*Workmanship* (ποιημα [/poiēma/]).
Old word from ποιεω [/poieō/] with the ending -ματ [/-mat/] meaning result.
only here and Rev. 1:20.
*Created* (κτισθεντες [/ktisthentes/]).
First aorist passive participle of κτιζω [/ktizō/], not the original creation as in Col. 1:16; Eph.
3:9, but the moral and spiritual renewal in Christ, the new birth, as in Eph.
*For good works* (ἐπι ἐργοις ἀγαθοις [/epi// ergois agathois/]).
Probably the true dative of purpose here with ἐπι [/epi/] (Robertson, /Grammar/, p. 605).
Purpose of the new creation in Christ.
*Which* (οἱς [/hois/]).
Attraction of the relative ἁ [/ha/] (accusative after προητοιμασεν [/proētoimasen/]) to case of the antecedent ἐργοις [/ergois/].
*Afore prepared* (προητοιμασεν [/proētoimasen/]).
First aorist active indicative of προητοιμαζω [/proētoimazō/], old verb to make ready beforehand.
only here and Rom.
Good works by us were included in the eternal foreordination by God.
*That we should walk in them* (ἱνα ἐν αὐτοις περιπατησωμεν [/hina// en autois peripatēsōmen/]).
Expexegetic final clause explanatory of the election to good works.
(2:8–10) The definite article appears before the word “grace” here, pointing the reader back to the same statement in verse 5, and informing him that the writer is to elaborate upon this previously mentioned statement.
The reader of this exposition is urged to go back to the exegesis of verse 5 and refresh his memory as to the total meaning of Paul’s statement, “by grace are ye saved.”
The words, “through faith” speak of the instrument or means whereby the sinner avails himself of this salvation which God offers him in pure grace.
Expositors says: “Paul never says ‘through the faith,’ as if the faith were the ground or procuring cause of the salvation.”
Alford says: “It (the salvation) has been effected by grace and apprehended by faith.”
The word “that” is /touto/ (τουτο), “this,” a demonstrative pronoun in the neuter gender.
The Greek word “faith” is feminine in gender and therefore /touto/ (τουτο) could not refer to “faith.”
It refers to the general idea of salvation in the immediate context.
The translation reads, “and this not out from you as a source, of God (it is) the gift.”
That is, salvation is a gift of God.
It does not find its source in man.
Furthermore, this salvation is not “out of a source of works.”
This explains salvation by grace.
It is not produced by man nor earned by him.
It is a gift from God with no strings tied to it.
Paul presents the same truth in Romans 4:4, 5 when speaking of the righteousness which God imputed to Abraham, where he says: “Now, to the one who works, his wages are not looked upon as a favor but as that which is justly or legally due.
But to the one who does not work but believes on the One who justifies the impious, his faith is computed for righteousness.”
One reason why salvation is a free gift of God and not earned by works, is given us in the words; “lest any man should boast.”
Grace glorifies God.
Works would glorify man.
Commenting on the words, “For we are His workmanship.”
Vincent says: “A reason why no man should glory.
If /we/ are God’s workmanship, our /salvation/ cannot be of ourselves.”
Expositors comments: “We ourselves are a /work/, the handiwork of God, made anew by Him, and our salvation, therefore, is due to Him, not to ourselves.”
The word “workmanship” is /poiēma/ (ποιημα), from /poieō/ (ποιεω), “to do, to make.”
Thus, /poiēma/ (ποιημα) means “something thatis made.”
The words, “created in Christ Jesus unto good works,” Expositors says are “a further definition of ‘His workmanship.’
We are God’s spiritual handiwork in the sense that we were /created/ by Him, made a new spiritual /creature/ by Him when His grace made us Christians.
This new creation was /in Christ/, so that except by union between Him and us it could not have taken place (Eph.
2:15, 4:24, II Cor.
6:15; Col. 3:10).
Also it was with a /view/ to good works.…
We ourselves then having been created anew by God, and good works being the /object/ to which that new creation looked, not the cause that led to it, all must be of grace—not of deeds, and there can be no room for boasting.”
“We were created in Christ Jesus for good works,” and these good works are described as those good works “which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
The word “ordained” is /proetoimazō/ (προετοιμαζω), “to prepare before, to make ready beforehand.”
Vincent says: “God prearranged a sphere of moral action for us to walk in.
Not only are works the necessary outcome of faith, but the character and direction of the works are made ready by God.” Expositors says: “Before He created us in Christ by our conversion, He had destined these good works and made them ready for us in His purpose and decree.
There is the unseen source from which they spring, and there is their final explanation.”
These good works were prepared beforehand “that we should walk in them.”
The word “walk” is /peripateō/ (περιπατεω), “to regulate one’s life, to conduct one’s self, to order one’s behavior.”
“In them” is /en toutois/ (ἐν τουτοις), “in these,” namely, the good works, locative of sphere.
We are to order our behavior within the sphere of these good works.
Expositors comments: “God’s purpose in the place which He gave to good works in His decree was that they should actually and habitually be done by us.
His final object was to make good works the very element of our life, the domain in which our action should move.
That this should be the nature of our walk is implied in our being His handiwork, made anew by Him in Christ; that the good works which are the divine aim of our life shall be realized, is implied in their being designed and made ready for us in God’s decree; and that they are of God’s originating, and not of our action and merit, is implied in the fact that we had ourselves to be made a new creation in Christ with a view to them.”
/For by the grace have you been saved in time past completely, through faith, with the result that your salvation persists through present time; and this (salvation) is not from you as a source.
Of God it is the gift; not from a source of works, in order that no one might boast; for we are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus with a view to good works which God prepared beforehand in order that within their sphere we may order our behavior./
*God’s Amazing Work*
*T*he remarkable flow of thought in the second chapter of Ephesians, leading up to the magnificent statement of verse 10, begins with /Amazing Depths/ (vv.
1–3) as Paul takes us down to the Death Valley of the Soul where all are seen to be dead in their transgressions and sins.
4–7) we are taken up, up and away to /Amazing Heights/, to the very pinnacle of life as we are seated in the heavenly realms with Christ.
This incredible journey from the amazing depths to the amazing heights is capsulized in the /Amazing Grace/ described in verses 8 and 9 — “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”
/Amazing Depths/, /Amazing Heights/, /Amazing Grace/, and now we come to verse 10 — God’s /Amazing Work/: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
In this great statement we see: 1) God’s role in salvation, and 2) man’s responsibility to God.
In regard to the first we will answer the question, what does it mean to be “God’s workmanship”?
And in regard to our responsibility, what does our being “God’s workmanship” require of us?
/WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE GOD’S WORKMANSHIP?/
The word “workmanship” comes from the Greek word /poiema/, from which we derive our English word /poem/.
The Greek literally means, “that which has been made — a work — a making,” and sometimes it is even translated as “poem.”
In one of Sir Walter Scott’s novels he has one of his characters say to another who has just given a beautiful description of a city, “Aha, so thou can’st play the maker yet?”
Then Scott adds a footnote explaining that the ancient Scottish word for “poet” is the word “maker,” which is the literal translation of the original Greek.1
Because of this some have tried to replace “workmanship” (as the NIV renders it) with “poem” — “we are His poem.”
But the result is misleading because the Greek /poiema/ meant any work of art.
It could mean a statue or a song or architecture or a poem or a painting.
The best translation by far is that given by F. F. Bruce: “his work of art, his masterpiece.”2
/We are God’s works of art./
I do not think there is any more exalted description of a believer in all of Scripture.
You and I are God’s works of art — his masterpieces!
God is the Creator.
Nothing exists apart from him.
He brought everything into being.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).
The galaxies, the stars, our solar system are his handiwork.
Yet as wonderful as the cosmos is, it is not his masterwork.
Nature radiates the glory of God.
The very trees on our streets do this if we take time to notice.