A Great New Work

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2: 8 – 10

An understanding of the Christian experience of salvation is necessary if we  are to follow the exhortation to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We should take great pride in being a Christian, that is, being children of God. Reflection on becoming a Christian should inspire persons to trust Jesus and motivate those who have trusted Him.

The process is by grace. Grace is the opposite of merit.  Grace excludes all merit on the part of man. To be saved by grace cannot take into account any merit either before salvation, at the time of salvation, or after salvation. 

Grace is a benevolent act of love which bestowed mercy on the undeserving. It is given freely while expecting and demanding nothing in return.

By it one is saved.  It is an act complete in the past with permanent continuing results. This is what it means to be saved and what salvation is:

Salvation is a crisis experience – I have been saved.

Salvation is a continuing process – I am being saved.

Salvation is a culminating victory – I shall be saved.

This grace given is appropriated by faith. Faith is the channel for the operation of grace. It is the instrumental cause of salvation. It is man’s response to Christ as the object of their faith.

Salvation is a gift. It is a present from God that can’t be acquired by merit. 

It is not of works. Salvation has to be entirely of grace or entirely of works.  It cannot be a combination of both.  The Bible plainly says that it is not of works, but of grace.  “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”  (Gal 2:16)

This leaves no room for boasting, that is, glory or exalt proudly. 

We are His workmanship, “poiema,” creation, handiwork, piece of work.

God  is the Workman. He is the One who is fashioning. It is a wonderful picture of God as a kind of Artist.

We are not saved by works, but we are saved to work. Note “unto” not “by.”  Be patient with God.  God had to work in Moses for forty years before His could work through him. All the good works in the world cannot make you right with God, but once a person is made right with Him through His creative grace, there is something wrong with the person who has no good works. 

Walking in good works speaks of conduct in life.

Take an inventory.  Which of the four works are you experiencing?  Is sin working AGAINST you because of your failure to trust Christ? Have you experienced Christ’s work FOR you?  Are you patient as He works IN you?  Will you allow Him to work THROUGH you? Reflect and respond appropriately.