Sunday – November 27, 2016
Read: Ephesians 2:8-10
Focus: vs. 10
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
I enjoy working with my hands. I’ve put together a workshop in the garage and I’ve gathered a few benches and tools so that I can relax and work on projects. I don’t want to brag or anything but I once took an old pallet and, when I got done with it, you could no longer recognize it as a pallet. In fact, I’m still trying to figure out what it is.
Our passage for today comes from Ephesians 2:8-10. These are really well-known verses because verses 8-9 establish that our salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus. Then verse 10 comes along and, if you’re like me, maybe you don’t pay as much attention to what comes after the big verses. This one is really important and chock full of great information.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.” Workmanship – I like that idea. That is what I’m aiming for when I go to my workshop – workmanship. It speaks of God’s intentions and personal attention to detail when it comes to my life. The implication here is that there such a change that happens in our hearts upon salvation that we are new creations in Christ. This is intentional and intensely personal on the part of God. He reaches into our souls and expends power to effect a change so dramatic that it can only be referred to as an act of creation.
I have several projects in my workshop that are slowly working towards a new purpose. Right now I’m working on an old cedar chest and I’ve already spent many painstaking hours of sanding and repairing to get it to the point where it’s ready to choose some new hardware to dress it up just right (meaning: to my wife’s desire and expectation). I can see it in my mind and it feels like I am re-creating and re-purposing something had reached the end of its usefulness. When I’m done with it, I’m sure it will look just exactly like a beautiful cedar pallet.
Well, that’s about the extent of my workmanship but God’s workmanship is extraordinary. When He gets my life into his workshop something amazing can happen. He can take this useless old pallet and give it a new life and a new purpose. God’s act of creating us anew has the effect of leading us to holiness. The outpouring of that holiness is good works. It is meant to be natural to our being now. It is how our internal holiness shows up in the world. We do good works because that’s what living for (and in) Jesus does to a person.
We are newly-created human beings with a divine purpose built into us: to be like Jesus and do good in the world. When Jesus changes you, when he gets you into his workshop, he reorients your life towards his will and his desires. He gives you his love to love the world with; he gives you his eyes to the see the world with; he gives you his ears to hear the world with; and he gives you his hands to touch the world with. We are new creations in Christ – made to love the world like he does. We are made to live it – made to walk the walk of Jesus on earth.
What all this means is that you and I are called to serve one another. We are created anew with a new purpose in life. This new purpose flows from the changes God is making inside of us. Good works should be as natural as the sun and the wind. That’s what holiness looks like on the outside and this Christmas season is a great time to give it to the world around us.
Your church will be offering many opportunities for you to give and to serve during the next few weeks leading up to Christmas. I hope you can find several service projects to take part in. I also hope that good works will become, if it isn’t already, a natural part of your life. It should be just like breathing. I hope that you will always have an eye or an ear open for an opportunity to help others. We are God’s workmanship – made to live out our faith in the world.