The Great Omission?
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Today, we come to the final verse in the passage we have been studying so carefully. Verse 10 reads: "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Notice the word "for" (in Greek, gar). This word makes a clear grammatical and logical connection between verse 10 and verses 8-9, which focused on salvation by grace through faith, not works. Verse 10 will complete the thought by revealing something further about who we are in Christ and the role of works in our lives.
Even though this verse is obviously connected to the preceding verses, it has often been neglected by Christians, especially those of us who are Protestant. We have been so excited (rightly) by the truth of salvation by grace through faith that we have (wrongly) failed to follow Paul's thought to the end. You are probably familiar with the passage known as the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20, "Therefore go and make disciples . . ."). I'd suggest that Ephesians 2:10 might be called the Great Omission.
In the next few days, I'll carefully explore this verse with you. For now, however, I'd encourage you to read it, reflect upon it, and pray about it. Be sure to read it in context, as a completion of Ephesians 2:1-10, especially verses 8-10. As you do this, consider the following questions:
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How does the inclusion of verse 10 in this passage affect your understanding of what it means to be saved by grace through faith? What in this verse encourages you? Perplexes you? Intrigues you? How might your life be different if you took the truth of this verse seriously?
PRAYER: Gracious God, thank you for the truth and power of your revelation. Thanks for those passages in Scripture that are like good friends, ones we know well and love. Thank you also for those passages that surprise us, even for those that unsettle or trouble us. They help us to go deeper in our knowledge of you and in our faithful response to your grace.
As we pay close attention to Ephesians 2:10, speak to us through your Word and by your Spirit. Give us ready minds and open hearts. Amen.
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.