The good works that God has prepared for us
We saw in the article “Righteousness and the Bible” that we are righteous without any work. As we saw there: the good works were not nor were they intended to be the means for somebody to get saved or become righteous. The means for our salvation and righteousness is the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. He did all that was needed for our salvation. This now in no way means that God does not want us to do good works or He is indifferent about it. In contrast, He has already prepared the good works for us. As Ephesians 2:10 tells us:
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
God has already prepared the works He has for us, and He did it with the purpose that we walk in them. Therefore it is not us that prepare the good works but God that has already prepared them for us. We however need to walk in them i.e. to realize them, to do them.
Something else very important: when we believed in our heart in the Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection we were born again and became new creatures. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us: “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation”. Though we were not saved by good works, being new creatures, we were created for, made for the good works that God has prepared for us. See this “created for” (marked with red in the above quotation of Ephesians 2:10) or else “made for”. The same words we would use to say for example: “a car is made (created) for travelling”. “A telephone is made (created) for making phone calls”. “A radio is made (created) for receiving radio signals”. In other words, God, by telling us that we “were created for [made for] good works that he has already prepared for us”, He is telling us that He made us fully able, He has created us for, made us for, it is in the DNA of our new nature to do the good works He has prepared for us. Doing these good works is natural to us, to our new nature, because we were created for them. In contrast not walking in these works would be like not doing what we were created for. It would be like having a telephone that makes no phone calls or a radio that is dead.
We will understand better the meaning of the good works that God has already prepared for us by going to I Corinthians 12. There we read:
I Corinthians 12:27
“you are the body of Christ, and members individually”
And I Corinthians 12:18
“But now God has set the members, one of them, in the body as it has pleased Him.”
Each one of us is a member of the body of Christ with a particular function that was given to him by God. God has set us in the body with a specific role and as it pleased Him. And as in the physical body responsible for giving the orders to the members is the head, the brain, so also in the spiritual body responsible for giving orders is the head and this is one: CHRIST (Ephesians 5:23). The members of the body of Christ, as the members of the natural body, have as mission to do what the head is saying. We are not to decide the good works, the role we have in the body. This God has already decided and prepared for us. What is our mission is to walk in these works, to realize them, to function as we were created to function! If we ignore this, if we choose to close our eyes, then our mission will never be completed. What I want to say brothers and sisters is that although God has prepared for us the works we are to do and although He has put us in the body with a specific role, function, it is US that walk in these works; it is US that we are to realize what the Head is saying. If we don’t do it then nobody is going to do it for us. If we don’t play our role in the body then, as a natural body suffers when some of its members do not function well, so also the body of Christ will suffer. You see Christ is only the Head of the body. He gives the orders, but He depends on the members to execute them. Many brothers have a distorted meaning of what church is and they believe that ministry, doing the work of God, the works He has prepared for us, it is something that belongs to the clergy, to the so called “professionals”. For the rest, our only mission seems to be to fill the pews on Sundays. This is a big mistake. In the Word of God there is no such thing as clergy and laity. What there is, is a body and every brother or sister has been set in this body by God with a specific function. You brother or sister that read this article have a specific function in the body. Do you know it? Do you do what God has set you in the body to do, the good works He has prepared beforehand that you walk in them? Or you just spend your time in the things of this world (that choke the Word of God and make it unfruitful – Mark 4:19), since ministry belongs, allegedly, to the …. professionals? If you brother and sister don’t do what God has created you for, made you for, set you in the body for, then nobody is going to do it. You are unique in the body of Christ, as every member in your own body is unique and absolutely necessary. Therefore if you have not yet found what God has prepared for you, it is absolutely necessary that you find it. It is necessary that you leave the sofa and seek the Lord. It is time to tell Him: “here I am Lord. What do you want me to do?” He has created you for, made you ready, fully enabled you for the good works He has for you. But you need to be available; you need to want to walk in them. If you are not available to God then nothing is going to happen. You will in this case be like the member of the body that though indeed is in the body, it does not communicate with the head. This is a sick member, a member that does not function well. The opposite picture - the picture of this very vivid image of I Corinthians 12 with the body, the members and the head - is the picture of a healthy member that upon the head’s calling it reacts immediately. It is the picture of a man of God who looks unto the head to see what it wants and reacts accordingly and without hesitation. It is the image of the Christian that WALKS in, realizes the works that God has prepared for Him, bringing forth fruit and not allowing the Word to fall victim of the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of other things (Mark 4:19). Such Christians God wants us. Christians that bring forth fruit and, through it, glorify our Father:
John 15:5, 8
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit ..… Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples.”