Each week we LIVESTREAM the Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, Lord's Day morning public worship at 11a, and Lord's Day p.m. singing (3p) and sermon (3:45), and the Midweek Sermon and Prayer Meeting at 6:30p on Wednesday

Thursday, May 14, 2020

2020.05.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 2:8–10

Questions from the Scripture text: By what have we been saved (Ephesians 2:8)? Through what? And not of whom? Of whom is it a gift? If it is a gift of God, what is it not of (Ephesians 2:9)? What does this prevent anyone from doing? What are we, according to Ephesians 2:10? What has been done to us in Christ Jesus? For what were we created? From where did these good works come? For what purpose did God prepare these good works beforehand? 
In Ephesians 2:1–7, the apostle wrote about our utter deadness in sin as the black velvet backdrop against which shine so brightly the diamonds of God’s rich mercy, great love, and exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness. Ephesians 2:6 took us back to Christ’s seat, from Ephesians 1:20–23—to the highest height of heaven, whereupon God has placed this dazzling trophy of His grace.

But that is not the only place where it is displayed. God displays the glory of His grace down in the nitty gritty of our lives on earth as well, both in our justification and in our sanctification.

In our justification, God is pleased to display His glory in what we do not do. We do not save ourselves; we are saved by grace. Grace supplies righteousness, because we have only guiltiness to offer. Grace absorbs wrath for us, because we have nothing worthful with which to atone. Grace supplies life for us, because we have only death in us. All of this is supplied in Christ, but we are unable even to produce from ourselves the faith that makes us Christ’s and Christ ours. So grace supplies the faith too; even that is not of ourselves.

In our sanctification, God is pleased to display the glory of what He has done through what we do. Having invalidated all boasting by saving us only through union with Christ, the Lord begins to turn that black velvet into a mirror in which the dazzling glory of Christ’s goodness is reflected.

Those who began dead in sin actually begin to do good works! Not meritorious, to be sure, but genuinely good. God beings demonstrating His workmanship (us, Ephesians 2:10) by the good works that we do. A Christian is a good-works-doing creature that did not previously exist, created in the same Christ through Whom the original creation was made.

God is displaying His workmanship when believers submit and learn under their shepherd-teachers (Ephesians 4:7–12). God is displaying His workmanship when believers study doctrine to get it right instead of “celebrating diversity of thought” (Ephesians 4:13–14). God is displaying His workmanship when no church member is dispensable, but the God-assigned role of each is understood to be used by Christ in building up all the others (Ephesians 4:15–16). God is displaying His workmanship when believers refuse to be controlled by desires and feelings, but rather control them with truth (Ephesians 4:17–24). God is displaying His workmanship when believers do good to one another and take care not to offend one another, not to be quick to be offended, and to be quick to forgive offenses (Ephesians 4:17–5:2). God is displaying His workmanship when believers refuse to live in the fleshly or careless way of this dark world, but as the children of light whom they have been re-created to be (Ephesians 5:3–21). God is displaying His workmanship when believing wives submit to their husband (Ephesians 5:22–24). God is displaying His workmanship when husbands give themselves for their wives’ sanctification (Ephesians 5:25–33). God is displaying His workmanship when children honor and obey their parents in the Lord (Ephesians 6:1–3). God is displaying His workmanship when fathers take the lead in their children’s discipline and instruction as something that belongs to the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). God is displaying His workmanship when employers and employees serve Christ first and foremost in all workplace interactions (Ephesians 6:5–9). And that is why all of these works must be supernaturally sustained by God through spiritual means that He has appointed (Ephesians 6:10–20).

Where is this great glory of God displayed? In the most mundane, everyday lives of those who began as darkness but whom He has created anew as children of light. Good works are essential, even before our needing to be holy for admittance into glory, because God has given them such a central place in displaying His glory in our sanctification. God prepared them beforehand for this!
What specific good works has God prepared beforehand for you to display the glory of His grace?
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace!”

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