God’s Surprising Masterpiece
“For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
That word “masterpiece” in this version is translated as “workmanship” elsewhere. Actually, the original word is the same as our word for “poem.” As a writer I take real pleasure in thinking of myself as God’s poem! As a stained glass artist, I’m also thrilled that he creates original works of art on a minute-by-minute basis.
Did you ever think of God as an artist? In fact, he is obviously a very gifted artist, as we see every evening in the stunning sunsets here in Florida. But did you know his greatest masterpiece is you?
The Bible clearly states that humans are God's masterpiece, his crowning achievement. The very first book of the Bible describes God’s creation of earth, and he creates people as the pinnacle of that creation – made in God’s own image.
The Maker’s Mark
I remember a story from my childhood about an old violin found in someone’s attic. The owners were planning to sell it for anything they could get out of it. Before the day of the planned sale, an old violin player stopped by to see the instrument and began to play it. The violin produced one of the sweetest melodies they had ever heard. Turns out the violin was a Stradivarius – and it was priceless.
In the hands of a master, it’s true value was detected. The “worthless” instrument held great value because of it’s maker. Ephesians 2:10 speaks of the same principle. God is our creator, and our value lies in that fact alone. Whether we become a famous author, a wealthy businessman, a skilled basketball player, or we die as a homeless person in an alley, we have unique value because God made each of us to be his masterpieces.
Trophies of Grace
In the Ephesians passage above, the author is referring to God’s original creation of people. In Genesis we learn that God called that creation, including humans, “very good.” But we have managed to turn that beautiful masterpiece into something less lovely, like the Stradivarius left in the dirt of the attic. God’s masterpiece is hidden beneath the layers of sin we have added. Someone needed to restore the glory of the original creation.
Fortunately, our artist is also a restoration specialist. This same passage declares that we are “created anew” by God himself, in the form of his son Jesus. The same artist who made us what we are re-created us, through Christ Jesus, to be that original, priceless, one-of-a-kind masterpiece he desired. What hope this should give anyone who is struggling with his or her own value!
A Work in Progress
The second half of the Ephesians verse states, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing. God didn’t just work this miracle for our benefit... The rest of the verse clearly explains his purpose in creating his masterpieces: there is a unique and God-designed plan for each of us. We are given talents and skills which make us uniquely qualified to reflect God to the world. Because we are uniquely designed for this task, no one else can do it as well as we can!
After the first man and woman were created, sin marred God’s image in them and people no longer fulfilled their divine purpose. Fortunately, God had a plan to restore what was lost. That re-creation of his people is a process, not an overnight change. It will take a lifetime to be completed.
God knows what He wants us to be and do, and he “paints” us in that form, adding layers, painting details, to complete the masterpiece of grace which is each one of us.
For some of us, finding our specific, God-designed, purpose takes a long time. We aren’t sure where and how God wants to use us. That’s where a good church and Christian friends come into play. Many times, others see the gifts and talents in us long before we are aware of them ourselves.
Whatever stage of the process you find yourself in, be encouraged – you are a masterpiece in the making, and God is proud of you!