This Week's Focus Passage

God is Doing His Will

Focus Passage: Ephesians 2:10

‘For we are his workmanship’

For we are his workmanship:according to Paul elsewhere, in Romans 8:28-30, we may reasonably presume that we are even now being conformed to Christ:

And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

What in the world is God doing? That question has undoubtedly been asked very many times over very many years by very many different individuals. The answer is that God is doing His will; according to Nebuchadnezzar after he had come to himself, God is doing, or doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what doest thou? Yet the question remains, what is it that is according to His will? In the verse under our consideration, Paul declares that we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them. See how well this correlates with the Romans passage above.

Paul insists, when writing to those of the church in Ephesus, upon the necessity of good works in the life of the believer. Yet he is equally insistent that these necessary good works are in no way meritorious; they are not the believer’s contribution to his salvation. Paul has already clearly asserted that the salvation of God is by grace alone, through the instrumentality of faith, which is the gift of God. God demands from the one coming to Him, but He gives that which he demands; He is the giver of faith. In the language of the early church father, Augustine, ‘Grant what thou commandest and then command what thou wilt.’ God is to receive all the glory for our salvation; for the building of His church, for the bringing in of His kingdom, for the gathering in of every single one of His own elect children. Yet He is a God who uses means, or secondary causes in order to accomplish His designs, while He remains ever and always the primary cause of all things that work together for the good of all that He has determined. Even as we read of this sort of outworking of His designs in the account of the woman at the well of Jacob in the fourth chapter of John’s recounting the activities of Jesus, the Son of God. Most of us will recall how that when Jesus came to Jacob’s well, He was wearied with his journey and therefore sat down by the well. As it happened, a woman of Samaria came to draw water, and Jesus had that famous conversation with her which resulted in the salvation of a great many of those from her city, other Samaritans. She believed on Jesus;

Sheleft her waterpot, and went away into the city, and saith to the people, Come, see a man, who told me all things that ever I did: can this be the Christ? —John 4:28-29

Many of her neighbors came to faith in Christ; they knew indeed, they confessed, that this Jesus is the Savior of the world. Now we know that they could only make such a confession as the result of God the Holy Spirit’s having regenerated their hearts, giving them faith to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. But, nonetheless, how many secondary means were made use of before that regenerating grace was given? Although it was certainly the plan of God to save these folk from before the foundation of the world, and we could therefore assert that their salvation began when God placed them in Christ, there were yet means to be put into motion in the outward activity of bringing them to God through faith in Christ.

Perhaps the earliest visible evidence of means is to be discovered at the beginning of John’s fourth chapter. While some of the actions taken may seem at first sight to have no bearing upon the plan of God, in retrospect they surely do. When therefore the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John he left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs pass through Samaria. (John 4:1-4) Apparently, Jesus making and baptizing more disciples than John provoked the Pharisees, perhaps to hostility, perhaps making it wise for Jesus to go to Galilee. But this was the beginning of Jesus returning to Galilee. The next thing we read is that He must pass through Samaria. But must He really? The antipathy of Jews to Samaritans was such in those days that Jews would go out of their way to avoid going through Samaria. Yet the inspired document informs us that Jesus must needs go through Samaria. It is difficult to account for that need other than the need to meet a certain woman at a certain well. So Jesus, by this means, found Himself at the well of Jacob at the very hour that a woman of Samaria came to draw water. Through these means, her life and the lives of her fellow townsmen was gloriously intersected by the Savior of the world and the saving grace of God.

She was indeed His workmanship. She was created in Christ Jesus for good works which began their display immediately when she went back to her city and told all her neighbors whom she had met. It is only fair to assume that these were but a beginning of the good works which God afore prepared that she should walk in them. This Samaritan woman was one that was also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son and we see her reflecting Him immediately. Had Jesus not needed to pass through Samaria, there would have been no saving of this woman; no saving of her village, but our sovereign and Almighty God had determined all and every means when He determined to save these people. How many secondary means did He employ to save you; to save me?

David Farmer, elder,

Fellowship Bible Church


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