Drinking Deeply

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 at 9:44 AM

Rethinking memory verses: Eph. 2:8-10

Along the lines of the spiritual giftings (which will come with the Convergence review), here is an example of where I think the Spirit is actively working in my life today. Not that it's an example of how holy I am or anything (oh hey look! the Holy Spirit is working in me!) but just a day to day example of how I believe the Spirit is working and speaking today, in myself and in others.

During my quiet time today, I was reading through Ephesians 2:1-10, which I love so I'll quote it here.
1And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- 3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
But today, one thing jumped out at me, and I attribute it to the workings of the Holy Spirit in illuminating the text to grant me deeper understanding and insight into God's Word.

Eph. 2:8-10 reads:
8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
For some reason, I had always understood verse 10 to be a warning against taking "salvation by grace alone" too far, namely that Christians are to bear fruit in the form of good works, with a secondary warning to remember "but those fruits are prepared beforehand for us by God." Now, I still believe that view is biblical and is found elsewhere in Scripture, but something caused me to think again about that view of this text.

Today the word "For" at the beginning of verse 10 jumped out at me. "hmm, 'for' means 'because' ...what is Paul giving a reason for?"

"not a result of works so that no one may boast..." Why can't anyone boast in their works? "because we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

And suddenly I understood. The passage isn't really encouraging us to do good works because God created us for them, the passage was giving a reason why good works don't contribute to our salvation - namely that good works can't contribute because it is God who provides the good works for us to walk in, so we get no credit in doing good works.

Now, included in these good works that no one can boast in is the realization of it in this passage (which I would claim to be a good work, since it leads to a greater knowledge of God's revelation). Thus I cannot boast in this insight as if it were mine, but it is rightfully God's, prepared beforehand for me to walk in.

To God be the Glory forever and ever.

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Blogger Frank Martens said...

You say the following and should be in BOLD and Underlined. Because it's the main point and because THAT's EXACTLY what it's talking about:

And suddenly I understood. The passage isn't really encouraging us to do good works because God created us for them, the passage was giving a reason why good works don't contribute to our salvation - namely that good works can't contribute because it is God who provides the good works for us to walk in, so we get no credit in doing good works.  

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Blogger Puritan Belief said...

This is a great verse which I love to quote. I enjoyed how you explained it to.

I guess my understanding comes from the NASB in this verse which puts it like this.

we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them

Other translations use the word should which I suppose people could use to say that we can reject to walk in them.

I am not sure what you or your readers think but I would be interested to know whether you think that they can reject to do a good work the lord has ordained beforehand for them to do. Or if they didn't do it then the lord never ordained it in the first place.

In regards to your conclusion that we can not boast because they were the Lords in the first place is so true. Another great thing I like about good works is that the Lord actually does credit us with these good works not so that we can boast but because it is us the redeemed actually doing them for example the Lord tells the sheep you fed me you clothed me and what do they say "When did we do this" I think this goes hand in hand with this verse because we say I don't remember doing this good work for it was all of you Lord but the Lord will say No my child you clothed me you fed me etc.  

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Blogger ts said...

i found your blog by searching for "giftings" on blogger. (it's in the first sentence of this post.) i'm doing some research on the word, since all the english translations use gifts.

specifically, i'm trying to find out where people learned to say "giftings" and why they use that word instead of gifts.

what i've found so far is that most people who use giftings are pentacostal/charismatic (i am as well). if you have any thoughts, please email me at deuteronomy6v5 at gmail.com

thanks.  

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