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.
[Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV]
Created for good works ...
The subject of our being ‘created ... for good works’ has caused great theological debate over the centuries, with our good works often taken as our purpose; but Paul makes it plain that we are His workmanship, and that the good works we are to walk in are His workmanship also.
Our purpose is to live as the joy of His creation, looking to Him as the author and finisher of our faith, and growing in our relationship with Him, to express inwardly and outwardly His perfect nature. It sounds great — and indeed it is — but, as we know, it is far from the easiest thing for us. We are flighty and our focus so easily alights on pretty distractions that are put in our paths.
But that not of yourselves ...
It is important to remember that we were chosen before the beginning of the world. This is not that we should say “It’s not my fault, Lord. You chose me!” In a sense, we would be justified in thinking this only if we weren’t chosen by Him in the first place. Ultimately, we are not our own; we are His. We have each been bought at a price ... and such a price too!
And you He made alive, who were dead ...
... and He does it still. It is both a completed work and an unfinished ever-creative one. That is the beauty — and the mystery — of God’s workmanship. His is the finished work, our part is to see His growing unfinished work in us.
If there is to be another revival, it will be through the readjustment of those of us on the inside who call ourselves Christians.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART
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