Summary: We are saved for good works as God's artwork, and the difference He makes in our lives must be seen.
Sculptures have always amazed me. You have heard the story of the man who carved art out of logs using a chain saw. His specialty was carving the shape of an angry bear. He loved for people asked him how he did it. He would answer, “I just cut away everything that doesn’t look like an angry bear.”
In addition to Mt. Rushmore, one of Gutzin Borglum's great works as a sculptor is the head of Lincoln in the Capitol at Washington. He cut it from a large, square block of stone in his studio. One day, when the face of Lincoln was just becoming recognizable out of the stone, a young girl was visiting the studio with her parents. She looked at the half-done face of Lincoln, her eyes registering wonder and astonishment. She stared at the piece for a moment then ran to the sculptor.
"Is that Abraham Lincoln?" she asked.
"Well," said the little girl, "how in the world did you know he was inside there?"
Today, we are going to talk about how God chips away everything from our lives that doesn’t look like Christ.
Eph 2:8-10 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. (pray)
We must drop back to verses eight and nine to get a grasp of verse 10. Clearly, our salvation, if we are saved, is done. “Have been” clearly states something that has already taken place in believers. You are not being saved, or hoping you will be saved in the end.
If you are not saved, I plead with you to be saved today. We established last week that the grace of God extends salvation to those who do not nor could never deserve salvation. We reach to that grace through faith in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ; specifically, His death, burial and resurrection. By faith, we trust in Christ to save us, and through that salvation, we receive all that God has promised us.
Clearly, from the text, we see that this is a gift of God. It is nothing that we can glory in.
Illustration: John Nelson, one of the great preachers of years gone by, was witnessing to a man. The man said, “I am good enough. I don’t need a Savior. I try my best, and I will trust that when God judges me, he will see my efforts to be a good man and receive me.”
Nelson said, “You can’t spend eternity in heaven based upon that.”
The man asked why?
He asked, “Do you believe there will be discord in heaven?”
The man answered, “Certainly not. It would not be heaven if there is disagreement and discord.”
Nelson said, “The rest of will be singing ‘Worthy is the Lamb of God who was slain for our sins. By His blood alone we have been washed and made holy.’ “You cannot sing that song. You can only sing, ‘By my goodness, I have made it and not by Christ’s sacrifice. You will cause discord and not be in agreement.’
“When the holy angels hear you singing that, one of the bigger ones will grab you by the nape of the neck and throw you over the wall.”
I believe the point is, if we are going to believe in heaven and salvation as taught in the Bible, we need to agree with what the Bible says about it. Paul states clearly, “this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Your works, or good deeds, will never qualify you for heaven. However, Paul goes on to say that this does not disregard works entirely. It just eliminates them from being involved in how we are saved.
1. His Painting. Workmanship, artwork, not from creation but from redemption.
“For we are his workmanship”
HIS workmanship. He is the artist. He is creating the work that is us.
The word he uses for workmanship is the Greek word from which we get the English word, “poem”. I bet you did not know you were a poem, did you. We are God’s poetry. Since he uses the first plural indicative form for “we”, Paul is saying that we, collectively, make up God’s poem, or artwork.
Illustration: I have a book that has all the English poems ever written. It has all the great documents of our language, and the English translations of every great documents, writings and books ever written. It has every translation of the Bible in it, every commentary ever written.