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Thursday, May 5, 2016

'We are God's Workmanship'

Friday, October 26, 2012

Eph. 2:7-10, "In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - 9. Not by works, so that no one can boast. 10. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Too many people think that, once a person has gone through spiritual conversion, there is nothing left for them to do in God's kingdom. Wrong! Conversion from our sinful condition is just the beginning of our life in Christ. Once we are converted by the riches of God's grace, there is an eternal repercussion. A new life begins! We, the converted of God, are re-created for the purpose of being God's craft. We are the clay; He is the Potter. He molds us and makes us after His will and the end product is a vessel that demonstrates His artistry. Christians are God's craft-exhibits.

During this time of year, there are a lot of craft fairs and harvest celebrations. If you ever attend craft fairs, some of the big ones can be pretty impressive. Hundreds of weaves, crafts, carved woods, etc. are on display. Every object represents many hours of work, great creativity, and design. If you've ever made crafts, even small ones, you can see how much work is involved. We are a display of God's creativity and artistry. He has transformed the souls of millions from vessels of wrath into His handiwork - splendid pottery made by the Great Designer.

God has an eternal craft fair. We are His handiwork - the by-product and finished pieces of His artistic genius. The Master Craftsman refines us and molds us. He puts us on the potter's wheel, and it is He who fires the kiln. Since we are passive in this process, there is never again room for salvation by self-improvement. God is the One who is fashioning. Our lives express "the riches of His grace."

This is God's new or second creation. I think it helps to know that each person in Christ - each believer - is one such art product. "For we are His workmanship." The Greek word for workmanship is poiema, from which we derive our English word "poem." It means that each believer in Christ is a poem unto the Lord. Though our sins are manifold, we are beautiful unto the Lord because of "the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus." In other words, our conversion is not the end. It is the beginning! We are a part of God's new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), and God continues to work in us to make us what He wants us to be. His purpose is to make us more like Christ.

Once God has given us new life and salvation (conversion of the soul), we then function as He has created us. That means we live lives in accord with His will and character. According to Ephesians 2:10, we don't do good works to earn salvation, but once we are saved good works follow. That is what we are re-constructed to do. These good works have been pre-prepared for us to do. Yet, we are commanded to walk in them.

Again, the original Greek work teaches us a lot. It is (literally) "pre-prepared". Preparation is to plan ahead of time. So what does it mean to be pre-prepared? It means that God has your life worked out. Long before we were ever created, or here on this earth, God pre-planned in advance what we were to do. He has mapped out a future for our works. He doesn't save us only to throw us aside. We were created to obey Him and serve Him. It is, therefore, our responsibility to do the things of God, to live Godly lives producing the fruit of the Spirit once we've been transformed. This is the destiny of our conversion.

We are removed from the Devil's foundry and forged on the anvil of the Divine craftsman into new persons. As Jesus said in Matthew 5: "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven." View yourself as God's pottery. He owns the clay and whole shop. You praise Him that you're one of His vessels.

God has prepared you - uniquely, I might add - to serve and glorify Him in this world. You are not an accident; nor are your abilities. God has given us unique abilities and callings. And a measure of grace is given, when we recall: that even our good works are pre-fabricated by God. Amen.

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