We’ve had a short break from Ephesians: Day by Day, if you would like to catch up on the back catalogue, click here.
In Ephesians 2.8-10 Paul lays out a wonderful summary of God’s saving work in the individual:
“For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his creative work, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we can do them.”
We read that we are saved (vv.4-7) by grace…through faith (the ‘it’ of vv.8-9 is the salvation of vv.4-7). We are entirely reliant on God’s grace to save us from the consequences of our sin. We cannot earn our salvation, we cannot affect our own salvation, it is not from [ourselves] and it is not from works.
Poetically, Paul describes this process as God’s creative work (ποίημα). Maybe your Bible says ‘workmanship’ or ‘creation’ or ‘work of art’ here, but, either way, the truth is that our salvation is entirely 100% of God, not us, and it is a spectacular and awe-inspiring process.
Paul then writes that, simply, this saving and amazing love of God will change our lives:
“…having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we can do them.”
The works don’t add to our salvation in any way, shape, or form, but they are evidence that we are saved by grace…through faith. David Guzik writes this:
“God’s love is a transforming love. It meets us right where we are at, but when we receive this love it always takes us where we should be going. The love of God that saves my soul will also change my life.”
Very simply, God saves individuals by grace. This has nothing to do with how good we are and we can’t do anything at all to help the process along: salvation is of God alone. When saved, however, we will want to demonstrate this by doing good works, by doing things that glorify Him who saved us and that show others the life-saving and life-changing love of God.
For some it might be to teach or preach. For others it might be seek out those they have wronged in the past in order to seek forgiveness. I would love to hear how God has led you to the good works that follow salvation!