God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. [Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT)]

naples-botanic-garden“It’s a masterpiece!” I exclaim while admiring my grand’s latest creation before hanging it on the refrigerator. In actuality, it is only a masterpiece in my grandmother’s eyes; to anyone else it is just a toddler’s effort with crayons and stickers. A real masterpiece is a work done with exceptional skill—it’s a supreme intellectual or artistic achievement.  “Masterpiece” often describes an artist’s best work. While my grands need to hone their skills before creating a true masterpiece, we, my friend, are God’s masterpieces—His best work.

Unlike masterpieces like Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon, or da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, we are not to be hung on a museum wall. We are not a beautifully painted piece of canvas whose purpose is to be viewed and admired but not touched. Nor are we a masterpiece like Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Dickens’ Great Expectations or Shakespeare’s Hamlet with words and ideas that, while wonderful, never change. As great as they are, masterpieces like Renoir’s paintings, Beethoven’s symphonies, and Emily Dickenson’s poems are static—the same today as they were a century ago. We, as God’s masterpieces, however, are never finished—our creator will be tweaking, improving and polishing us until our last day.

It’s not enough to be God’s masterpiece and sit passively on the sidelines of life as if in a museum or on a bookshelf, God created us with a purpose—to do the things He planned for us long ago. Yes, we are saved by faith and not works, but we have been saved by God’s grace so that we can do His work.

Creator God, thank you for your grace and loving kindness. As your masterpieces, what it is that we should do for you? To whom should we speak? For whom should we pray? Who needs our love? How can we serve your kingdom? What good things do you want us to do today? Give us willing hearts and send us!

Good works are indispensable to salvation—not as its ground or means, however, but as its consequence and evidence. We are not saved because of works, but we are created in Christ Jesus for good works, good works which God prepared beforehand…and for which he has fashioned us. [John Stott]

For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. [Ephesians 5: 8-9 (NLT)]

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