For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
Yesterday, we read the two verses that precede today’s. Ephesians 2:8-9 shows us how the gospel enables us to rest from our work, as we know that our status as co-heirs with Christ is secure regardless of anything we accomplish. Ephesians 2:10 shows us that our response to that security is to want to be productive on the Lord’s behalf.
Because working to earn someone’s favor is exhausting. But working in response to unconditional favor is intoxicating.
Furthermore, as Paul makes clear in today’s verse, the very purpose of our lives—the reason we were created and saved—was not to wait around for eternity. Christ made us new creations so that we could “do good works!”
But Jordan, when Paul says “good works” he was talking about giving money to the poor, not writing an elegant line of code, right? Wrong. Of course “good works” implies charitable and evangelical things, but the meaning of ergon (the Greek word for “good works”) is much broader. One commentary says it means “work, task, [and] employment.”
Remember that work was part of God’s perfect world prior to the Fall, and Jesus spent eighty percent of his adult life working as a carpenter. So why shouldn’t we expect “good work” as we typically understand that phrase to be central to God’s call on our lives?
OK, so part of our response to the gospel is to be ambitious for doing “good works” for others. But to what end are our good works meant to be aimed? That’s the question we’ll answer tomorrow.