Our little Katherine was born with a sweet, compliant, and cheerful disposition and she has grown into a very patient, kind, and gentle 12 year old. Ironically she is also totally fascinated with all things spooky, like creepy mysteries and ghost stories. Not much scares her, which is why the beginning of Eph. 2 is right up her alley. Paul begins by teaching us that we are born spiritual zombies! That’s right, the living dead (Eph. 2:1).
We Are Created For Good Works
This dark reality is true of us all. But God is a God who revives skeletons (Ezekiel 37), brings the dead out of their tombs (Jn. 11), and breaths new life into the spiritually lifeless. It is God who gives new hearts and new spirits (Ezekiel 36 ).
So, when Paul says, “we are His workmanship” (Eph. 2:10) he is pointing to this new life in Jesus. F.F. Bruce says God has taken something that was spiritually dead and ugly and turned it into “a work of art, a masterpiece,” beautiful and precious in the eyes of God. That is what we are, a beautiful masterpiece. This is the reason why we have nothing to boast in, except our Redeemer himself (Eph. 2:9).
The question I have to ask myself often, is for what purpose did God rescue and remake me?
My kids can't wait to get to heaven. They have this idea that when they get there they can pick any animal God ever created as their pet. But “going to heaven” is only one of many reasons He saves us. God redeems us for His glory, to show His grace, His generosity, His love, and here in Ephesians 2:10 Paul tells us we have been saved for good works (Eph.2:10).
Jesus hasn’t rescued us from hell and helplessness for us to be idle and fruitless. Titus 2:14 tell us that Jesus died for us so that we would be zealous for good works. He wants us to be enthusiastic, passionate and even intense about doing good.
Good Works Are Created For Us
Simply defined good works are those things God commands us to do in faith for His glory. So what high and lofty missions does God have planned for me?
It might not be what you have in mind. I was chiseling gum off my couch last week and then spent some time scraping unidentifiable gook off my floor when it occurred to me that this is the good work that God has prepared for me to do. Jesus died for me to do this.
Say what?!! What about bringing meals to new moms, or packing everything up and moving to unknown parts of the world to share Christ with people who have never heard? What about leading Bible studies or adopting orphans and caring for the elderly? Aren’t those “good works?” Yes, absolutely, those are great things that God has planned for some of us, but so is vacuuming up piles of cheerios from the car, ironing shirts, cooking meals for picky eaters, pulling weeds, organizing our home, scraping dried toothpaste off of bathroom mirrors, disciplining children, and going on dates with our husbands - all with an eye towards God’s glory (1 Cor. 10:31). God commands us to be faithful and fruitful wherever He has called us.
I realize that good works are something we should do with a cheerful heart, but I often fail. Do you? What are we missing? I think it comes down to the fact that we do not believe or see that even these tasks have been ordained by God for our good.
We tend to lose sight of the fact that the mundane things we do are made holy, just as holy as translating the Bible into another language, because they have been assigned by a wise King who knows better than us how we can glorify Him, and how we can be changed into the image of Christ. Theses are not just any old works, these are works that God custom made for you and me.
And God calls us to walk in them (Eph 2:10). To live them out. We think that we deviate off the path God has for us if we commit adultery, or gossip, or some other really “evil” thing, but we also deviate off the path when we ignore the works that God has placed before us this very day.
Therefore, the challenge before us is to recognize that both the big and the small tasks in our lives have been prepared for us by God. Christ died so that we might walk in good works. Do not cast them aside! For in them we will grow in the knowledge of God, and Christlikeness.