How many of you have been to a funeral? As you approach the casket you'll see numerous floral arrangements, and these floral displays use two different kinds of flowers.
First there are the bouquets of cut flowers, and there are planters. There's generally more bouquets than planters because the florist can create a more impressive splash of color than a planter can. But both of these floral arrangements have beautiful flowers and both mean a lot to the family of the deceased.
BUT NOW... wait about 6 weeks. What happens then to the cut flowers after that period of time? (They die.) What about the planters? (They usually are still alive.)
Why did the cut flowers die? They died because (unlike the planted flowers) they DIDN'T have any roots. Both sets of flowers had pretty fruits--the flowers, but the cut flowers died because they had no root. It was the root that gave the plant its life...not the fruit
But both sets of flowers were on display at the funeral because of their fruit. You'll never go to a funeral and see a bunch of stems sticking out of a planter with no flowers. The root gives the flower its life. But the fruit (the pretty flowers) give the flower its usefulness in that setting.
Now let's go back to Ephesians 2. Remember it told us in verses 8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast."
But then, in verse 10 it says: "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do (what?) good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10
Why does verse 10 say we were saved (created in Christ Jesus)??? To do good works! But the previous verses tell us we're not saved by those good works; we are saved to DO good works.
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by Chris Appleby on Oct 18, 2000
Those who are outside the people of God are in rebellion against Him and are therefore spiritually dead. But God makes them a free offer to bring them back to life. All that’s needed to receive all of the bounty that God offers is to believe his promise,