Ephesians 2:10 says (in the New King James Version) “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” In the English Standard Version it says the exact same thing except for the punctuation being a little different. I’m certainly not a Bible scholar, but let’s break down the verse phrase by phrase that maybe we can understand it better. For a little background the preceding verses, specifically verses 8 & 9, are quite well known. Those two verses talk about how we are saved by faith and not by works. All we have to do is believe in God and have faith that Jesus died and raised from the dead to be saved from our sins. This is a gift from God by His grace on us. We can do nothing to earn salvation. We simply need to accept His gift and believe.
So now on to verse 10: “For we are His workmanship” can simply mean that we are made by God. He is our creator… there was no big bang or evolution that brought us into existence. We were created. In fact in the Psalms in verse 139:13 the NKJV says “You [God] formed my inward parts” and verse 14 says “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” and verse 15 says “My frame was not hidden from You [God], When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.”
The next phrase is “created in Christ Jesus for good works”. We were created to do good works. The good works aren’t how we receive salvation, but they are a product of our salvation.
And that phrase goes right along with the last phrase “which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. God prepared works before we were born that He wanted us to accomplish with our lives. That’s the way He wants us to walk… in the works that He has prepared for us to do.
Now the part of this verse that stops me in my tracks is the first phrase…. “For we are His workmanship”. Simply put, as we said before, He made us. But in the Greek the word workmanship is poiema from which we get our word poem or poetry. In other words, we are God’s work of art… His masterpiece! Now sometimes when I think of all my fears, failures and frailties I feel more like a finger painting or play dough being made into something and then being squished back into a ball so I can fit back in the can. But the truth is we are a work in progress. God is continually working on His masterpiece… you and me. We will sometimes feel like a failure and sometimes feel like a success. But God is using our failures and our successes to make us into His masterpiece. And my masterpiece will be something totally different from your masterpiece. I have different strengths and weaknesses than you do so my masterpiece or poem or work of art that God is creating isn’t going to look just like you as God’s work of art. We need to keep striving to be what God wants us to be and on those days when we feel more like a finger painting or a ball of play dough, we need to remember that we are God’s work of art… in progress!