Encouragement in Ephesians
“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.”Ephesians 2: 8-10
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One great thing about teachers is that sometimes we tend to be pretty crafty. From bulletin boards to window displays, teachers sure know how to “brighten up the place.” We also like to involve arts and crafts in our lessons. We have students do drawings, dioramas, posters, 3D models—the list goes on and on. Creativity is something to be encouraged and celebrated, in and out of the classroom. It is good for our students to be artists.
Have you ever thought of God as an artist? He’s skilled in every area. He’s painted the sky, the flowers, and the wings of butterflies. He’s designed countless beautiful plants and animals. He’s the architect behind the tallest mountains and the deepest canyons. However, all of these pale in comparison to His master workmanship—you. Of all the earth, God deemed us His most prized creation. Each of us was individually crafted by the Father in His own image.
But unlike the sky, the plants, and the mountains, God did not make us to be still. He made us with a purpose. This purpose is to serve Him and others and to spread the news of the Gospel! As the apostle Paul explains, we are to proclaim the Word to those who have not heard it (Romans 10:14–15) and to strengthen and build up our fellow Christians (1 Thessalonians 5:11). This is a marvelous purpose that we can rejoice in every day. On the other hand, knowing that God created you for such a time as this and with such a hefty purpose can be intimidating, to say the least.
The good news here comes in two parts. First, our good works (serving God and others and proclaiming God’s Word) do not save us. That work was already achieved by Christ. In Ephesians 2:8, Paul writes, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Grace through faith alone is how we have been saved.
The second part to this good news is that we cannot even claim our own works. As we learn in Ephesians 2:10, God has already created these things for us to do, or to “walk in.” All we do is receive the Holy Spirit in faith, and our good works flow from our salvation. We have received this gift, and now we give in return, according to God’s plan. This is His purpose for you. He created you as His workmanship, and His plan, simply put, is for you to go and “brighten up the place.”
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.