I am not an artist. Not even one part of me. But I love and appreciate beauty and the time and effort it takes to create something. When I see the works of art by others, see their initial sketches and the progress of the work, I am always awed.
One does not simply wake up and create a work of art like brushing your teeth. It takes time, it takes planning, it takes a creative perspective and it takes vision.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Eph 2:8-10
Workmanship is shown in a masterpiece.
In generations past in other countries, craftsmen were valued for their skill and artistry. Today we think craftsman equals making things we find on Pinterest. Not so historically. A craftsman was a highly skilled artist. There were levels of training and expertise that proved you were worthy of the title Master. You had a final project to submit for evaluation by other masters in order to attain your title of Master. This final project was called your masterpiece.
Your workmanship was exhibited in your masterpiece. You poured all your skill into the quality of your work.
See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship. And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, and the ark of testimony, and the mercy seat upon it, and all the furniture of the tent, the table also and its utensils, and the pure gold lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering also with all its utensils, and the laver and its stand, the woven garments as well, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, with which to carry on their priesthood; the anointing oil also, and the fragrant incense for the holy place, they are to make them according to all that I have commanded you. Ex 31:2-11
We see from scripture that expert workmanship, craftsmanship, the completion of a masterpiece was important to God. He only allowed those of the highest skill to work on and oversee all the creation of every part of the tabernacle, His tent of meeting, His house of worship where He choose to make His dwelling with Israel.
Think of all the skill and wisdom and spiritual discernment that He destined for this task of building a place to worship.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Think about the expert and perfect Master Craftsman using His divine skill, wisdom and discernment in creating YOU.” quote=”Now think about the expert and perfect Master Craftsman using His divine skill and wisdom and discernment in creating YOU.”]
Each piece of the tabernacle had a specific purpose for God’s glory and worship. Nothing was extraneous. There was vision and reason behind everything created. Even if that purpose was to exhibit the beauty of God. So too, He has created US for a purpose, for HIS purpose. He has created us as His masterpiece with all His skill and creative design. We aren’t just a piece of fluff or something worthless to toss aside. We are His workmanship. And He designed us with a purpose.
Good works: a means to an end or the end itself?
So often we hear (hopefully) well-intentioned believers say that we must continue in good works to keep our standing right with God. I’m here to say that is a LIE. We do not earn His favor by doing good.
- His favor was freely given because of the cross.
- His favor was freely given out of love.
- His favor was freely given as a gift.
- His favor was freely given through grace.
We never started our salvation journey by good works and we don’t end it with them either.
But that doesn’t mean that good works have no place in our lives. They are the purpose for which we were made! He designed and fashioned us, chose and redeemed us so that we could live out His love to others. We are to be the living expression of the Lord of Lords. Our good works are the end for which we were created. Every time we step into a good work that God has prepared for us, we shout GLORY TO GOD with our very lives!
Seeking to attain God’s favor through good works tries to focus the glory on us.
Choosing to follow God’s lead in living out His good works gives all the Glory to Him.
Accept the fact that we are His masterpiece. But it isn’t about US and OUR beauty. We are simply the reflection of the Master Craftsman and echo His Glory throughout eternity!