While the word workmanship in Ephesians 2:10 is a beautiful word—For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them—the word created is even more striking.
While similar to the Greek word behind workmanship, the one behind created (ktizō) speaks of creation in a deeper way. It is the word often used in the Septuagint (the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament) to translate the Hebrew word bara, “to create from nothing,” as in Genesis 1:1. Non-Christians today, and tragically even some Christians, speak of “self‑improvement,” “self‑help,” “self‑image,” and many other “selfisms.” But the principle we see in our text is that God created the believer from nothing. Think of it! What were we before Christ came into our lives? Nothing. Each of us was a worthless lump of clay, dead in trespasses in sins—no value, no form, no purpose. But God has created us!
Everything we are and everything we will ever be is because of Jesus Christ. It’s not our experiences, our education, training, or our talents; rather it’s Christ. Without Him we are nothing; without Him there is no purpose or meaning to life. How this thought opens up 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (emphasis added). We who live here in Meeker are pretty biased toward the beauty of this country. And who of us has never marveled at the intricacies of the human eye or a new born baby’s fingers and toes? But there is something that is far more beautiful than those—a Christian. A child of God is the most beautiful of God’s creation, for we are made in His image.
The story is often told of the rowdy, disruptive young boy in a Sunday School class who continually frustrated his teacher. One morning the teacher asked him, “Why do you act like that? Don’t you know who made you?” To which the boy replied, “God did, but He ain’t through with me yet.” Indeed, God is still working on each of us.
And what is the main tool with which God molds us? It is, of course, His Word. As Paul declared to the Thessalonians: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (2 Thes. 2:13, emphasis added).
As a pastor, I often hear people say, “Oh, we want a good music program in our church.” Music is certainly a wonderful thing. I love music and am myself a musician. But music does not bring growth. It is the proclamation of God’s Word as Truth, the teaching of doctrine, that brings growth.
I am convinced more every day that the main reason, if not the singular reason, that Christians do not grow and mature is because they do not feed on the Word of God. Why are Christians cantankerous, rebellious, worldly, undiscerning, and a host of other things? It is because they are not feeding on the Word of God. Tragically, this is often the pastor’s fault; many evangelicals and fundamentalists are not teaching the depths of God’s Word, deferring instead to entertainment and other modern more “relevant” methods of ministry. In other cases, however, it is the fault of Christians whose minds are just not set on spiritual things. God cannot work in us if His Word does not have first place in our hearts. It is primary through His Word that God works IN us.