During Fall 2017, I taught Calvary Monterey the book of Ephesians. During the series, I also wrote about Ephesians in sixty-plus short, devotionally styled posts. Each Thursday, through 2018, I will release a post. I hope you enjoy. For the entire series, please visit nateholdridge.com/united-for-unity-posts.
“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).
Paul has taught us what we were in our past life, along with what God has done to give us new life (Ephesians 2:1-9). Next, he shows us what we now are. Why have we been united so powerfully to God in Christ? What has God remade us to be? Paul says, “We are His workmanship.” We are not our own workmanship, but God's, for He has made us. All the credit and honor are His, and His alone. But what did God remake us to be? Paul says we have been created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Paul was personally connected to this concept, for his life in Christ was immediately set apart for good works. Three days into his new life in Christ, Paul was told he would be an evangelist to the nations, kings, and Israel (Acts 9:15-16). He embraced that good work God had prepared beforehand for him to walk in. His entire life was a story of Ephesians 2:10, for he saw himself as created by God in Christ for specific good works. He spent his life discovering and walking in them.
That good works naturally flow from legitimate saving faith is a constant New Testament principle. Faith is compared to a seed, and seeds produce fruit (1 Peter 1:23). Faith introduces us to a new nature, and a new nature produces a new life (2 Corinthians 5:17). Through faith God causes us to be born again, and a new birth suggests future growth and maturity (John 3:3, 7). Saving faith is trust, which would seem to lead to more trust in the God we’ve previously trusted. Faith involves an element of repentance, so it makes sense we would turn from that of which we’ve repented. True faith includes love for God; obedience flows from love (Matthew 22:37). We can conclude that faith and works are connected in the Bible for a reason — good works naturally flow from legitimate saving faith (James 2:14, 17).
So there is work for the believer to walk out today. We aren’t to spend our years on earth wishfully thinking about tomorrow, but never working today. We are called to a life of toil for the cause of Christ, to take up our crosses and follow after Him. The world is lost, lives are broken, and we have been remade by God as the body of Christ to walk out good works He has set aside for us.
The Christian life aims to walk in the works God has prepared beforehand. God has a plan for our lives. Our gifts and prayers and passions are designed to propel us forward in the mission of God. We aren’t called to a life of nothingness, but purpose.
Take Job’s life as illustrative of the story of humanity. Like Job, humanity started out beautifully, but disaster followed, running from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head of all of humanity. Job’s suffering is emblematic the world, lost and broken, under the corruption of the curse brought on by sin. But, after conversation with God, Job’s life was redeemed. The end was better than the beginning. The past was painful, but the future was bright.
Job's is the story of humanity. We were dead, but believers are now seated with Christ’s exalted position and God’s workers here on earth. The end is truly better than the beginning. What humankind can become by the grace of God is astounding.