“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 the good, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10
I “reexperienced” the verse above as I was leading a workshop last week. This has been a favorite verse of mine as long as I can remember. I know it’s a favorite because I am well aware of the grace I need and the imperfect walk I often take in my life. Long ago I became aware that I was not going to earn my place with God on my own. I was not going to earn much of anything. My life is not from myself “it is a gift of God – not from works” so I cannot boast.
Recently, I have been using a weekly gratitude journal for part of my meditation/devotional time. This week the focus was on grace and this was the introduction, “Grace – it’s the best gift we have and maybe the hardest gift to understand because it’s so unlike anything else. It never wears out. It never quits working. It’s ours, even though we don’t deserve it. It’s ours, even when we forget we have it. It’s the ultimate reason to be grateful.”
For the longest time I was most familiar with verse 8 and 9 and didn’t continue on to verse 10. “For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do the good, which God prepared in advance for us to do”
When I first looked at that verse, I remember it felt like I now have God’s gift I need to get to work. And in some ways that is true. But its only true as we see the grace and the gift continues in the “handiwork” and in the “good the we do.” First of all, we are reminded that “we are God’s handiwork!” The word handiwork reminds me of my mother who was very skilled at sewing, repairing clothes, needlepoint, crocheting and knitting. I am grateful for her handiwork that we own and enjoy. Her handiwork is intricate, creative and useful. God in His grace has made and remakes each of us to be unique, important and with a purpose. His grace and love flow in us as we are “created in Christ Jesus.” He gave His Son for us because we are special and valuable to Him. In His grace we are given a special place in His family and invited to join Him on his mission. The Sprit empowers us in doing “the good, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Like living the love that He lives with us. Showing His grace by our kindness and generosity. And trusting our gracious God as we live through the struggles, disappointments, doubts and fears of this imperfect world.
“It is by grace that we have been saved…it’s a gift from God”…always!