The question I received asked about Ephesians 2:10, the verse just after a wonderful assurance of God’s grace where Paul says that we were “created for good works.” Doesn’t God expect us to be out doing good works now that we are saved by Him?
3. God performs the good works He wants to see in our lives. Ephesians 2:10 goes on to say that the good works were prepared before we were saved. God is the Initiator of these good works and the primary Worker. We “walk in them”. That means that, as we walk with Jesus, we will participate with Him in the good that He does.
When the disciples of Jesus asked Him how they could go out and do the work of the Lord, He answered by telling them to believe. (John 6:28-29) They were not supposed to go out and do God’s work. They were supposed to trust in Him, live in close relationship with Him, and He would work in them and through them.
Now, we don’t have just one verse that tells us this. In John 15 Jesus describes Himself as the Vine while we are the branches. Then He says “without Me you can do nothing.” (vs 5) The energy, the life-force, behind these good works is His. Paul agrees. In Phil. 2:12-13 we have another challenging passage where Paul seems to suggest that we are to “work out our salvation”. Then, immediately he explains that God is doing the work. The work is happening, in our lives, but it is God who is working. Paul makes his perspective clear in Col. 1:29 when he says that his own effort is “striving according to His working which works in me mightily.” In other words, Paul’s work was the evidence of God’s work in and through Paul.
1 Corinthians 12 teaches about spiritual gifts; the gifts which are used to accomplish these good works. Verse 5 says plainly that God is the One who is working. In fact, spiritual gifts are nothing more than the “manifestation” of the Holy Spirit at work in and through us.
Point 4 is next…