Ephesians 2:10 (ESV) 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:1-10 is often called the “autobiography of every Christian.” Verses one through three speak of man’s works and then is abruptly interrupted in verse four with the intervention of God and all that follows through verse 10 is about the works of God in the believer. Verses 0ne through three encapsulate the utter failure of man and four through ten the complete success of God in grace and mercy.
This passage also confronts the idea of a “works” salvation. It stands in opposition to the self-righteous acts of man to earn salvation. It runs counter to the intuitive understanding of the natural man, who in his conceit, thinks he can earn salvation through his own righteous acts (Romans 9:11; Ephesians 2:9; Titus 3:5). In verse 8 it makes it clear that “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”
But the workmanship of God does not end with initial salvation. It looks to the whole of the sanctification process. Our life in Christ does not start and end with our conversion experience and then only looking forward to eternity. It also speaks of a life lived out in lordship and discipleship. The good works we were created for in Christ Jesus are manifested in these two arenas.
When we came to Christ, we trusted Him for the forgiveness of our sin accomplished by the work of Christ on the Cross. This saving work was accomplished according to the will and good pleasure of God, and for His purposes (Ephesians 1:3-14) and by the Savior and Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9). We responded to His grace, repenting of our sin, which implies our recognition of His Lordship. We do not make Him Lord, but rather confess (agree) He is Lord. Our faith and repentance is not just a faith in the finished work of Christ but a 180o turn, a change of mind, toward God (1 Thessalonians 1:9), away from sin. This is a clear recognition of Christ’s Lordship.
We are not obedient to make Him Lord, He is Lord leading us to obedience in and to Him as revealed in the Scriptures. Our obedience is a result of grace as the Holy Spirit does a work of obedience in us. The Lordship of Christ brings about the fruits of obedience so that even in that He receives all the glory.
A common definition of a disciple is a learner. In the Scriptures, though, a true disciple is much more than that. Once we come to Christ in salvation we are disciples. There is no second work of grace that makes us a disciple. The work of Christ on the Cross brings about the death of the old man and the birth of the new man who by nature follows Christ (Romans 6:3-6). So, a disciple of Christ is one who has died to the old, is born in the new and has a new heart and desire to follow Christ. We don’t learn so as to become a disciple. It’s not a program, but rather discipleship leads us to self-denial, cross bearing, and the joys of learning at His feet through the Scriptures and worship. So, again, discipleship is also a work of God grace. You are a disciple leading to “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:10 is immersed in grace (vs.8). It is all of grace (Romans 11:6). We are HIS workmanship. He does the work in us, the empowering in us, and He receives all the glory! That is why our Lord said; “You shall know them by their fruits…” (Matthew 7:16). We bear the fruit of the Vine (John 15:1-8). The lost do not and cannot.