“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:8-10)”
Paul says we are God’s “workmanship”; the Greek word that Paul uses is poíema. The Strong’s Concordance defines it as: a product, that is, fabric (literally or figuratively): – thing that is made, workmanship.
Paul also uses this word; poiema in Rom. 1:20; where he says that the things God has made clearly shows there is a God and he is the author of all of these things.
Poiema; gives the idea of the product made from the weavers loom; much like a tapestry. A tapestry starts out with the weaver having a design already in mind; where each thread is then placed in a calculated spot as to make a desired picture or image.
This word is also the word from which we get our English word “poem”; poems are used in many ways, where they relay the poet’s emotions or thoughts, which stirs emotions or thoughts within the hearer. If this is done correctly it will cause the hearer to enter into, or experience, or share in the speaker’s mood. Some poems are sad, some happy, some speak of love, some are silly, some are serious, but each sends out a specific message from the poet with the hope that it will have a meditating or lasting effect on the hearer. The author in his own way creates a desired picture, image or idea within the hearer’s mind or heart!
“But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass. (James 1:22-23)”
Here James uses a similar word in (James 1:23); the word doer is “poietes”, it is defined as: a performer; specifically a “poet”. James is speaking of a person who not only speaks the words, but acts out what is spoken, as a performing poet does; so in a like manner, we are not to just hear or just say the words of God, but we are to act them out. Paul in Eph.2:10, makes us God’s poem; where we act out or demonstrate God’s good works that he has ordained us to do.
For the most part, many people will never hear the audible words of God’s poems, nor will they read his written word. Therefore, the only way for them to know him, will be what they see through his performing poets.
We are his workmanship; and like the tapestry we should be showing off the evidence that God’s hands has and still is working on us, and we are to bring forth a desired image that God has in his mind and not bring forth some other image.
It would be foolish to say we are his workmanship and there be no proof lived out by the habitual actions of our lifestyle. Anyone can act as if they are godly and moral for a season; even those without God can appear to be or have a form of godliness temporarily. So how can it be seen or proved that we are in fact God’s workmanship, rather than someone who has just put on a false form of godliness? (What sets us apart?)
Looking at God’s whole creation, we can get some idea to the greatness of our God: From the immense and immeasurable size of this universe, to the microcosm of atoms and protons and such.
There are times that we need to break out the telescope just so we can get a closer look, while in other times we need to go to the microscope to see the fine detail that tells of a creator. But no matter how long you look at the creation itself, it can not tell you who he is and what his will is for you just by observation. No, the only place where one can find out just who this God is and what his will for mankind is; is through the scriptures that he inspired to be written. The bible, both the Old Testament and the New Testament are needed so we can see and know that God has a planned purpose for those he calls his own.
We are not called to be spectators, but we are the actors of his will in the earth. We will act out from, whether we are God’s workmanship or if we are someone else’s workmanship.
As a director; he gives his people their cue when it’s their time to play their part and if they are his, then his glory will be clearly seen; and if they are not his, then the glory of God will be missing.
Just about the time one might get a little puffed up within their part in this plan, Paul says God uses the foolish things to teach the things of God.
As we look at scripture, God’s people are not always on their best behavior; in fact God reveals a lot of dirt; Moses kills a man, David takes another man’s wife, then arranges for her husband to be killed; Israel as a nation rebels against the things of God. This is all strange for a God who claims he is Holy & Just; how can these be his people and how can he receive glory through such a people?
(Eph 2:4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.
God through his mercy has allowed time for his plan to come full circle and has given grace to many to show his love for mankind and has given room so repentance can work in the hearts of his people; in order to bring forth his plan of salvation.
If it wasn’t for God’s mercy and patience, there would be no one to enter into his salvation, because no one can stand before the Holiness of a Holy God and live; (no one is 100% perfect, therefore none could survive the judgment of his holiness.)
Since the fall of Adam (and mankind) in the garden; God holiness and judgment has been held at bay by the grace that God would someday pour out. Even before man was created and had a chance to sin; God’s grace was already in place through the lamb slain before the foundation of the world; that grace and mercy is Jesus, God’s Son.
God’s holiness was content through the foreknowledge of the cross of Christ, which has allowed God’s plan to work with flawed and sinful people.
If mankind only understood, that the only thing that stands between them and a Holy God’s wrath; is God’s mercy and patience pointing to this foreknowledge, (knowing this), then mankind would tremble with great fear from the coming wrath of God on sin.
There will be a day when men will cry out for God to show mercy and he will say to them, “I already have, but you rejected him; My Son was my mercy towards you and you rejected him.”
Be sure of one fact, God does not accept sin nor does he turn a blind eye to his own people who fall into sin. God’s grace is there to give room for repentance to be worked, but even through God’s grace one may find that there are still consequences to face because of one’s sin; even after they have been forgiven.
Some consequences of our sins fall onto others as well, even after we are forgiven; the effects of our sins may carry on for others to bear. Just because we have been forgiven; that doesn’t mean that the effects of our sins have stopped.
In fact; some consequences of our sins may carry on throughout our lifetime and beyond into other people’s future, even after our death.
Sin can stop the gifts and callings of God from operating or greatly restricting their operation in our lives. Scripture says these gifts and callings are without repentance. Therefore they may cease to operate (maybe, put on hold is a better term), but they are still there to be picked back up once sin is gone. However, even here sin may have a lasting effect on these gifts and callings.
Some of these gifts and callings are for a particular moment in time; once that time or moment is gone then there is no more chance or purpose for these to work. For example, a call to minister to a man who is dying; once the man has died there is no more time to answer that call; so if you missed it, you can not get that moment or that calling back.
Sin can rob us of these moments. Even though we may repent and get forgiveness from God; man may not forgive; and in doing so your callings will have little to no effect in theses peoples live, because you have lost your credibility before them.
Large ministries have been crippled because of the loss of credibility through sin, even after reconciliation has taken place, their credibility is gone and they may never regain it back!
As God’s poems or tapestries, we want to show God’s glory to the fullest; so let us not allow sin to cloud up our witness for God, and let the world see clearly the handy work of our God, which is to be seen though us.
So if there are times that the godly are not so godly and there are times that the ungodly appear to be godly; just what sets us apart or is to be seen that will allow God to receive glory through his workmanship or poems?
As grace comes into our lives we become something new, something that hasn’t been seen since the fall of Adam. There have been hints throughout scripture about this kind of grace and what would come into our lives, but it wasn’t until Christ’s death, burial, resurrection and ascension, that this kind of grace could be manifested.
Paul says we who are in Christ have been made “new creatures or a new creation”. Each of us becomes a new creation (which will be similar), but somewhat different to the original creation “Adam” (somewhat like an old wine skin which has been renewed to a “new qualitative state of being”), as well as each of us becomes a part of a new creation, called “The Body of Christ” which this has never been seen before and is unveiled only within the pages of the N/T.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2Cor. 5:17)”
Our old nature has passed away and we become something altogether new. Adam was not created with a sin nature, yet he was temped and fell into sin. Like Adam, even though we now have a new nature; we can be tempted and once again fall into a habit of sin; even though the old sin nature is gone, we can still sin if we choose to.
Sinning really does not depend upon one having a sin nature, if it did, then God would have had to create Adam with a sin nature in the first place just so he could sin. Simply put; the Sin nature is the product of Adam’s sin; the loss of the presence of God within man’s spirit. (Man became an empty vessel.)
Through Christ we now can have that presence back within our hearts (or spirits) and this presence in us is the new nature; whereby we become a new creation. God’s workmanship is this new nature in us and like a performing poet we are to act out from this new nature (or act out a new desired image); there will be proof that the Spirit of God is in us, whether that be manifestations of the Spirit (power) or the undeniable favor or blessings of God on our lives, along with our changed lifestyles.
Adam’s sin brought about the loss of this presence; so what happens if we should sin too? (Do we automatically lose this new-found presence?)
Though we may find ourselves in a sin, we do not regain the old empty nature, but through Christ’s atoning blood we are able to retain the presence of God; in other words he does not leave just because one has sinned. But if one does sin; scripture says in: (1Jn 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God’s grace has made provisions for us in case we do sin, but we are not to frustrate God’s grace by continuing in sin or by making sin our lifestyle again. Nor are we to sin; thinking ahead of time, “I’ll sin now and get forgiveness later.” God’s grace is not designed to work that way; nor is that the heart of a truly repentant person; nor the heart of a person who has really made Jesus their Lord.
As God’s workmanship (poem); we should have a story like Daniel’s or Joseph’s, where compromise isn’t a part of their story and the outcome of their lives give glory to God.
Sadly many will compromise and their story will be more like Samson’s or worse. Paul tells Timothy, “To exercise (train himself like an athlete) unto godliness (1 Tim.4:7); an athlete trains to win and prepares and strengthens himself for every obstacle that will come his way; his goal and his passion is to be number one.
The reason many fail when their trial comes, is because they never trained themselves to act the right way every time; they do not stay constant in their actions. Many plan for a good start, but only a few ever train for a good finish.
In the hands of God, there can be the chance of you being a great poem, proclaiming God’s glory; however, sin can turn you into a great tragedy in a single moment, which you may or may not recover from!
God has chosen to place his Spirit within earthen vessels, and it is the manifestation of his Spirit that sets us apart from the rest of the world. It is through this Spirit that God weaves his Son’s image in us; and this image declares the workmanship of God, his Poems; which Paul calls “The Mystery of Christ”, Christ in us, the hope of glory! (Col. 1:26-27)
You are God’s Poems, let the world read and see you!