The Essential Work

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

If Jesus says in John 6:29 that “the work of God is to believe in the one he sent”, then where does being good fit in? How can we know that our good works aren’t our ticket into heaven? Doesn’t this passage say that we are “to do good works”? To find our answers, let’s look at our verse in its greater context:

  • For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  -Ephesians 2:8-10

What a relief! Our salvation depends not on our works, but on God’s grace. You see, in mercy God looked on our inability to “be good enough” and rescued us by the ultimate good work of Jesus on the cross. It is our faith in that “gift of God” which saves us and makes us right before God.

So what about our good works, why are we told to do them? We do good works in gratitude to God and imitation of Jesus. We are given joy and meaning in our lives as we go about doing the work of God. Good works don’t save people, but saved people do good works.

What are you relying on to make things right between you and God?


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