In the Grace of God Part 3

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

God has not saved us just to spare us from the wrath that we rightfully deserve but to bring out the beauty that we were created to be. We are His workmanship, not that of our parents as we were known to God even before we were conceived. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5) The idea of workmanship, “poiema” in the Greek is that of a “work of art” as a tapestry.

The love of God is a transforming love that meets us where we are at. Once we receive God’s love within us when then start to follow the path we should be going in opposition to where we have come from. God’s great love not only saves us but transforms us into a new life. God has created something in us by Jesus Christ living through us. “The spiritual life cannot come to us by development from our old nature. I have heard a great deal about evolution and development, but I am afraid that if any one of us were to be developed to our utmost, apart from the grace of God, we should come out worse than before the development began. Our new life is as truly created out of nothing as were the first heavens, and the first earth. This ought to be particularly noticed, for there are some who think that the grace of God improves the old nature into the new. It does nothing of the sort.” (Spurgeon)

Some Christian people of faith get themselves twisted by the term “good works.” They work hard at their good works to earn their salvation. I have heard preachers say that if we are not winning souls then we are not bearing fruit for the Kingdom. I do not know of any man who has won a soul for the Kingdom. That is God’s work. In the previous lesson we discussed that we are not saved by works but by the grace of God.

If you are in a Church that teaches salvation by good works, then you ought to weigh the truth of the scripture. If you are in a Church that teaches you to believe in the Church, then you should look at the definition of the Church. It is not the building or its programs, it is the people that are a part of the Church. If they are asking you to believe in people, then that is foolish as no people can give you salvation. Baptism or the Lord’s Supper will not save you as these are symbolic of the beliefs in your heart. And that is the point. If your heart has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then the grace of God has opened your mind to the truth and you are saved. Satan is alive and well and uses all deceptive means to deceive the people of the Church.

Our good works is not a way to earn our salvation but our effort that others may find salvation through the mercy and great love of God shown through us. Our good works of planting the seed of His truth is from where the fruit of the Kingdom grows by the power of God.

We have been given the faith to have this new life in Christ and that same faith is the channel that His grace will flow through to enable us to live out what He wants for our lives.

We have been saved to do the good works by Jesus living through us. This is being raise up with Christ that through us Christ lives in the power of the Holy Spirit. Too many Christians set aside the truth that if they were chosen to receive God’s grace for salvation then they were also appointed to live out Christ’s good works. There is nothing holding you back from receiving what God has planned to give you except yourself.

As the workmanship of God our lives have been designed by Him. Our background, personalities and dreams where in preparation for the good works that we were created to do. It is not just our physical bodies that has been designed by God but also our inner selves. Our mental processes and our spiritual desires. We may have doubt, we may have difficulties, but what God has given us is equipped for the good works that we are to do and it all will turn out good according to His plan and purpose. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

As we go about our focus should be on God’s will. Part of knowing His will is answered by Paul in part, “created in Christ Jesus for good works.” We are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus. Our strength does not come from our own will power but through Christ living through us. It is a spiritual walk in the power of the Holy Spirit leading our physical bodies to do the good work here on earth. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Good works does not give us salvation, we received salvation as a gift of God’s grace. Our good works are not just good efforts on our part but submitting to Jesus doing the good works through us. We do His good works in the power of the Holy Spirit which is the same as Jesus living through us. The Holy Spirit is our helper, our counselor and He will guide our spirit. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26)

The good works that we are to do through Jesus we can have confidence in. Our confidence is that Jesus is preforming them through us and that they are good. We can trust then that they will always be pleasing to the Father. The work could be a general work as loving our neighbor as our self. Or it could be a specific activity that only we could do. The good work that we are involved in may be a small event or a large event. Large events are not so scary when you see them as a group of smaller events together. Either way we can have the faith and resources provided by God to do what He wants.

Doing the god works of Jesus may cause some anxiety but Paul finishes this verses with, “which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” As we read earlier God knew us long before we were formed in our mother’s womb. God prepared these good works with us in mind. God designed us to accomplish the good works of Jesus. All this was determined before we were born.

If we were saved by the grace of God, then the grace of God will empower us to face the giants that lay before us. David the Shepard King knew this from experience when he slew Goliath. David knew that his strength came from the Lord. “On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.” Psalm 138:3) We must keep firm in the faith that God has given us. God knows what the good works are that He designed us to do through Jesus and He will place a peace and passion in our hearts to do them.

Sometimes doing the god works of Christ can get us into trouble. We have been warned of this by Jesus. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Trials do not mean that you have done something wrong. Our adversary is a powerful enemy but the troubles he may cause can be used by God to strengthen our perseverance. They are His good works and God’s will shall be done. The question is if we are in His will. We are not to fear, as God is the sovereign of the universe. Walk in the grace that He has shown you, live in the faith that He has given you, and fear not for He is within you. “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, April 14, 2017

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