Summary: What has created us in Christ Jesus to do good works.
What would you say is the greatest of God’s masterpieces? I suppose people would give many different answers to that question. Many would say that God’s greatest masterpiece is the sunset that paints the evening sky or the millions of stars that twinkle so beautifully each night. Others might point to the majestic mountain ranges or the mighty, rushing rivers. And some might say the flowers that bloom in the spring or the many amazing creatures that populate our planet.
All of those masterpieces are all impressive, but none of them are the greatest that God has created. Actually God’s greatest masterpieces have been twice-created. If you are a Christian you probably saw one of these works of art already today . . . that is, if you looked in a mirror. Yes, YOU are the greatest of God’s masterpieces. You "are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus." No, you probably didn’t look very beautiful or handsome when you got out of bed this morning. But when you looked into your bathroom mirror you were looking at God’s greatest work.
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
I. WE ARE GOD’S WORKMANSHIP.
It is God alone who makes Christians; no one can make himself or herself a Christian.
We are GOD’S masterpieces. Does the painting paint itself? Does the symphony compose itself? Does the poem write itself? No! Neither can we do anything that contributes to our salvation. It is God’s work. "SALVATION IS OF THE LORD" (Jonah 2:9).
Isaiah 64:8 proclaims, "O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand."
From Ephesians 2:8-9 we learn that . . .
1. SALVATION IS BY GRACE ALONE. It is a gift that cannot be earned; it can only be received. Salvation is a GIFT TO BE RECEIVED, not a GOAL TO BE ACHIEVED.
2. SALVATION IS THROUGH FAITH ALONE. Faith does not save; Christ alone saves. Faith is simply receiving the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ.
The Greek word that has been translated "WORKMANSHIP" is used only twice in the entire New Testament, here in Ephesians and also in Romans 1:20. In that verse the word is translated "the things that are made."
Romans 1:20 speaks of the original creation "in the beginning." Ephesians 2:10 talks about a new creation. "If anyone is in Christ," says 2 Corinthians 5:17, "he is a NEW CREATION." We are new creations.
I said earlier that Christians are God’s greatest masterpieces. Here are a couple of reasons why I believe that statement is true.
A. God’s work on us is great because of what He had to work with.
To create means TO MAKE SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING. When God created this universe He made it all out of nothing. When God makes Christians, new creations, HE MAKES THEM OUT OF NOTHING. We are nothing apart from God’s grace. We were, as Ephesians 2:1 declares, "dead in trespasses and sins."
God takes SINNERS and turns them into SAINTS.
B. God’s work on us is great because of what it cost Him.
What did God’s original creation cost Him? Absolutely nothing. It didn’t cost Him any time because God doesn’t dwell in time. It didn’t cost Him any energy because God never tires.
But what about God’s new creations? Did they cost Him anything? Yes, the cost was steep. The cost was the blood of His own Son.
During World War II it was the custom in the United States for a family who had a son serving in the military to place a star in the front window of their home. But a gold star indicated that the son had died in support of his country’s cause.
One night a man was walking down a New York City street accompanied by his 5-year-old son. The little fellow wanted to know why some houses had a star in the window. The father explained that those families had a son fighting in the war. The child would clap his hands as he saw another star in the window and would cry out, "Look, Daddy, there’s another family who gave a son for his country."
At last they came to an empty lot, and a break in the row of houses. Through the gap a star could be seen shining brightly in the sky. The little lad caught his breath, "Oh, Daddy," he cried, "Look at the star in the window of heaven! God must have given His Son too" (Our Daily Bread).
Yes, there is a star in God’s window. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son."
When I said that we are God’s masterpieces, I didn’t mean that we are the kind that collect dust in museums. We are more like machines that a master mechanic has built. Machines are made to work. Christians are made to work.