We Are His Workmanship
"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them". Ephesians 2:4-10
The rich mercy and the great love of God rescued us from the death of our trespasses and sins, and in that rescue, made us alive with Christ, by raising us up together with Him. The resurrection of Jesus was not just for Him alone, but God raised us up in Him at the same time by grace, not by any good work or deed of righteousness that we had done. He raised us up while we were sinners headed for the death of eternal damnation and suffering for our sins. This is our present reality in truth, regardless of the transitory circumstances in which we might find ourselves from time to time. We are alive in Christ because God raised us up to life in His resurrection.
Think of it!!! This is not just beautiful poetry. This is a profound truth of life that we, In Christ, have been set free for all eternity to live in boundless, joy and peace with God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, whose love for us is greater than any love we can know in human relationships alone. We most definitely need the love of one another in Christ, because we are all part of one body, His Body. But the love that binds us together is His Love working in us. In His great love we find our meaning, our worth, our purpose and our destiny.
God has clothed us in the glory of His presence. Now, by His presence with us and in us by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are being transformed into His likeness.
This is the treasure that salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ has bought for us, to give us a pathway to the exceeding greatness of God's power and love for us, now and for all time. Though the evidence is present with us we don't always see it clearly. So, by faith we take hold of it simply because we believe Him and His Word. And this faith is what pleases God – when we believe though we have not yet seen, when we trust because we believe the promises of His Word, when we stand in faith against the enticements of the devil, this is the faith that pleases God.
"For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us." 2 Corinthians 4:5-7
The power of God that abides in us now, is not our own. It did not originate with us nor is it controlled by us, but we can access it by our faith. It is God's power, working God's way, according to God's timing, if we submit ourselves fully to Him. When we act on our own power, our own way, in our own timing, we rarely succeed in attaining whatever we are working toward.
Psalm 127:1 is clear. "Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain."
This does not mean that God does not want us to work to earn a living and provide for our daily living and for our families. No. The scriptures are clear here as well.
"For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat." 2 Thessalonians 3:10
And to the thief he says.
"Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need." Ephesians 4:28
Righteous labor is good and a proper thing to do, It is essential for a wholesome society to maintain itself and prosper. It adds to a sense of meaningful purpose in life.
Labor that is in vain is labor done for all the wrong motives, hoarding, selfishness, dominance over others, manipulation, deceit, extortion, and all such like. Righteous labor is all that is done in agreement with the leading of the Holy Spirit and the exercise of our God given talents and abilities. To enjoy the rewards of our labor is as important to God as to use our resources to help to meet the needs of others, the poor the weak, the overburdened, the vulnerable, the widow and the orphan. When we give a portion of the wages of our labors to these, we lend to the Lord according to the scriptures.
"He who has pity on the poor gives to the Lord, and the Lord will give him his reward." Proverbs 19:17
This also is evidence of our transformation into the likeness of Christ. it is God's nature to be gracious and compassionate toward all humankind. And we express that character of Godliness most fundamentally in our cheerful, generous, and willful, not coerced, sharing of our resources with others.
We are God's workmanship and we walk in the world as living epistles being read by all who see and hear the nature and character of our words and deeds. This has been true from the time of the disciples. People knew they had been with Jesus by the manner of their lives lived where everyone could see them.
"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they wondered; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13
"Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? 2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart." 2 Corinthians 3:1
The treasure of Christ's life living in us shines out to the world by the work of our hands and the words of our mouths. We ae being read for who we are at all times. Someone is taking notice of us as at all times. Are they seeing the treasure we possess? Are they experiencing the grace, mercy, and compassion of Christ? Are they seeing our faith by our works? Are they seeing Jesus?
Let us therefore labor for the unperishable things. Let us demonstrate the excellency of the power of God in us by obedience to His commandment to love one another as He has loved us, and to be doers of His Word. Let us, to the best of our ability, give joyfully and extravagantly.
Finally, let us embrace and own with boldness the name of Jesus Christ to the world that they will see and acknowledge that we are with Jesus