November 21, 2013

{Day 21} Saved and Called: Created in Christ Jesus to do Good Works

If you're just popping in on this November series, you can catch up here.
There's also a give-away in progress, get your name in the drawing here.

Yesterday the letter to the Galatians provided us with the idea of nailing our sinful nature to the cross and keeping it there, because we have a new way of life in the Spirit!  Today we'll spend some time in another passage that contrasts the life of the Christian before conversion and after.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 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 2:1-10

Similar to the verse that was the impetus for this series, Paul talks here about how God, who has saved us and called us to the holy life - not because of anything we had done, but because of His own purpose and grace.

Isn't it beautiful?!

You were dead, ruled by Satan, controlled by your cravings, and deserving of wrath, dear Christian.  BUT GOD.  Yes!  BUT GOD, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ, placed us under His rule, rescued us from our cravings, and delivered us from His wrath.

Paul is then quick to remind the Ephesians that it's not by works they have been saved, but by the will and grace of Almighty God, who does what pleases Him.  But then he also includes that last verse, that I bolded.  The impression I get from that is this:

God made you; God saved you; God's got work for you!

We know that it is not work that saves us.  That's been done!  Our identity and place in God's family are secure in Christ.  But it seems that not only did God save us on purpose, He saved us with a purpose for us in mind.  Obviously, it is to live our lives to His glory, and we can do that by doing good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Oh, I think that's so cool.  God sees through and lives outside of time.  Even when we're still dead in our transgressions, He knows when He will save us and has plans for us!  We don't need to go searching for purpose, we need to seek Him!  Getting to know our Savior God, asking Him to soften our hearts to His Spirit, leaning daily on the blood and righteousness of Christ, all these things set us up to be walking right smack dab in the middle of the works He has for us - that He prepared in advance for us to do.

How about a take-away assignment for today?

If you feel a little nudge inside you today, even if it seems like something strange for you to do, but is good and lines us with the way of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control), ROLL WITH IT and see what happens.  God uses His people as His hands and feet in the world!  For we are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Have fun loving and serving the Lord with joy today!

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