Thursday, June 6, 2013
What Are We Created For?
Eph. 2:10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
In this letter to the Ephesians we find this short sentence that explains so much about who we are. We are God's creation! There is no doubt from whom we come -- we come from God and from God alone. We were created in Christ Jesus -- through Jesus' creative abilities we have been made and we were made with a purpose. We were created to be God's holy people. This was God's intent in his creation and we, as his people are to reflect Jesus Christ, doing good works in the world. This is interestingly placed right after the writer has made it clear that we are not saved by works. The place of good works is simply in the life of the Christ-follower who has been transformed and now does good works because their original condition or state has been restored. Because we are saved, we now do good works because we are becoming God's Christ-like children, as he originally intended. This was God's plan for all of humanity. To be God's holy people means that we are in a right relationship with Christ, reflecting his very nature and thereby engaging in the world by doing good works. Salvation results in a radical transformation of our daily lives as we participate in God's mission here in this world. This was God's plan for creation.
This is a week in which I am blessed to soak in the teaching of Dr. Diane Leclerc and Dr. Sam Vassel. I literally get to have my heart and mind stretched from morning until night. Over and over I have been reminded this week that God's intention for us as his holy people is to have our hearts so filled with his love that it excludes all else. And this love will not allow us to remain static in our relationship with the world or those around us, but instead, it must engage the love of Christ in action. We are created to be God's holy people who will, out of the overflow of God's love in us, do good works. When we are filled with the love of God there is nothing that can stop us from doing good works for it will simply be our nature.
These good works of love include the righting of relationships. We must work to be in a right relationship with God. We cannot take our relationship with God for granted. This is a relationship which must be fed and nurtured on a daily basis or it will shrivel up and die. There must be spiritual discipline which takes us to the thin place where we experience communion with our creator. It is in these moments that his heart becomes our heart and his desires become our desires and we understand how and where we are to be active in the world.
There must also be right relationships with others. Does the world truly look at Christians and say, "see how they love one another?" Or have we been so busy finding fault with one another that not only are there no good works among Christians, but there is no way that Christians are sharing the love of Christ with the world? We are picking each other apart over politics, theology and practices until there is little unity. Shouldn't there be a core which unites God's children together and allows for differences of opinions in some matters? The enemy doesn't want God's children to be united, he wants us to be divided! We are created for good works, not just for what we believe are the "needy" of the world around us, but we are created to be doing good works for one another, loving and building one another up until we are united in the love of God. When that happens the enemy cannot come in and divide us.
Those who are saved are also transformed to do good works, for this is God's original intent for his created order. There is no way that a follower of Jesus Christ can simply come to church to worship and then go home and do nothing. This would be a defective Christian! And God's goal of holiness for his people is an active holiness lived out in doing good works. It reaches out and touches the world around us in the same ways in which Jesus would be touching the world. This is what we were created for and this is what it means to be truly human. To be restored to be a reflection of the image of Jesus Christ, reaching out to the world as God's ambassadors within this creation. I find the mission rather exciting and challenging. We are not to do good works to be saved, but once we are truly saved there is nothing we desire to do but good works for we are now in Christ! Thanks be to God.
Lord, thank you for the blessed joy we have in being in you. Please, help me to participate well in your mission. Amen.