PURPOSE: To recognize who we are it will do us good to realaize how we got to who we are, and that we can by no means be independent of God, or separate from good works, but God has prepared the good works “That we should walk in them.”
(John 12:12-19) Jesus came into the city that day because of grace. He knew what awaited Him there. He would enter the city in triumphal presentation of Himself as their Servant King, but He would leave it in shame and defeat; or so it seemed.
Grace is a wonderful word. It is even a more wonderful act. It was Jesus who demonstrated the grace of God, and entered the city of Jerusalem on that day, only days before He was to die.
It was for our sake He went to Jerusalem. The purpose of His going there was to die. The very purpose of His life was that He might do a work of grace, and call all men to His Father, by His death. An act of grace in itself. All our sin laid on His head. All our violence, lust, greed, fear, abominations were on Him from His head down to His feet. All the judgment of God and His hatred for sin were poured out on Him that day; the judgment that was mine and yours.
Grace is what took place from Jesus’s birth to His cross. We have the truth of man and of God revealed to us in Holy Scripture. If salvation were in man’s hands we would be eternally doomed. Salvation is all of God. Grace and faith are God’s freely given to all who will receive it.
v. 8 — We have seen the desperate need of mankind. He is weak and sinful. He is in bondage to sin. Adam sold out the right to freedom and personal relationship with God, but God bought it back.
Grace is the act of God by which He redeems one who sold himself into slavery. Grace is the act of God toward man, of which we are undeserving. In shor, grace in unmerited, undeserved favor with God. Grace is the act of God in which He takes him/her who has nothing, and gives him/her the riches of Christ Jesus.
Because of the sin of Adam man fell from the state of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). God created man for the purpose of His glory. God in His grace is bringing man back to that original position of His glory. Because of man’s fallen condition he is incapable of bringing himself back to God. In his sinful condition man does not seek God, nor can he know Hi. The wicked man flees from God, because God is light, and He exposes all our evil. It is God in His grace who seeks man and draws us to Himself.
It is by grace God brings wicked men to the place of faith and repentance. Apart from this wonderful grace no man or woman could be saved. As previously mentioned, man is out of God’s glory. To be “Saved” is to be restored to that glory. Restored, from a place separated from God, into a personal relationship as sons of God, giving Him glory.
How are we then saved by grace? “Through faith”. What is the origin of faith? Is faith something men can just stir up, or concoct in their own life or mind? Hardly. Faith as well as grace is a “Gift of God”. God’s Word makes it perfectly clear that salvation is all of God’s doing and none of man’s. Faith comes from God – “So then faith cometh by hearing,and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). The Word of God is the means of faith. Who gave us the Word of God? God did. Salvation is therefore, a work of God alone, apart from any work of man.
If we are saved by grace apart from works we are also kept by His grace apart from works. This is a wonderful gift of God.
v. 9 — Should we have any work in our being saved there would be room for boasting. There is no room for boasting except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Galations 6:14).
The Scriptures make it emphatically clear that the works of man are wicked, deceitful, and vile (Psalm 14:3; Romans 3:10-18). the Old Testament prophet Isaiah said, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). So, how can wicked man do any good work to bring himself into a right relationship with God? He cannot. We must totally depend on the goodness and grace of God.
v. 10 — Remember. “We are His workmanship”. This is the key of “Recognizing who we are in Jesus Christ”. From the moment God called us to Himself He has been working in us, transforming us, from conformers to the world, into the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29).
The “Workmanship” can be described and thought about like a master carpenter. He has plans for a house, and he has a clear vision of what that house will look like inside and out. He works with that vision in mind, and when it is complete it is just as he had seen it, even before the foundation was poured.
God has a plan for your life, and He knows just how you are going to look, inside and out. He works in your life daily until you are completed. In completion you look exactly as He planned. You have been changed, conformed into the image of His Son Jesus.
We have been saved for the purpose of “Good works”. Whereas, before we were redeemed by grace, we practiced the works of darkness, but now being redeemed by grace through faith we are “Created in Christ Jesus unto good works”. These works are the very works of Jesus Christ. They are not works which save us , or keep us saved, but they are the fruits of His grace and Holy Spirit (Galations 5:22-23).
These works were prepared by God in eternity, for those who are saved to walk in them. These works are the desire of every child of God. These works are works that glorify the Father and exalt the Son.
For every born again soul there is a hunger, a passion, and a drive to feast on the riches of Christ, and to love God more than anyone or anything else. There is always a struggle between doing what might be good for the wrong reason, and doing what is right for the glory of God.
To walk in these “Good works” is the work of Jesus Christ and His glory.
Remove the barrier that keeps you from God. That barrier, more often than not, is your own selfish ambition; doing good deeds in order to be seen by men; doing good deeds in order to absolve your own guilt, and to pay your own debt of sin.
God says, “The debt of sin is paid”. He paid your sin debt by the cross and the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.
Quit depending on your works. They stink in the nostrils of Holy God. They are filthy, and they are what keeps you from God, His Son and forgiveness.
Remember Paul’s words to the Galations – “I am crucified with Christ”. Reckon yourself dead to sin because of the cross of Jesus Christ, but alive in Him because of the resurrection – believe child of God. Then, He will work in you the works of the Lord Jesus.