For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
In the previous verse, Paul stated unequivocally that we are not saved by good deeds, but now he tells us that we are saved for good deeds. Salvation comes first, then the good deeds, God’s deeds.
There is a certain strand of Christianity that constantly emphasises the sinfulness of people, even those who are born again. It is important that we recognise that even as followers of Jesus we can sin. The problem comes when we start to take on board the message that we are not good enough, that we will never make it.
Here is the amazingly good news. We are God's workmanship. Literally the Greek term means a masterpiece. The word is poiema from which we get the word poem.
Before we were saved we were created in God’s image. We were knitted together inside our respective mothers. We are, just in terms of our physical construction, an amazing creation. Then add in our awesome mental capabilities and our ability to make wise decisions and our moral judgement- you are a work of art! Sin messed things up, like oil poured over a Rembrandt. But God has now cleaned that up and restored us to the original state.
Even better than that, God has restored you into a pre- sin state and marked you with His Holy Spirit. What an amazing work of art!
People speak of their awe at seeing the Sistine Chapel with all its art surrounding on every side. As a redeemed child of God, you are a work of art, a masterpiece of Gods creation.
We are Gods masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus. Being born again means that we are created anew. The part of us that was dead has come to life. the part of us that was stained by sin has been recreated. The overwhelming, never-failing grace of God, passed on by Jesus makes us a new creation.
We get to have a new start, a purpose in living that should galvanise us and put a spring in our step every day.
We are created in Christ for the good works that God has prepared for us.
it's not about “pie in the sky when you die.” It’s not about basking in the glory until we are promoted to Heaven.
No, we have been born again for God’s good works. We are God’s workmanship created to do his work.
We are not created to do good works generally, although there is no harm in that. God has created us in Christ for His good works. We are created for a mission, for God's mission.
Some people are activists who will support any cause that they think is a good thing. They run themselves ragged doing good works, but they may not be doing God’s good works.
Each disciple needs to ask God, “What is my purpose in being created and recreated in Christ?” He has a specific purpose for us. Everything else is just punching at the air .
Each of us has been created for good works that were prepared for us long ago. Before we were born, God had a plan of what He was wanting us to do. He moulded us and shaped us for these deeds.
We often get this the wrong way round. We think that there are things we can do, missions or community work that is already there. We were not created to fill a gap. There are deeds created for us to do, prepared before the beginning of time. Our job is to find these deeds, not volunteer to do good things.
God’s pre-prepared deeds give our life purpose. We must not get distracted by everybody else’s life purpose and so miss out on the thing God has prepared for us to do.
The idea of walking in these deeds suggests a long-term commitment. Each of us has a vocation or calling that determines our reason for being. When we find that vocation, we cannot do anything other than walk in it or stick with it.
Each of us has a different vocation. That is why the church is called a body. When everyone uses their spiritual gifts and their natural talents to fulfil the good deeds that God has created for them to do, then the church explodes with energy and vitality. Every member of the church is working together in their own mission in order to collectively fulfil the mission of the church.
Key points in this verse:
You are God’s masterpiece
We are saved for good deeds and not by good deeds
God has prepared a mission for each one of us
We are most fulfilled when we are walking in the mission God has called us to
When every believer walks in their calling together, the mission of the church becomes highly effective