We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works. Ephesians 2:10
Writing in The Atlantic, author Arthur C. Brooks tells of his visit to the National Palace Museum in Taiwan, which contains one of the largest collections of Chinese art in the world. The museum guide asked, “What do you think of when I ask you to imagine a work of art yet to be started?” Brooks said, “An empty canvas, I guess.” The guide replied, “There’s another way to view it: The art already exists, and the job of artists is simply to reveal it.”
In Ephesians 2:10, the word handiwork, sometimes translated as “workmanship” or “masterpiece,” is from the Greek word poiēma, from which we derive our word poetry. God has created us as works of art, living poems. However, our art has become obscured: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins” (v. 1). To paraphrase the words of the museum guide, “The art [of us] is already there, and it’s the job of the Divine Artist to reveal it.” Indeed, God is restoring us, His masterpieces: “God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive” (vv. 4–5).
As we go through challenges and difficulties, we might take comfort in knowing that the Divine Artist is at work: “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). Know that God is working in you to reveal His masterpiece.
What are some of the ways that you, as God’s artwork, have become dimmed? How do you feel He’s working in your life these days?
Creator God, thank You for making me one of Your masterpieces.
Ephesians 2:1–10 contains three significant shifts. First, Paul speaks of a shift from death to life: “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” (vv. 4–5). The second shift is connected to the first. When we were brought from death to life, our actions changed. We shifted from following “the ways of this world” (v. 2), being “disobedient” (v. 2), and “gratifying the cravings of our flesh” (v. 3) to “good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (v. 10). Finally, Paul switches between the second person you and the first person us. This unites all who call on the name of Jesus into one family.