Ephesians 2:10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Yes, I know we’re moving backwards, but before we launch into Ephesians 4-5 and all the walking we will be doing let’s go back a bit and see where Paul first introduced this idea of us walking in Christ.
As we said in Part 1 our walking in Christ is about far more than just obeying a list of “be like Jesus” rules. It is about covenant faithfulness and trusting God so much that we choose to live within God himself. We spiritually live in Christ, he is our land. We are rooted and grounded in him, built up in him, and walking in him. Does this mean we obey him? Yes. Walking is no less than obedience but it is far more.
Jack Will isn’t just learning to obey, he’s learning to do good.
Walking in good works is partnership
In Ephesians 2:10 we are told that we were created in Christ Jesus for good works that we should walk in them. We are IN CHRIST. To walk in good works is to share his life. Again, this is far more than just obeying an authority that exists outside of us. It is a partnership of two joined spirits, minds, desires, affections. God wants to share a life with us. Our good works are his good works. We are saved so as to reflect his very life. To live as he lives. To walk as he walks. This is why it’s far deeper than just obeying. It is obeying from union, from oneness with his love.
To walk in good works is to claim God’s promises
Let’s think about Abraham again today. To get to the promised land Abraham had to obey. He had to get up and leave Ur and go to Canaan. His obedience was necessary and crucial. But once he was there he was told to walk through the land claiming it as his own.
Genesis 13;17. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”
To walk was to claim the promised land. To share the land with God. He was claiming a promise not just obeying a command anymore.
I fear that too many Christians look at their Christianity as only obedience to commands. And along the way they miss the joy of the shared life with Christ. They aren’t claiming promises as they obey, they are simply keeping God off their backs for another day. Checking boxes. Doing what “good Christians” do.
What so many are missing is that every time we do good works we are not only fulfilling an obligation, we are literally expressing Christ. Manifesting him. Animating his spirit in our life. Union with Christ is revealed in us doing the good works of Christ.
Walking in good works is our purpose
Walking in Christ’s good works is where the covenant promise and the partnership meet. This is the covenant promise – partnership with Christ’s life (the new creation). How is the promise fulfilled? In our good works done in Christ. How is the partnership accomplished? In our good works done in Christ.
Good works are our purpose. Our telos. They are why we exist. They are how we image God. They are how we fulfill all that humanity was created for – serving, protecting, intimacy, impact, glory, worship, love, freedom.
But they are only possible in Christ. Apart from Christ all good works are done to earn salvation or status thus rejecting God’s grace and making these works evil rather than good. They may still look good and they may even still accomplish good (God is gracious) but the work itself will hold not contain the goodness of God which is his grace alone.
Walking in good works is the power of God
Therefore, works done from grace and from God’s covenant love will always be good and will never be ineffective. Such good works will display God’s mercy and grace and have the power to overcome evil (Rom. 12:21). These good works flow from resurrection power. The same power that raised Christ (the ultimate good work) lives and works in us and through us by the Spirit of the resurrected Jesus in us.
Good works is our super power. Good works done in and from God’s covenant love are unstoppable. They are the outflow of God’s super abundant hyper power in us. We don’t need mystical knowledge or extreme displays of miraculous gifts. We don’t change the world with events, projects, signs, or arguments. The world is changed by us walking in the good works of Jesus, loving like him. Kind. Gentle. Patient. Courageous. Sacrificing. Humbly giving our lives for others.
I know you’re wondering “What are these good works?” Well that’s where Ephesians 4-5 will take us. But let me just say that I don’t think there is an unwritten list of “good works” for each individual Christian that they have to somehow figure out before they die. God hasn’t left us with a riddle to solve. As Ephesians 4-5 will show us our walk is the life of Christ lived out in the day to day of the Christian community as we become a society of love and light. It’s the normal Christian life figured out one day at a time, as we simply love God and love the world.
“To live is Christ” is to walk in Christ’s good works. He is our partner, our promise, our power, and our purpose as we move out in love displaying the goodness of God in the works that he has graciously prepared for us.