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*Intro* -- Some of you may remember the days when volatile and profane Earl Weaver was the manager of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team.
Weaver was nothing if not entertaining as he proved almost every time his team was on TV.
Well, one day he was talking with a born-again outfielder named Pat Kelly.
Somehow, during the course of the conversation, Pat Kelly said indicated that one of the great desires of his heart was to learn to walk with God.
True to form, Weaver replied glibly, “With all due respect, Pat, I’d rather have you walk with the bases loaded.”
I like that story because to me Pat Kelly represents someone who personifies the fact that as Christians, our walk and our works go together.
If they don’t there is every chance that we are not a Christian at all.
The other side of salvation is always a life lived for God.
The whole idea that one can be saved and then live as he or she wants is totally foreign to the Bible.
Let me put it another way.
One who is truly a Christian will want to live a righteous life.
It’s who we now are and reflects how Paul describes Christ’s expectations in Titus 2:14 when he says: who (Christ) gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Zealous for good works.
May I ask, are you zealous for good works this morning?
Does doing the will of God consume you?
If not, you should definitely be asking why not, because the Bible presents that one who belongs to God will innately have this desire.
We are finishing this section of 10 verses in Ephesians 2 that we’ve titled Amazing Grace.
In verses 1-3 we studied Dead Men Walking – our condition without Christ.
Then in verses 4-9 we studied, But God . . .
We looked at how salvation is by grace through faith and all of God.
But this section did not end at verse 9, see?
Amazing grace doesn’t end at the moment you are saved?
That’s just the beginning.
Grace keeps right on going and what comes next is every bit as much in the plan of God as our original calling, election and salvation.
So verse 10 is all about our new walk as a believer – from walking in trespasses and sins in verse 2, we’ve been transformed to a new walk in good works in verse 10.
What a transformation!
It is every bit as much of the package as salvation and lack of an increasingly godly walk is a sign that all is not right.
So verse 10 is all about works, good deeds, efforts prompted by grace and the Holy Spirit and we need to understand them to get the full picture of salvation.
You say, “I thought salvation was by faith alone.
How did works get its foot in the door, anyway?”
Good question.
Let’s look at it following an outline devised by commentator William Hendriksen – Works: Rejected, Confected, Expected and Perfected.
When it comes to good works, the first thing we must understand is that they are rejected.
That is, they cannot effect salvation.
Verse 9 tells us that our plainly salvation is not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
If you have been with us the past few weeks, you almost certainly understand that the Bible teaches in no uncertain terms that there is nothing -- positively, absolutely nothing we can do to get in good with God, to deserved eternal life, to accept Him.
It is all Him – even our faith.
Any works that we bring to trade for salvation -- however wonderful from a human perspective, however generous, however kind, however commendable, even however sacrificial -- cannot measure up to His standard of perfection.
God cannot accept any less and still be God.
Think of it that way.
God can either accept your wonderful but flawed life – or He can go on being God.
But He cannot do both.
A leading manufacturing company developed a new cake mix that required only water to be added.
Tests were run, surveys were made, and the cake mix was found to be of superior quality to the other mixes available.
It tasted good, it was easy to use, and it made a moist, tender cake.
The company spent large sums of money on an advertising campaign and then released the cake mix to the general market.
But few people bought the new cake mix.
The company then spent more money on a survey to find out why the cake mix didn’t sell.
Based on the results of this survey, the company recalled the mix, reworked the formula, and released the revised cake mix.
The new cake mix required that one add not only water, but also an egg.
It sold like hot cakes and is now a leading product in the field.
You see, the first cake mix was just too simple to be believable.
People would not accept it.
The same is true of salvation by grace.
Human nature wants to add something, but everything we add must be rejected so that God can be God.
The good news is that what we can not add, He can.
And so He offers us the gift of the righteousness of His son if we will only take it.
That’s the way of salvation.
No works that side of the cross.
Now, let’s go to the other side of the cross.
You’ve been saved.
You’ve accepted Christ as your Lord.
You’re in the family of God.
Now, what about works?
Now the picture is different.
Now we will see that while we are not saved by works, we are saved to works.
World of difference there, but that’s exactly what the Bible is teaching here.
So we see first of all that on this side of salvation, works are confected.
Okay, I admit it, I had to go look up the word “confected.”
Fancy word that means “to make or to construct, to form.”
And that is exactly what we find God doing in verse 10: 10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
God is here “confecting” works – preparing efforts and projects and attitudes and ways of living life that will reflect glory to Him.
Let’s look at his “confection” from two perspectives – first the product and then the purpose.
The Product*
What is the product?
Well, it seems clear from verse 10 that the product is “we”.
We are His workmanship.
I suspect that this is not a biblical truth with which you are unfamiliar, but the way in which it is presented here is truly descriptive.
The first thing we should note here is that the word “his”, which is literally “of Him”, is placed first in the Greek text of this verse.
This is done for emphasis.
Paul is hitting hard at the fact that this is all God’s doing.
Reading from verse 9, a literal translation would go something like this.
Our salvation is 9) not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
10) For of Him we are a workmanship created in Christ Jesus.
So, if you are in Christ – if you have accepted Him by faith, you are literally a construction zone of God in Christ Jesus.
Now, you will notice that this is all being done “in Christ Jesus”.
You will recall that we have previously studied this phrase “in Christ” and seen how critical it is to everything in this passage, in this book and indeed in the Bible.
Nothing happens except “in Christ”, that is, based on His death and resurrection.
Our reconstruction starts at the cross.
We see the same concept in many passages.
Just one is II Cor.
5:17: 17) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
So, the fact of the new creation and the basis for it in, Christ, is clear in Scripture.
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