Walk in Good Works
Today’s Text: Ephesians 2:8-10
The apostle Paul powerfully proclaims God’s grace when he declares,
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:8-10).
If anyone understood that truth it was Paul (Acts 9:1-19). Building on his powerful declaration of God’s grace, Paul asserts, “we are God’s workmanship.” His words are emphatic. His logic is simple. If we are God’s workmanship, we cannot be our own workmanship. The word, translated “workmanship” poiema (Gr. ποίημα), is used only twice in the New Testament. It describes something created—like a work of art. Created with imagination and skill, art is designed to be either beautiful or the visual expression of an intangible concept.
In this context, we are individually a work of art created by God in Christ Jesus to be a beautiful expression of His grace. And, we do that through good works. A superficial understanding of “good works” might lead us to believe that Paul is referring to affiliation with the “right” church denomination, wearing an “accepted” style of clothing, scrupulously following a list of “do’s and don’t”and associating with the “right” kind of people.
In reality, Paul qualifies the term, good works, saying, “God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” The works were prepared in advance, but notice. They were not prepared for us to complete a spiritual to-do-list, but rather that we should walk in them. The word “walk” is peripateo (Gr. περιπατέω) and figuratively describes a way of life or the way we conduct ourselves in everyday reality. God has given us a new path—an entirely new sphere of life in which to live out day-to-day experience!
During World War II, many children in London were transported to rural areas for protection. One boy was consigned to stay on a family farm in rural northern England. He had never known anything but an oppressive atmosphere, soot covered buildings, litter-strewn streets and the constant noise of traffic. When he stepped off the train at his destination, he found himself in a completely new world—the sun was shining, birds were singing and he could see for miles in every direction.
In a similar way, God has transplanted us from the cramped, burdensome, suffocating drudgery of our former life onto a new path with the abundant life He intended for us to enjoy (Jn. 10:10). On this new path, we can do what we could never do before, namely, works that are inherently and intrinsically good. These works please God because, “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
We are reminded that the Christian life isn’t so much about working, striving and toiling, as much as it is about allowing God to work in our lives and through our lives to accomplish His predetermined purpose. When you let God work through you, He’ll provide every resource to walk the way He intended!
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. Rev. McCracken authentically communicates biblical truth that makes his presentations relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2018, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Emphasis added).
1) The Good Samaritan (c. 1772). By Simon François Ravenet [PD-US, PD-Art], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios