Created For Good Works

Created For Good Works

Day 2 – Created For Good Works

Read Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 1:6

Extra Reading: Luke 15

Salvation comes by grace through faith, not works. This is one of the key foundations of the Christian faith. This is the truth that caused Martin Luther to splinter from the Catholic Church and spark the Protestant Reformation–the key theological truth that separates Christianity from every other religion in the world. Paul was clear to communicate that we are saved by grace through faith, BUT… (here’s the part that confuses people) we are created for good works. The truth is, good works still have their place. Good works are still valid because we are God’s workmanship. His poiema. The poem that He is writing. The creation that He is forming. The masterpiece He is building.

Works are the result of our salvation. They come from an overflow of a heart in love with Jesus. The one who is in love with Jesus desires to do good works, not in order to earn favor with God, but simply because he wants to please his Father–not to earn his affection or attention, but simply to bring a smile to His face. We don’t have to earn it.

Trying to earn God’s grace is like the little boy who, in attempting to earn his dad’s love and affection, spent loads of his dad’s money at Chuck E. Cheese in order to earn a prize to give to him. The prize was, of course, only worth a fraction of the cost that was actually spent (again, it was his dad’s money to begin with). All along the father was trying to show his son that he loved him regardless of the son’s effort to please him.

Sure, the analogy breaks down. But here’s the point: We can’t take the grace of God that’s been freely given to us and try to somehow turn it into a means of earning favor with God. It doesn’t work that way. It was God’s to begin with. And He offers it to us freely, but not so that we can turn it into a works-based system of earning His favor. The grace of God is a free gift. When we accept it, the natural response is worship. And worship rightly practiced turns into good works with the proper motivation–love for and gratitude to our Heavenly Father.

C.S. Lewis said, “Obedience is the holy courtesy required for entering into the divine relationship.”

“Obedience is the holy courtesy required for entering into the divine relationship.”

In other words, obedience is the respect we pay to God for the relationship He initiated with us. This is the idea Paul is getting at. It’s the “created for good works” part. We are not saved by our good works, because there’s nothing we’ve done or ever could do to earn it. But now that we are saved by grace, good works naturally follow. Our obedience is something that flows out of that sense of awe and wonder for who God is. It flows from a heart that fully appreciates the grace of God.

You and I are a work in progress. God is faithful to complete the work He started in you. As He’s filing off the rough edges of our lives, may we respond to His shaping of us with proper obedience, motivated and inspired simply by His loving grace toward us.

Challenge Questions:
● What motivates your obedience and good works? Is it out of love and gratitude for the Father? Or is it an attempt to earn His favor?

● How has your relationship with your earthly father, for good or bad, affected your motivation for obedience and good works toward your Heavenly Father?

● How does your view of yourself validate or contradict the truth that God is not finished with you? In other words, do you see yourself as so far gone that God could never use you? Do you truly believe that you are God’s workmanship? Do you believe He is going to be faithful to complete His work in you? Don’t swallow the lies of the enemy. God is not through with you!