Ephesians 2:10. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:8-10 offers us what may be the clearest and most succinct summation of the life of the Christian in all of the Bible – Grace. Faith. Works. In that order.
Why must the Christian life begin with grace? Because every human life begins with death (see Ephesians 2:1). I trust you realize that as a dead person you could not save yourself. Therefore, God’s salvation had to begin with God’s grace. Even faith is only possible because God has done something that demands a response. God is always the primary agent. He is always the first mover. He is always the initiator. Even the good works that we walk in as Christians are prepared beforehand by God. We can only do a good work because first we are his good work. All is from grace.
Faith is always a response to grace. Faith doesn’t save us, grace does. We are not saved by the efficacy of our faith, but by the efficacy of the One in whom we place our faith. Faith is not something we do – this is not your own doing…not a result of works. Faith is a transfer of trust. It is placing all of my hope and confidence in the person and work of Jesus alone and my union with him. Faith is dependency. It is admitting that we need Jesus to rescue us, yesterday, today, forever. And this is why life in Christ will forever be one of faith. We never graduate past our need for grace. And we never graduate past faith as the means to receiving that grace.
OK, this is where so many of us get tripped up. The line is fuzzy between not a result of works and created in Christ Jesus for good works.
Usually as Christians we ask the question “what are the good works Jesus wants ME to do?” But this fails to find Christ’s life as the source of our good works. Instead it’s an attempt to live up to some list that we think Jesus has created for us. Such thinking can become a new law to live up to.
Instead we should ask “what good works does Jesus want to do today?” Which, because we are in Christ, is the same thing as asking “what good works do I want to do today?”
As a Christian that is IN CHRIST you should always do whatever you want to do.
Yes, you read that correctly. Christian, you should be living like Jesus, and Jesus always did whatever he wanted. Which just happened to also be exactly what the Father wanted. Jesus was completely submitted and completely free at the same time.
And so are we.
The more we by faith stare into the glory of God’s grace the more our “want to” will change and transform. It will conform to Christ’s own will and desire. We will be doing what we want to do while also doing what Jesus wants us to do without even thinking about it too much. Jesus didn’t look for a daily “to-do” list of good deeds to perform. He simply went around doing good (Acts 10:38). He lived his life as an expression of God’s grace. He was Gods workmanship. Just like us.
“To live is Christ” is to live by grace through faith unto good works. In that order. Any other way is not the life of Christ in us. When Christ’s good works flow effortlessly from our simple unstated faith in the gracious love of our Savior… that’s God’s workmanship. His work of art. His glory.
Are your good works flowing from grace through faith? How can you tell?
You in Christ
You in Christ (grace) produces Christ in you (good works from faith). Why is this order so important? What happens when we get it backwards?
Christ in you
Will your life be God’s work of art today?
Playlist: Grace, Faith, Works.
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