Summary: In the way that he has made us his and made us vessels that can be filled—and be useful—we are a finished product. We are God’s workmanship.
Pursue Understanding: You Are God’s Workmanship
Pastor Jim Luthy
We’ve already seen that to live on another level you need to understand that you are blessed and that Jesus is your reward. Now we must add to that the understanding that we are God’s workmanship, his handiwork, the end-product of his grace.
When I was a young believer, I was greatly impressed by an old man named Alan Peterson. In my early 20’s, I didn’t have a whole lot of interaction with elderly people until I came to Christ and started going to church. Alan was a delightful man whose wife was terminally ill when he first started coming to church and died shortly thereafter. As a brand new believer, I was impressed with how his faith carried him through. He mourned the loss of his wife, but never without simultaneously expressing his confidence in the Lord’s promise to take her into paradise. It was a new and refreshing perspective for me.
Alan used to wear a button that said "PBPWMGINFWMY". Now a button with that jumbled mess of letters begs the question…"What does it mean?" Alan was delighted to tell us proud, young, go-getters in his deep, softening muffled voice, "It means, please be patient with me, God is not finished with me yet." I knew then that if God wasn’t finished with Alan, he had a lot of work yet to do with me.
I’ve always read Ephesians 2:10 in the shadow of that early encounter with Alan Peterson. God is continuously working on us, bringing us up in maturity, shaping our hearts, and growing our faith. We see that pointed out in Samuel, who "continued to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with men." (1 Samuel 2:26) And we hear it in the exhortation of Peter, who concluded, "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 3:18) The writer to the Hebrews, likewise, commands, "Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity…" (Hebrews 6:1)
These are the examples and commands that demand that we grow and develop in our faith. As A.B. Simpson wrote, "Men and women who do not press on in their Christian experience to gain the fullness of their inheritance in Him will often become cold and formal."
That being said, I don’t believe as I once did that this ongoing work of God is what is meant by Paul when he declares, "For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10) God’s workmanship is not the ongoing process of what God is doing in you, it is the completed work of what God has done in you. Even though you are, in one sense, called to grow in the grace and knowledge of God, you are in another sense complete. To live on another level, you need to understand that you are God’s finished work.
The word "workmanship" is a term for an end-product. It is finished. Done. Imagine that you went down to a car lot to buy a car and all you saw was the raw metal frame. It had no seats, no dash, no mirrors, no paint, no tires, and no engine. That, my friends, is an unfinished product. That is not what God made of you when he made you new in Christ Jesus. He has blessed you in the heavenly realms. When Jesus rose from the dead, you were raised up to life with him. When Jesus was established on his throne, the promises of God to you were seated, or established with him. If you believe in him, you are completed in him. A masterpiece of life. God’s workmanship. Hallelujah!
To really appreciate this, we have to know what God has made us from. That’s what Paul is getting at in Ephesians 2:1-9.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. (Ephesians 2:1-5)
The Learning Channel (you know, the other TLC), has a show that airs on Wednesday nights called "Junkyard Wars." Have you seen it? This is how they describe their show on their web site:
"If you locked Tim Allen, Mad Max and Monty Python in a garage, you’d end up with Junkyard Wars — the engineering contest of harebrained schemes, incredible tools, and lots and lots of duct tape. This program pits two teams of tool-toting gearheads against one another to see who can create the biggest, fastest or strongest whatever with parts they scrounge out of a junkyard."