Formations 01.10.2020: We Are God’s Workmanship

Ephesians 2:1-10

I grew up on Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” It’s a biblical truth I still need to remember from time to time. There’s nothing I could do that would make God love me any more than God already does. There’s nothing I could do to earn that love…or lose it.

Whenever I’m tempted to pat myself on the back for doing the right things, giving up the right things, believing the right things, these verses remind me of how utterly lost I would be apart from God’s amazing grace.

This entire passage calls on readers to recall how God has rescued us from “trespasses and sins” (v. 1) and made us alive with Christ. The author drives home that this is all grace.

But why has God done all this? So that we can congratulate ourselves on our spiritual acumen? So that we can look down on those who are still “following the desires of flesh and senses” (v. 3)? Of course not. God saves us for a purpose, and if we don’t keep reading till verse 10, we miss it completely. We are God’s “workmanship” (to quote the KJV), created for good works which are to be our way of life.

Whenever I’m tempted to look the other way when others need my help, to keep quiet rather than speak an uncomfortable truth, to stay in my comfort zone, these verses remind me that God’s grace is meant to serve God’s purpose—not mine.

Near the beginning of the new year, perhaps we can take this one step further: by God’s grace, you and I have a purpose in the first place. There is something we are called to do.

But let’s not leave this in the abstract. It’s not just that, in the grand scheme of life, there is something we are called to do. I’m talking about today. Today, there is something we are called to do: a word to speak, a hug to offer, a thankless job to perform without complaint.

That’s what God has saved us for.

Discussion

  • What language do you (or does your faith community) use to describe the transformation that God’s grace brings? How and when does this transformation occur?
  • What difference does this transformation make in a believer’s everyday life?
  • The author declares that we were created to lead a life of good works. How does this assertion color our understanding of what it means to be “saved”?

Darrell Pursiful is the editor of Formations. He is an adjunct professor at Mercer University and an active member of the First Baptist Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia.

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