By CRAIG HARRIS
Ephesians 2:1-10 (NIV): As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But 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 — it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Notice that we are not saved by doing good works, but we were created to do them. We are God's workmanship, his masterpiece if you will, created to do good things that God has planned in advance for us to do. To fulfill some good purpose. But what?
First, we see in this passage that we are made alive in Christ and even seated with him in the heavenly realms. So our first purpose is to be Christlike. Jesus proved when he was tempted that he lived by faith, not by sight. This is our purpose as well. To walk humbly with God, trusting in him each and every day for our needs and desires. Everything is a gift from God and we must realize this. Even our salvation is given to us because of God's great love and the riches of his grace and mercy and kindness. It is not something we earned or could ever earn if we tried.
Second, we find our purpose by walking humbly with God (Micah 6:8). This means we spend time in prayer and reading God's Word. When we do this, we will not follow the ways of the world, but will live by faith and obedience to Christ instead.
This brings us to the third way we find our purpose. We must obey what God wants us to do. This takes faith, but God will give us the faith we need to obey him. Jesus said we will obey him if we love him (John 14:23). God will show us what he wants us to do when we show him we are willing.
Autographed copies of Craig's fiction novel The Dead Peasants File are for sale at Blaser's Books in downtown Palestine. Harris is the pastor at Brushy Creek and Mt. Vernon United Methodist Churches.