Today’s post is by Hilary Buck, a friend who writes for Day-by-Day, an online devotional produced by Gracecom UK. She pastors Grace Communion in Lewes. (Re-posted by permission.)
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:10 (ESVUK)
The Greek word Paul used for ‘workmanship’ in the scripture is one from which we get our English word: poem. So he’s pointing to creative, quality workmanship. Some have thought it should be read as God’s creation of a ‘masterpiece.’ Thinking of ourselves as God’s masterpiece might make us wince a bit when we consider ourselves. What me, a masterpiece? Others might look askance if I claim I am God’s workmanship, let alone his masterpiece. And do I think of myself as a piece of divine poetry?
Great poetry – poetry sales have been booming in these recent years. Thousands of people travel each year to see great works of art – the masterpieces of our minds and hands – in our museums. Take the British Museum: five million come each year; the national Gallery about another five. At the Louvre, over ten million come to see the Mona Lisa alone. Over four million come through the doors of the Victoria and Albert, called the nation’s attic, where only twenty five percent of what they have acquired is on display. Nearly four million go to music festivals here, let alone the numbers that attend concerts.
Enough of statistics. We we cherish the great creative works that have been made in music, writing, painting, sculpture, architecture, and all the crafts. We admire them, we are enchanted and moved by them. But none of them will last forever. There’s only one work of art that will last – and that’s us.
Michelangelo, one of the world’s greatest artists, was asked how he created his sculptures: ‘The sculpture is already complete within the marble block’, he explained, ‘before I start my work. It is already there; I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.’ Of one particular piece he said: ‘I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.’ God is, if you will, carving out the new you and me, into “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).
Jesus said his Father works and he works. And Paul reassures us in Philippians 1:6 that as God has begun a good work in us, he will complete it. The detritus of our way of life, of our old minds and outlook is being carved away, one day to reveal the stunning beauty of us, his new creation in Christ.
Our Father, we give you thanks that you have made us in your image, and now, in Jesus Christ, you are making a new creation—one of perfection and beauty to live with you forever, to your glory.