I am God's Workmanship

I am God’s Workmanship: A Joint Post

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10,ESV

From Susan:

In Greek, “workmanship” is poiema, the same word from which we get our English word “poem.”  Poiema is also translated as “creation, handiwork,” and … this is my favorite … “masterpiece.”

Think of humanity’s masterpieces: Bethovan’s Ninth Symphony. Handel’s Messiah.  Michelangelo’s “David.”  Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”, and J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.   All of these works have two things in common – they are amazing, and they did not create themselves.  Bethovan composed his Ninth Symphony while deaf.  Michelangelo spent three years chipping away at the marble block to create “David.”  Leonardo da Vinci had to dip brush into paint and apply paint to canvas to give us the “Mona Lisa.”  And every novel has an author behind it, writing, editing, rewriting and second guessing plot structure and word choice.

A masterpiece is what is produced when the master works.  I was no masterpiece to start with.  I was just a wayward girl, intent upon her own desires, sinful and lost.  But, Jesus died for me, and rose again to give me new life.  He re-created me into His masterpiece, his piece of work.

But He didn’t do it just to hang me on the wall and enjoy me.  That’s where the metaphor of artwork breaks down. Jesus has a greater purpose.  He has a job for me to do, “good works,” and he’s formed me to do them. 

From Jen:

Ahhh… what would the world be without Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, or Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, or the whole spectrum of Jane Austen? Or what about Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, or the works of Monet? Or even our modern brushes with technological genius—Bill Gates’ Microsoft, Steve Jobs’ Apple, and that Zucker-kid’s Facebook.

Masterpieces all. But none of them just spontaneously happened. They had a creator, and that creator had a plan. An idea on the outset of what they were working on, and an intended purpose for that masterpiece on the back end.

And to think, we are called God’s masterpiece. Created with purpose, designed for His pleasure. And better, He not only had a plan for the creation itself, but a plan for that creation’s meaningful work. Sometimes I lose sight of that. Sometimes I feel abandoned in the chaos and get lost by the unexpected bends in life. But He never does. He has made me with love and given my life purpose by design. His masterpiece—amazing! I wonder, what will that look like this week?

I am Made New

The Cover and the Title Page

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea existed no longer.  I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: “Look! God’s dwelling is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  Death will exist no longer; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away.” Then the One seated on the throne said: “Look!  I am making everything new.” Revelation 21:1-5

A new heaven and a new earth.  I could never get my mind wrapped around that concept until I read C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle.  It is a parable of the book of Revelation, and it caps his Narnia series, which I relish.  In all the other Narnia books, children leave England for adventures in Narnia, but in the end, they must go back to England again.  Not in The Last Battle.  Finally, the children get to stay – in the new Narnia.

C.S. Lewis writes: “And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” 

The first time I read those words, I wept, because they put this broken world into perspective.  This life, with all its pain and disappointment, this 70-some-odd years a typical person spends on earth – it’s only the cover and the title page.  The real story will begin when God flips it to the left.  The new heaven and the new earth (and a new me) begin Chapter 1 of the true adventure we will live with God. 

I am unspeakably thankful that the new story will not contain death, grief, crying and pain.  For all of eternity.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.