Friday, January 28, 2011

Good Works/Fruits!

Eph 2:8-10 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

Paul is pretty adamant in stressing the point that we are freely positioned into Christ as a GIFT by His GRACE (through Faith and not works or any effort on our part).

He goes on to say that we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created IN CHRIST JESUS.
For centuries many have taken it upon themselves to emphasise the "GOOD WORKS" part of this text, and while I completely agree with this fact and truth, I'm emphasising "HIS WORKMANSHIP" and "IN CHRIST JESUS" (I do this because while it is true that God does indeed have wonderful, powerful, liberating works in store for us to be PARTAKERS of, Paul's previous comment eludes to the fact that our works OUTSIDE OF Christ Jesus is actually a dead fruit since our lives are to be found IN Him) - Paul tells the Collosian church that our "lives are hidden in Christ", so it is IN CHRIST that we will discover our good works.

"Workmanship" (Poy-ay-mah in the Greek) refers to being a product or fabric of something/someone, so until we discover who we are as a joint fibre (having the DNA and fullness of Christ Himself engraved into our very fibre) our efforts will be in vain and strenuously laborious. Scripture is pretty clear here that we were not just created, but actually created IN Christ Jesus.

It is very easy to use scripture to control people who are searching for truth, and effectively this is what the church has been subject to at large for centuries, especially when the bible does refer to our participation and outward fruits as such. But what is God actually looking for?

Mar 12:41-43 "And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums.
And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box."

Jesus looks at out heart.
In Mark (as seen above), we see a whole lot of people doing a good work - i.e giving financially to the Lord. Of course to an onlooker judging this, the fruit of giving is clearly visible, yet Jesus points out that the right motive/heart makes the difference.

So how do we get this "Heart/motive"?

Friends, there are indeed many awesome works for us, but I struggle with the term "working FOR Jesus", when in fact "It's no longer we that live, but Christ that lives in us". Our works and fruitfulness are expected to naturally ooze from us, since they are embedded in the fibre of who we are (IN CHRIST JESUS) woohoo!!!

As we saturate ourselves with the truth of a completed work (the gospel of Jesus Christ), we begin to grow in revelation of this powerful reality (our freedom), and a willful response to what we begin to hear spoken in us by Holy Spirit (who is tasked to lead us into all truth), will allow Christ Himself to manifest (through powerful and awesome good "works") - it's not us who work FOR Him, it's Him who works THROUGH us.

Revelation of the gospel will empower us far more than sheer will-power could ever, and as we hear Holy Spirit, let's respond to what He is saying (I simply encourage you).

So let's Press into the finished works of Christ (The Gospel) - soak in it, be saturated with it and drink it up...His pure, undiluted love for you!

Eph 2:10 cannot be read as an instruction to go work, but rather a calling to find our lives which are IN CHRIST (which naturally engraved within it's DNA are the works prepared beforehand).

Be blessed and encouraged!