How has this all come about? You have been saved by grace, through faith! This doesn’t happen on your own initiative; it’s God’s gift. It isn’t on the basis of works, so no one is able to boast. This is the explanation: God has made us what we are. God has created us in King Jesus for the good works that he prepared, ahead of time, as the road we must travel.
Ephesians 2:8-10, Kingdom New Testament
Where Do We Come In?
In Ephesians 2 verse 10, we learn there is nothing we can do to earn or merit our salvation. We are saved by grace through faith. Then Paul says, ‘We are what God has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life’.
Now you may well feel that phrase ‘good works’ is a bit ho-hum, a bit ‘oh dear, here we go, we’ve got to behave ourselves’ and all that sort of thing. But it’s not like that at all. The word in the Greek for ‘what He has made us’ means we are God’s poem; we are God’s artwork. God has given us many, many gifts. The good works that we are to do are not simply referring to moral behavior.
God wants us to be fruitful. God wants us to be experimental. God wants us to be innovative.
God wants us to be His poem, in and for the world. Artists, musicians, poets, and dancers: this is your chance.God wants us to be fruitful. God wants us to be experimental. God wants us to be innovative. Click To Tweet
The post-Enlightenment world tended to see art as either a commodity or as something frilly — pretty little bits around the edge of reality to be discarded if we want to get to reality itself. That’s not true. In God’s glorious creation, God made sunlight. God made the music of the waves of the sea.
We are co-creators when we are artists, writers, and musicians. We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus to do good works. And it’s not that we necessarily make His world a glorious place as much as we remind the world that it is a glorious place. We enhance the beauty around us by our God-given gifts. We are His artwork, created in Christ Jesus for those good works that God prepared beforehand for us to walk in.
Now don’t mistake what I’m saying. Jesus did not say to his disciples, ‘Yeah, I’ve got a great plan for your life’. He said, ‘If anyone wants to come after me, let them deny themselves, take up the cross and follow me’. Whenever God is at work, there is a cost. Whenever we are called to follow Jesus, there will be a cross. Whenever we discover that we are gifted in particular ways and want to use those gifts for the glory of God rather than for our own glory, there will be something which causes us pain. Paul talked about a thorn in the flesh to keep him from being too elated by the abundance of revelations.
Don’t be afraid. God is calling you to be who you uniquely can be. That’s the wonderful thing about being Christians: from one point of view, we are all the same because we are all in Christ, but from another point of view each one of us is absolutely unique. You are created in Christ Jesus to bring into the world that which only you can bring.Don't be afraid. God is calling you to be who you uniquely can be. Click To Tweet
In the past when I have counselled people about vocation, I have said that there may be many things that you could do, but only one thing (or perhaps, if you’re lucky, two or three things) that only you can do. You must prayerfully discern what this means for you.
There may be things that you enjoy doing, but perhaps these are tasks for other people. You’ve got to identify the things you can do to be God’s artwork, created in Christ Jesus for those good works which God prepared beforehand for you and you alone.You are created in Christ Jesus to bring into the world that which only you can bring. Click To Tweet
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