Summary: Ephesians 2:10 shows us that our good works are the product of God's grace.
We are currently in a series of sermons on Ephesians 2 that I am calling, “God’s Plan of Reconciliation.”
The theme of Ephesians 2:1-10 is God’s grace in saving sinners. In verses 1-3 Paul described the way we were before we received the amazing grace of God. In verse 4 Paul started to explain how God saves sinners. In verses 5-7 Paul listed some wonderful truths about our union with Christ. In verses 8-9 Paul summarized how we are saved by grace alone. Then, in verse 10 Paul stated that our salvation is all because of God’s workmanship.
Let’s read about God’s workmanship in Ephesians 2:10. For the sake of context, let’s begin reading in verse 1:
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 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. (Ephesians 2:10)
Michelangelo (1475-1564) was a Florentine sculptor, painter, architect, and poet of the High Renaissance who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western Art. Considered to be the greatest living artist during his lifetime, he has since been described as one of the greatest artists of all time. Michelangelo was once asked what he was doing as he chipped away at a shapeless rock. He replied, “I’m liberating an angel from this stone.”
The Apostle Paul would say that is like what God is doing in the life of every Christian. God takes every born-again believer and slowly fashions him or her to look more and more like Jesus Christ. In other words, God has not only brought us to himself in salvation, he also continues to work in us after we are regenerated. He is the one who is working in us enabling us to do good works in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:10 shows us that our good works are the products of God’s grace.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. God’s Role in Our Salvation (2:10a)
2. Our Responsibility in Our Salvation (2:10b)
I. God’s Role in Our Salvation (2:10a)
First, let’s look at God’s role in our salvation.
It is important to understand the Apostle Paul’s argument to the Ephesian Christians in Ephesians 2:1-10. Paul was writing to people who were already Christians. He wanted them to understand God’s plan of reconciliation. He wanted them to know what God had done in saving them. So, he began in verses 1-3 with a description of their status prior to their receiving the amazing grace of God in their lives. Paul said that they were dead in the trespasses and sins in which they once walked. Spiritually, they were completely cut off from God. They had no relationship with God at all because they were like cadavers. And worse than their own condition was the fact that they were under the wrath of God, like the rest of mankind. Their condition prior to their salvation was utterly hopeless. All the members of the Ephesian Church would have been able to affirm without hesitation our first membership vow, “Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of God, justly deserving his displeasure, and without hope save in his sovereign mercy?”
In verse 4 Paul began to explain how God saves sinners. He said that God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved them, even when they were dead in their trespasses, made them alive together with Christ. He made it clear that their salvation, from first to last, was a work of God alone. In fact, twice in this paragraph he said to them, “By grace you have been saved.”