Reading for Wednesday, Oct 31: Eph 2
“And you were dead…But God…made us alive together with Christ,” (v1, 4).
Paul begins with our experience prior to knowing Christ: we were dead, entangled in sin, enslaved to the prince of the power of the air. But God intervenes, bringing us life through Christ. How many times have we been here? How many times could we say that we were dead in our sins? And how many times have those words of grace been spoke over us: But God! “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” (v8).
After we taste of the goodness and grace of God, we are now prepared for good works. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them,” (v10). Eugene Peterson has captured the meaning here quite well: “Fundamentally, work is not what we do; we are the work that God does.” The relationship between grace and works is an important one. We do not work in order to earn grace; we receive grace in order to become the work of God. And He has prepared these things in advance for us.
The word “workmanship” in Greek is poiema, from which we get our English word “poem”. The idea here is that in Christ, we become God’s workmanship, God’s artistic expression, God’s masterpiece. He is weaving a beautiful tapestry through us; He is writing an epic story; He is performing His signature symphony. When we open ourselves up the works He has prepared for us, we become this expression of God’s beauty and truth in the world.