HANDCRAFTED BY THE MASTER
For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2: 8-10).
What a different picture from the one Paul painted in the previous verses! We are no longer dead and stinking but alive to God and objects of His grace and favour. How sad that religion drives many branches of so-called Christianity. What do I mean by “religion”? Religion flourishes by rules and ritual. Religion is a “do-it-yourself” attempt to reach God or to satisfy the perceived demands of a god.
Even believers in Jesus often erroneously believe that their response to what God has done for them is to “work for God”. But God’s word tells a very different story. God sent His Son into the world to rescue us from the plight sin put us in, not for our sake but for His sake. He wanted a family of sons and daughters bound to Him by love, not a group of slaves bound to Him by fear.
He did everything necessary to bring us back to His original plan because of His mercy. We did nothing to deserve His grace and we can do nothing to earn it. He did it for Himself so that the minions who rebelled against Him would be confronted with the truth – God is love.
Humans find it difficult to accept a free gift so great that it transfers us out of the devil’s clutches and places us in the hands and under the care of a gracious Father. We would rather attempt to repay God for His kindness in some futile way which does not impress God at all. God is not a tit-for-tat God like the gods of the heathen. If you do this for Him, He will do that for you. Everything He did to save us from self-destruction, He did for Himself, and He gives is to us as a free gift of His grace.
But that does not mean that we simply take everything and give nothing back. As sons and daughters of God, there is a response He requires of us, but it is not a response of repaying our debt. It is the response of the children of God who adore their Father and serve Him out of love and gratitude.
A study of the gospels will reveal that there are five characteristics of a true son which Jesus mirrored in His life on earth.
- A son loves his father
A religious leader once asked Jesus, “Which is the greatest commandment?” to which Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” Love for God is the atmosphere in which a son of daughter lives.
- A son trusts his father
If there is no trust between a father and his child, he then lives like a slave in fear. Love and trust are the bases of the other three characteristics of a son or daughter.
- A son submits to his father
Jesus is the perfect model of a submissive son. Even when He faced His greatest battle in the Garden of Gethsemane, He submitted to the Father’s will, and not with gritted teeth but with love and trust.
- A son obeys the father
A son does not grudgingly obey or give in to the father under compulsion. Obedience is the hallmark of love. Jesus said to His disciples, “If you love me, you will do what I command you.”
- A son serves his father
This is not the service of a servant but the service of partnership, doing the Father’s will with Him to fulfil the Father’s greater purpose of establishing His kingdom on earth.
The good works of which Paul speaks are not random acts of kindness because we feel sorry for people in need. They are the integrated actions of God’s people which reveal His character to an ungodly world. When we live in harmony and fellowship with the Father, He will reveal His will to us and enable us to carry out His plans in partnership with Him to bring a wayward family back to Himself.
Whatever it involves in the way of acts of compassion and kindness towards others, God wants to reveal Himself through us so that those who have been deceived by the devil into hating God, will see Him in us and turn to Him in faith.
Paul said that we are God’s masterpiece, handcrafted by Him to carry out His will on earth by doing what He planned for us to do long before we were born.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!
ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3, eBook 978-4828-0511-6
My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.
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