Written by: Rye D'Orazio
Morning and evening meditation
Read Eph 2:8-10
Ask the Lord today to reveal to you the totality of His handiwork and the call of a life of standing in the gap and “good works.”
Read: Eph 2:8-10
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 handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 reveals that we have been "created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." This raises an obvious question: What are the good works God has prepared for me?
Many of us would be inclined to answer this question by pointing to specific things Christians tend to do as an expression of their faith. Good works would include: attending worship services, praying regularly, studying Scripture, giving generously from our financial resources, joining a small group, going on mission trips, caring for the poor, working for justice for the oppressed, loving our neighbors, and so forth. These are surely among the good works God has prepared for us. We rightly engage in these activities as people who have been transformed by God's grace through Christ.
But, if we think of good works only in these terms, we miss the extent to which God's plan for our good works is much broader and deeper. Our translation explains that we are created for good works, "which God prepared in advance for us to do." The Greek original reads more literally, "which God prepared in advance, so that we might walk in them." The language of walking was used by teachers in the time of Paul in the way we might talk of living or engaging in a certain lifestyle. In other words, the good works of verse 10 are not obviously religious activities scattered throughout an otherwise secular life. Rather, the good works encompass the whole of the Christian, all that we do by God's grace for God's purposes.
Ephesians 2:10 is similar to other passages of the Pauline letters that envision all of life as lived through and for God. Romans 12:1, for example, says, "I urge you ... to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God." This offering takes place, not in identified temples, but in everyday life. Similarly, Colossians 3:17 proclaims, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus."
Therefore, though it's certainly right for you to invest yourself in the life of your church and to engage in works of outreach for the sake of the poor, the oppressed, and those who don't know God's grace in Christ, Ephesians 2:10 would encourage you to learn to see your whole life as an interconnected series of good works offered to God. This means that your good works can include that which you do at work, in the classroom, on the football field, in your neighborhood, and in your community associations. If you're a boss, part of your good works involve the way you manage your employees. If you're a parent, your good works include making dinner for your children as well as praying with them as you tuck them into bed. The more we grow in our faith, the more we see ourselves as God's masterpieces, the more we will indeed do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, by his strength, under his authority, and for his purposes.
Do you tend to think of your whole life as an offering of good works to God, or do you tend to think of your good works mainly as activities that are obviously religious? How might your life be different if you began to see your whole life as an offering to God?
Thank the Lord for His handiwork and reflect on thinking more truly and inclusively to see your whole life as an offering to the Lord.
Next Step See how today you can make every moment of the day an occasion to live good works for the Lord.