text. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works…” The supreme Master craftsman who performed a good work in us — created us to do good works.
Before God’s work through Christ, we were incapable of good works that measured up to the Master’s criteria. In Ephesians 2:1-2, Paul explains: “…you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”
The master craftsman takes something that is useless and ugly and turns it into something valuable and beautiful. A lump of clay or discarded piece of wood becomes a work of art. God takes people like you and me — who are like decayed driftwood buried in the silt of a riverbed. He cleans us up and re-creates us as good and useful beings for His good purposes.
Good works then are godly and righteous conduct that were impossible prior to receiving Christ. They are acts of kindness, grace, generosity, and love exhibited toward others. And good works are those deeds you perform to advance the purposes of Christ in this world.
It is important to understand that good works don’t save us. As we have already seen, before our redemption through Christ, we were unable to accomplish good in the eyes of God because we were dead in our trespasses and sin. Paul emphasizes this point in Ephesians 2:8-9.
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.
You can’t work your way into heaven. You can’t earn it, and you don’t deserve it. Everlasting life is a gift from God that is not based on your merit, but the merit of Christ.
Good works then don’t gain salvation but give evidence of it. “Faith without deeds (works) is dead.” (James 2:26) And these works are not for your glory, but the glory of God.
During a low time in our lives, Janet and I drove a clunker of an automobile. In fact, even calling it an automobile is a stretch. It smoked, growled, and was seldom reliable. And going up hills? Forget-about-it. The only time it served us well was when we were coasting downhill. Ultimately, God provided us with better transportation. What a thrill to have power to climb hills we previously avoided.
Life without Christ is like that old car. It only performs well going downhill. It can never be counted on to take you where you need to go.
God’s new work in you gives you the power to do the good that needs to be done. You’re no longer coasting aimlessly, but now you can tackle the multiple challenges of life without caving to the evil world system. You have the power for good works that are fueled by faith.
You are capable of good works because of what God has done in you. And you do good works to honor God and to give evidence of your faith.
What good works will you do for the Lord today?
For more on this topic, check out this article: Your Labor for the Lord Matters
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.