But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Part of the pride of humanity is the concept of being a self-made man, being the master of your fate. Self-help and self-effort is often praised without thinking about the consequences. What “self” made of man is a disaster. All have sinned – the wages of sin is death – is what “self-made” and “self-help” leads to. Our only hope is grace through faith that is the gift of God. We are his workmanship. God warned Israel (more than 3500 years ago) of this. “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 8:17-20
I. Ephesians 2:10 says we are His workmanship.
A. Not by our works. Paul wrote to Titus the following words: “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:3-7
B. We can’t boast of our salvation. Paul wrote to the Roman Christians concerning our being justified by grace and he wrote: “Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.” Romans 3:27
C. God does the work. The church at Philippi was told, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 The church at Thessalonica was give an even stronger promise, “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
II. We are created in Christ Jesus
A. God’s gift is eternal life – in Christ Jesus. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
B. In him we become God’s righteousness. You see our righteousness will not serve. Isaiah cried out to God: “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” Isaiah 64:6 Paul wrote to the church at Corinth concerning this truth, “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 and “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
C. Remember, there is no condemnation – in Christ Jesus. Paul wrote the Romans, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” Romans 8:1-2
III. We were created in Christ Jesus for good works.
A. Remember Ephesians 2:9 tells us that good works do not save us.
B. Instead good works grow out of our faith or belief. James wrote: “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:14-17
C. Jesus said that a tree is recognized by its fruit. Because we are created in Christ Jesus for good works we are to bear good fruit. Paul commended the Colossians “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:10
We are naturally helpless in spiritual matters. We were born dead in trespasses and sins. A person who is spiritually dead cannot make spiritual decisions nor do anything that is acceptable to God. God, in Christ Jesus or Lord, made us alive. He did the work in us and enabled us to obey him and do the work he has called us to. We should take pride in our God and all he has does through us. We should never take pride in our work. It is only his work through us that bears eternal fruit.