“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:4-10 ESV)
Mercy. Love. Grace. Kindness. Faith. Salvation. The great attributes that all of humanity aspires to know and experience, yet so few of us truly understand that they are all interdependent upon one another. Mercy extends from a heart of love. Kindness extends from a heart full of grace. Salvation extends from a heart of faith in the Father. Salvation fuels a heart that is filled with love, which feeds mercy. A merciful heart is a kind heart which extends grace. But without faith to be the spark that ignites the fire of salvation, the other attributes are shallow and empty.
It must first begin with faith in the Father and in His word and His promises. He is our Creator. And He created us all for His purposes which He ordained before we were even a twinkle in our Abba’s eye. We were created for His joy, not His judgement. We were created to live lives that are worthy of His grace and love and mercy and kindness. But grace and mercy both imply brokenness beyond merit. Grace and mercy both require us to love one another more than we hate the offense, just as God loves us more than He hates our sin. So much does God love us that He was willing to go to Calvary in the form of His Son, Jesus, to reconcile us to Him and pay the required price for our sin in our place. While we were not created for judgement, our sin requires judgement in order to facilitate reconciliation and the sacrifice of Christ on a trash pile outside of Jerusalem satisfied this debt.
But unless we have faith in this satisfaction and are reconciled to Him, we will never understand what it means to experience genuine forgiveness, grace, and mercy that begins the cycle of love and kindness to our fellow man. Without faith in Him we can never understand the required transformation of our heart to even be capable of genuine grace and mercy and Godly kindness that looks beyond our human weaknesses to see the person beneath the brokenness.
Until we look upon each other as the workmanship of the Almighty Abba and Creator of us all, having faith in His goodness, we will never see the potential value that we all have for the Kingdom to bring peace and hope to a broken world that is beyond human repair. Our humanistic efforts have failed and fueled our pride giving rise to our hatred that reigns in the hearts of man through all of time. Perhaps it is time we finally examine the evidence before us all and admit that our humanity is broken and that we need Someone greater than us to make us whole again.
WE are HIS workmanship
CREATED in Christ Jesus for GOOD works
which GOD prepared beforehand
that WE should WALK in them
We. Not you. Not I. We. All of us together are His workmanship. All of us together, regardless of our gender, ethnicity, our national origin, our skin tone, our disabilities, our abilities, our sin, our weaknesses, our failures, our hopes, our dreams, our selfish desires, our sacrifices, our imaginings, our fears, our ambitions. WE ARE ALL HIS WORKMANSHIP!! WE ARE HIS!! HOW DARE WE TREAT ANY ONE OF HIS CREATION ANY LESS!!!
This year I have cried more tears than I can count. More tears than I can remember over the last decades. I’ve seen friends become gravely ill. I’ve lost a grandfather. Many of us lost a hero to our faith. We’ve all lost a connection with our neighbors. And our nation and world is burning down around us because of fear, anger, and the baser emotions that God has called us all to overcome.
We are His workmanship. We are created in Christ Jesus for good works, not destruction. He prepared our works for us beforehand, but we are ignoring His mandates to kindness, love, mercy, and grace. And I dare say there are precious few of us that are walking in those mandates.
It is my prayer that I am continually re-examining my own heart to ensure that my faith that ignited my salvation fuels my heart with kindness and love so that I might show grace and mercy. Those are the good works that we were created for. Anything less is rubbish and fit for the fires of hell.
To all my brothers and sisters and friends of color, I love you with a love that can only come from the Father above. I offer you peace that can only come from faith in Him. I offer you a hand of friendship and arms of comfort. I share your pain. I cry out to our Father to take it away. And I hear my Abba gently saying to my heart that it is our responsibility to perform the good works that He prepared so that We might ALL walk together in them in kindness and love, showing grace and mercy to one another, for the sake of His Kingdom.
To my brothers, sisters, friends, and family who wear the blue and carry the badge. I love you with a love that can only come from the Father above. I pray peace that can only come from Him. I pray wisdom upon you all that you might execute the responsibilities of your office to the best of your ability. I pray for your safety as you go about your duties to serve and protect those in your charge. You are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should all walk in them, for the sake of His Kingdom.
To our elected leaders and officials, I love you with a love that can only come from the Father above. I pray that Godly wisdom will find its way into your hearts and minds to do the right thing. I pray that you recognize that we are ALL God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which He prepared beforehand that we should all walk in them. That includes you as well as you consider your legislations, as you consider the enforcement of our laws, as you ruminate over the judgements that you hand down. I pray that your hearts are ruled by kindness and love that are informed by a faith that produces salvation in your own hearts so that you are capable of extending transformative grace and mercy.
To the Church at large, I love you with a love that can only come from the Father above. I pray that your faith is genuine and real, and manifests the fruit of repentance that is characteristic of the salvation you profess. I pray that your hearts are fueled with kindness and love that extends grace and mercy from our Abba Father to all around you. For this is our mandate. We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which He prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
I can never say it enough. We are His workmanship. We are created in Christ Jesus for good works. He prepared those good works for us to walk in them. It’s high time that we all get up off our our couches, turn off our televisions, seek out our neighbors, and show the world what the love of God is really all about. Until we do, nothing will ever change.