2015-02-21 / Religion

For more than heaven by him who created heaven

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 ESV)

We Christians tend toward extremes. Some of us talk and think so much of heaven that we are of no earthly use.

Some of us talk so little of heaven that we miss the wonder of what’s in store for us.

The real measure of maturity is to keep our eyes on him who sits enthroned in heaven.

Whether here on earth or there in heaven, he should be the object of our attention, the focus of our faith, the wonder in our worship, the commander of our calling and the Lord of our living.

The truth is we are made for more than heaven. Have you ever thought of the simple logic of it all? If we’re only made for heaven, then God would take us there the moment we yield to him and are quickened to new life by him.

No, we are made for more than heaven. God saves us, gives us new life and makes us a new creation for more than the reason of avoiding hell or going to heaven. He saves us to “…know Him and the power of His resurrection…” (Philippians 3:10 ESV)

We are made to know God in this life.

Furthermore, eternal life isn’t something we go somewhere to get; we don’t go to heaven to live forever.

No, dear friend, Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3 ESV)

We are made to know God now, not just in heaven. God gives eternal life in this life, or we go to the grave spiritually dead with only the expectation for eternal spiritual death. Beloved, we are made alive in Christ for more than heaven.

Writing to believers in Ephesus, that’s exactly what the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 2:10; we are given this new life “…for good works…” Let’s take a quick look at that.

Be sure of this, good works do not save a single soul, but every truly saved soul does them. John Calvin said, “It is faith alone that justifies, but faith that justifies is never alone.”

That’s a succinct way of saying our good works do not save our soul, but a soul that is saved, a soul that walks with God by faith will have the desire to also serve God.

Another way to clearly understand this truth is to say good works do not result in salvation but salvation results in good works.

John R. W. Stott said, “Good works are indispensable to salvation— not as its ground or means, however, but as its consequence and evidence.”

Salvation is God’s “workmanship” alone. He alone can save.

In the preceding two verses, Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)

Revel in that a bit; slow down and think about all that this means. If any is saved, it is by the work of God, not by our own work. We believe God the Father that the work of God the Son is enough and he counts that to us as righteousness and sends God the Spirit to seal us and send us into this world to do good works for His glory.

Him who made the heavens calls all who come to him by faith in Jesus Christ his “workmanship.” We are the work of God and made to do the work of God.

This is not a call to simply join the church roll, but to get rolling being the church.

This is not a call to simply wait until we die and go to heaven; no, friend, this is a call to have our entire lives made new and live out the purposes of God in this world for his glory as we enjoy him in the process.

Those who come to God in Christ are indeed made new. We are not made only for heaven. We are made by him who made heaven to enjoy him on earth or in heaven and to serve him on earth and in heaven.

Is your faith alone? Is there in any consequence and evidence that God is alive in you? Are you doing what he’s made you to do?

Tim Bowes is executive director of Roxboro Youth For Christ. Questions and comments may be sent directly to Bowes at twbowes.lightsteps@gmail.com

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