Read: Ephesians 2:1-10
In the interests of learning fully how it is possible for a child of God to do good works, Paul speaks of this very thing in Eph 2:8-10.
We are dead in trespasses and sins, Paul tells us (2:1).
We are made alive by the power of God (2:1, 5).
This all is so much God’s work that it is rooted in God’s love for us and flows to us out of the fountain of His grace, His unmerited favor. (2:4, 5).
The result is that we are saved by grace, through faith (2:8).
That salvation by grace, through faith, is not of ourselves, but is the gift of God. Grace is a gift; faith is a gift; and the resulting salvation is a gift. It is never our work.
By making all these His gifts, God shuts the door to all boasting (2:9). If our works entered in, we would boast of our contributions.
But we can hear some objector, off to the side, shouting, “But what about works? You are forgetting our works.”
“You are right,” the apostle says; “we do good works. But let me tell you about those good works. And then see once whether you can still boast in them.”
First of all, we must remember that we are God’s workmanship. Now, a workmanship is a work of stunningly beautiful art that shows by its beauty the skill of the artist and demonstrates why he is to be praised. That is what we, as God’s saints, are. We are a work of the divine Artist who makes us His divine work so that we show forth His praise.
Second, we are a divine work of art “in Christ Jesus.” Christ Jesus and His people are one work of art, planed in eternity, prepared in the cross of Christ, painted throughout history, finished in all its glory in heaven.
Third, the purpose God has in mind in preparing this masterpiece of the church in Christ is so that the church can do good works: “Created in Christ Jesus unto good works.”
These good works are “before ordained”. That is, every good work each saint does is determined for him by God in His eternal counsel before the creation of the world. This is possible because Christ merited them. Our good works are God’s gift, merited by Christ, graciously given. Good works are part of our salvation.
Finally, even the fact that we do these good works is ordained by God from all eternity. He gives us the privilege, the blessings, the power to do that which Christ merited for us.
And these good works, a part of God’s masterpiece, are to the praise and the glory of the divine Artist. God is praised for our good works, because God gave them to us to show His power and grace.
“Do you want to talk about works?” says Paul; “These are our good works. Where is the merit?’
We ought to thank God for the good works we do.
Prof. Herman Hanko (Wife: Wilma)
Ordained: October 1955
Pastorates: Hope, Walker, MI - 1955; Doon, IA - 1963; Professor to the Protestant Reformed Seminary - 1965
Emeritus: 2001Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Prof._Herman_Hanko
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