“For it is by grace, you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ~ Eph 2: 8-10
Once upon a time The Darling, who is my Knight in Shining Armor, asked me to join him in a life long union of marriage. As a token of his heart, he presented me with a treasure, a beautiful diamond ring. Oh, how it sparkled! I kept it clean, and learned to use a drop of alcohol on it after cleaning, to make it sparkle even more. I used my left hand as much as possible so that it would glimmer and shine and catch the eye of poor innocent bystanders, who would hear about my love story if they said anything at all about my ring.
I still wear it. I still know the story behind it, and I am living the love story. I am still blessed in marriage. But I don’t pay as much attention to my ring. When someone else comments on it, I am almost surprised. I don’t treasure this treasure like I used to.
We treat the opulence in this treasured passage in Ephesians in a similar way. We know the jewels of truth. We love them. Yet we take this treasure trove for granted and forget to its value. Maybe if we focus the light on it, and watch it sparkle, we will remember the love…that gifted us with riches….
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9
We have already received an abundant wealth of encouragement in Ephesians, gazing at the treasure trove of truths that Paul enumerates. We do not leave those behind; rather we will gaze through them, as a jeweler gazes through a loupe at the gems he inspects. We gaze through the truth that all individuals who have been saved, have been saved by grace through faith. Old Testament. New Testament. All. Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. The LXX translated favor as grace. It was grace through faith that saved Noah. Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Abraham “aman”…this word is translated faith almost as often as it is translated believe…because what we believe in is what we have faith in. By grace through faith, Abraham was saved.
By grace you are saved.
You are. In the present tense.
Saved. In the perfect tense.
The grace that saves me this day, is the grace that saved me at a particular moment in my past…and…the effects continue to every moment of my present. To every moment of every present moment, whatever present moment I am in. I was saved, I am saved, I will be saved.
That I might become rich.
The word through is a preposition that means going back and forth, all the way across. It is a word that pictures successfully crossing by way of something. What is the something? Faith! Faith is the channel that grace travels by medium of to save my soul. God’s grace is His leaning towards me, His enablement…Himself. It is not my faith that saves. It is my God that saves. Faith as small as a mustard seed can be the channel of a torrent of grace.
This is a gem that we have seen counterfeited. It is delusory to say that having faith saves. A soul may have faith that lighting incense before a statue will bring them eternal blessings, but that is fraudulent. It is grace that saves. Many individuals have channels connected to artificial treasure rooms, or empty warehouses because they have faith, but what is it faith in? In addition, many souls have faith, in faith. To declare, “I have faith”, therefore I am rich, is a fictitious faith. There is no activity that earns any grace. There is no faith that earns any grace. Faith is a channel for what is totally provided for according to the riches of His glory.
That I may become rich.
And that not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
That. What is that, “that”?
“That” is us striking gold…
“The grammatical gender of the word ‘that’…cannot refer to the preceding ‘grace’ or ‘faith’, both of which are feminine nouns, nor can it refer to ‘are you saved’ which is a masculine participle. Instead the neuter ‘that’ refers back and embraces the entire foregoing ‘grace, are you saved,’ and ‘faith’”
(KJV Bible Commentary: Nelson)
“That” means it is ALL a gift, NO PART of it is my work. It is treasured gem presented to me, totally paid for by my Eternal Knight In Shining Armor, that I only have to willingly receive.
That I may become rich.
I received a treasure, a diamond ring. And AFTER I received it, THEN I did something with it. I showed it. I cleaned it. I wore it.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them..
There is a fortune for us in the word “workmanship”. It is the root for our English word “poem”. It speaks of the work of a master craftsman, a design by an artist. Grace does a masterpiece work in us. But even here, or maybe especially here, the emphasis is on Him. The Greek order…”Of Him indeed, we are workmanship”…points to Him.
I am not just any work of any master craftsman. I am THE work of THE MASTER craftsman. I am an epic poem. I am a MASTERpiece. I not only HAVE a treasure, I AM a treasure!! Don’t cover up the great work you are. Don’t put a mask on a masterpiece.
That I may become rich.
For good works. Prepared beforehand. That we should walk in them.
In addition to BEing a work of art, God has a plan fro me to DO a work of art! He has plans for me! His plan is that I should stay within (walk in) the sphere of His good works. Jesus said that only God is good. James echoed that all good gifts come from God. I am to stay centered in Him. Walking.
Walking is just a repetitive action taken over, and over, and over. It only has two steps…I just have to do them again, and again, and again. Here is a free peak into a future blog…Paul says that the two steps are…take off…and…put on. Over. And over. And over. Seven times Paul writes in this letter about our walk. Seven times of telling us the steps are over, and over, and over.
Walking with the King. Walking IN the King.
That I may become rich!
Echoes Of Encouragement From Ephesians (VII)