7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
But there is one more declaration – and this is an interactive declaration.
- I am part of a greater picture – vs. 10
Verse 10 states “For we are God’s workmanship…” The fact is that we are God’s specially crafted piece of work. Now this is not the phrase , “you’re a real piece of work, but rather you are a masterpiece. The Greek word here is the word “poinma” which is where we get the word “poem” and which is also translated “masterpiece.” Paul tells us that the creator of the universe considers us to be His masterpieces, the crown of His creation. As you look at verse 10, you will notice that Paul writes “WE are His masterpiece.” Many of us miss this change but it is here that he switches from saying “you” to saying “we,” from individual worth to corporate worth. While I do believe this has personal application, I believe that the reference here to “we” is referring to the church, His workmanship. In Ephesians 5:25-27 it says that: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” God so loved the church that He gave Himself for her. He desires to present the church corporately as spotless and unblemished. While this refers to the church as the Bride of Christ, it is important to know that the church is God’s masterpiece as well. That means that it matters what we say about other churches. They are not just churches they are congregations called by God and cleansed by God. Sadly today many churches spend their time criticizing and competing with each other instead of complimenting one another? The truth is that if you are a believer in Jesus Christ then you are part of this great picture, this great poem, this great masterpiece called “the church.” It is together corporately as the church that God through His Word and His Spirit is teaching us and training us. I believe that as we gather together each week, like an artist applying the paint to His canvas the church, God is making us more and more what we are to become. He paints his truth in our lives through our worship, through our time in the word and our time of fellowship with one another. We live in a selfish society and it’s easy for us to fall into a shallow self-focused Christianity where it’s just me and God. The truth is we need each other, we were never called to be Lone Ranger Christians. The early church understood the concept of community; they came together and supported one another. One of the blessings of community is that together we can do more than we can on our own. Another blessing is that community provides protection, Scripture tells us in 1 Perter 5:8 to: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” Predators like to separate their prey from the herd and then take them down. There are many who end up being devoured and destroyed because they try to go it alone. We are not just here taking up space we have a purpose, verse 10 says that “we were…created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God intends for us to good, there are good works that God has already set aside for you to do, you just need to be paying attention for them. Someone will need you to minister to them, God will put you in the right place at the right time all you have to do is be obedient to His call. When you act, the church acts because you are part of a bigger picture. Some of these good works that God has set aside for you to do will arise out of adversity and hardship. Someone may mistreat you or talk trash about you, they may respond to you in a wrong way, and it’s here that God puts you in that place at that time so that you can do the right thing. Instead of whining about the circumstances you can be a witness to God’s goodness and glory. Our tendency is to miss these opportunities for good work because we get mad and angry at the adversity that comes our way and start to see it as a burden and a bother instead of seeing it as a blessing. God uses adversity in His church to mold us and make us more and more into His masterpiece. Often it is more in the groaning times than the good times that we grow. God is calling us to come together as the church to reveal His masterpiece to the world. What about you are you committed to a local church, are you teaming together or going it alone? Have you receive the truth that you are a timeless, priceless masterpiece, an example of God’s grace and kindness? Are you willing to not only receive these truths but respond to them and recommit to a greater picture than just self and the Savior? Are you willing to see others the way God sees them and not only value others but act towards others the way you would want others to act toward you? Are you willing to not only receive God’s love but to share it with others as you tell them about what He has done in your life? God created and called you to live as His masterpiece, not as a major mess. No matter where you are today God loves you and longs for you to grow in grace.