This is week three of our look at walking with Christ, or walking in the Spirit, and how such a walk contrasts with the temptation to “lie around in the Spirit,” lounging and relaxing in Christ – floating with the currents, wherever they may take us.
Such is not the way of the Christ-follower. Rather, we walk! We take deliberate, purposeful steps in the execution of those works God prepared in advance for us that we should walk in them.
This is going to be a “scripture-heavy” blog posting, so you may want to grab your Bible and keep it handy to verify what I’m presenting. As always, don’t just take my word for it.
A People in Motion
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, ESV
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16, ESV
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. – Galatians 5:25, NIV-1978
Clearly, the disciples of Jesus Christ are a people in motion. We are active, giving, serving, accomplishing those tasks that God has placed before us. That is where we walk.
…so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; – Colossians 1:10, ESV
The Purposeful Artistry of God
When the apostle Paul says we are “God’s workmanship,” he uses the word ποιημα (poiema), from which we derive our word “poem.” Each of us is an artistic endeavor of the creator of the universe. We are that “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17), but that creation or conversion experience is not the end of the story. We are re-created with a purpose.
Not only did God re-create us, and ordain works in which we should walk, but he continues to work within us, empowering us to be fruitful in the work he has prepared for us.
…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. – Philippians 2:13, ESV
And consider this from the writer of Hebrews:
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. – Hebrews 13:20-21, ESV
The Working of Grace
If I am coasting with the currents in Christ, I am not fulfilling the calling of God on my life – the God who created me in Christ Jesus FOR good works. We know that we are saved by grace through faith, and not by works so that no one is able to boast (Ephesians 2:8-9), so we are not saved by grace plus works, but rather by grace that works.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. – 1 Corinthians 15:10, ESV
Clearly, Paul worked, and grace worked with him. Later, Paul said…
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8, ESV
Grace abounds to us for the very purpose of enabling us to perform good works that glorify the Father.
James says we demonstrate our faith by our works (James 2:18). Even the Heavenly Father is not kicking back and coasting. In response to some who criticized him for healing (working) on the Sabbath, Jesus said…
…My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working. – 1 John 5:17b, NASB
Works With an Objective
And just as we are saved with the purpose of doing these good works that God prepared for us, the works themselves have a purpose. This isn’t just busywork. This is work with an objective, a goal.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16, ESV
We cannot boast in our works as though they saved us, and neither can we boast in our works we do because we are saved. In both cases, our works shine like conspicuous lights giving glory to our Father in heaven.
I believe the point has been sufficiently made, so let me just close with a flurry of reinforcing references.
- We are to be “fruitful in every good work” (Colossians 1:10).
- We are thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).
- We are “zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14).
- Our works are “spiritual sacrifices” offered to God (Hebrews 13:16).
I know this was a long blog posting. Thank you for sticking with me to the end. Resist the urge to coast, brothers and sisters. Grab your bat, step up to the plate, and take your swings!
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Victoriously in Christ!
Facebook Author Page
Twitter – @DamonJGray
Bible Gateway Blogger Grid