12 November, 2017

Ephesians 2:10—“… created in Christ Jesus unto good works”

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Eph 2:10).

The Third Point of Common Grace is the teaching that the unregenerate and unbelieving are able, by the operation of a common grace of God, to perform good works in the sight of God—works that are pleasing and worthy of reward.


Prof. David J. Engelsma

[Source: A sermon entitled “Created Unto Good Works”—date: 29/10/2017]

The second clear implication of the text [the first being that we are not saved “because of” good works, but rather “unto” good works] is that unsaved persons are not able to perform good works.

A popular teaching, even in Reformed and Presbyterian circles, is that the ungodly are able to perform good works—good works that may not be as stirring as the good works of the people of God, but works that nevertheless are pleasing to God and good in the sight of God. This is part of the error of the theory of a common grace of God.

Our text (Eph. 2:10) plainly indicates that no unsaved person is able to perform a good work. For one thing, works according to the text are the result of being “created.” In order to perform good works, one must be “created” by God—that is, saved by God in His sovereign grace. If one is not created by God or saved by God, the performance of good works by him is an utter impossibility.

In the second place, the text teaches that our performance of good works is “in Christ Jesus.” We are God’s beautiful workmanship, which means that we do live a life of good works—but we do this “in Christ Jesus.” We do this in the power of our union with Christ Jesus. How in the world is it possible then for one who is separated from Jesus Christ—as the unbeliever is—to perform any work that pleases God?

The ungodly, apart from Jesus Christ, can do many things that are impressive and even useful for society. They are able to perform works that outwardly seem to be good, according to the judgment of human onlookers. But a good work in God’s sight, as the Heidelberg Catechism teaches (Q&A 91, LD 33), is one that is done out of a “true faith,” one that is done “according to the law of God,” and one that has the “glory of God” as its purpose—and no unbelieving sinner is able to perform a work that has these criteria. One must be “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” in order to perform good works.



More to come! (DV)

No comments:

Post a comment