It is good to dwell upon God’s grace. Many songs and scores of sermons are written about God’s unconditional love for us; love that drove Him to take the cross for us, love that bore our sin and shame. It is also wonderful to meditate upon our great salvation: how we were spared from an eternity of hell and punishment, how Jesus delivered us from evil, death and darkness. But often we leave out the best part of God’s grace and salvation: His great work of art in us. We were saved from darkness, but we are saved to greatness. That is the tremendous “punch-line” of the gospel: worthless sinners becoming priceless saints – how great a salvation is that?!
Many of us know Ephesians 2:8-9. It is a well-known verse:
For it is 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.
This famous Scripture was one of the great texts that set in motion the Protestant Reformation and transformed Christianity’s thinking back to the Biblical basis that we are saved by grace alone (soli gratis).
However, the purpose for Paul’s writing these verses was not as a theological argument for salvation, but as an encouragement for Christians to live out the precious gift of salvation life for all to see. Ephesians 2:10, a lesser-known verse, explains the punch line:
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Worthless sinners are saved by God’s grace so they can become priceless saints. God is doing a work within us; we are God’s “workmanship.” The Greek word is poiema. I believe it is where we get the word, “poem.” You and I are God’s poetry; a work of art that is on display to show the goodness, beauty, brilliance and great compassion of our Redeemer.
You might be thinking, “Me – a work of art! Hah! If you only knew the junk in my life.”
Yes, and in mine, as well. But isn’t that the miracle of Christ? His ability to change our cheap junk into fine jewelry? His ability to change our “scars” into “stars”?
Years ago, Letty and I watched a gifted Christian artist paint a unique painting at a conference. On the canvass, he wrote the words “MY SIN” and then he threw some dingy colors that left this beautiful white background marred and ugly. Then he went to work. He blended the colors, he added new tones. He took the scraper to the canvass. It was hard to figure out what he was doing; I thought he was doing one of those “pop art” drawings (you know, like one of those paintings of random stuff that a kindergartner could have done!) Finally, he stopped. The audience paused and then applauded wildly. The result was a beautiful picture of the face of Christ, with the crown of thorns on His brow.
Isn’t that what God does to our lives, if we let Him? You are Jesus’ work of art, His poiema. God don’t make junk – He transforms it! You are a priceless saint; dearly loved and equipped to do great things under His leadership. Let’s live it out today in Whole Life Worship. You and I are “Master”-pieces in the making!
You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of dust. You make beautiful things out of us (#gungor #beautifulthings)