– Ephesians 2:10
We were created to glorify God and to be a people for Himself as the Apostle Paul writes, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved. And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God” (Rom 9:25-26), so God saved us only because of His love for us because there was nothing in us that merited our salvation. It’s only by grace through faith that we were ever saved.
Most believers know that it is “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8), so it is not anything that we did, and really, there is nothing that we could have done except turn to God and trust in Christ. That’s what God had in mind so that nobody would be bragging about why they were saved (Eph 2:9). Honestly, I really don’t know why God saved me except for what the Word of God says, “In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will”(Eph 2:4-5). That’s also why He created us.
Part of the reason He saved us is to use us as a means to save others, but it must be clearly understood that it is “not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph 2:9). God desires that we be conformed into the image of His Son by the renewal of our minds (Rom 12:2), and not into the image of a good person who will do their best. Sounds like works doesn’t it? We are truly God’s workmanship; He is the potter and we are the clay, and He is shaping us and conforming us (slowly) into the image of the Son of God, Jesus Christ (but of course, infinitely short).
James rightly says that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). It’s not a matter of works saving us, but a saving faith that naturally produces works. The Apostle Paul writes, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10), which he writes right after he mentions that salvation is a free gift of God. He also says no works were involved in our saving, but next he adds (in Eph 2:10), that God has prepared works for us to do so that when we encounter opportunities to serve, we’ll “walk in them.” This is the work of the Holy Spirit. These works were laid down long ago, before we existed (Eph 2:3-11), just like Esther, “for such a time and place as this” (Esther 4:14).
The moment we start thinking too highly of ourselves because we’re saved and others are not, we may feel we’re too important to walk in these “good works.” Especially in things like visiting the sick in the hospital, ministering to prisoners and their families, especially during holidays, or even emptying the diaper pail in the nursery or cleaning the toilet. Are any of these below our dignity? Are any of these a “lesser” work than others? If we think so, we must humble ourselves. I had better too if I think like that! I’d say they’re even better works, because these are the things that no one else will do, and that may be just what God wants you to do. A servant’s greatness isn’t determined by how many they serve, but by Who they serve.