A natural diamond is a rather unassuming stone when comes from the ground. It doesn’t sparkle or glitter. There is little that draws the eye to it. But place that stone in the hand of a master jeweler and soon something wonderful appears. With careful hands the craftsmanship cuts and polishes the diamond into the shape, shine, and fire that we associate with its name. In the same way, God cuts and polishes our life in Him until we shine with the glory of Jesus’ light.
This is the last article in the series of who we are in Christ. Throughout we have been looking at the different facets of who we are Christ with the understanding that, like a diamond, we shine brightest when we embrace them all. Along the way we have considered sonship (including the ladies), servanthood, being the redeemed, sheep of His flock, the bride, part of the body, a branch, a temple, living stones, and proclaimers. Our last facet of who we are in Christ is that we are His workmanship.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, 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 ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as 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 so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:4–10, NASB95) Notice that all of the action with the exception of the last phrase is done by God. He made us alive. He raised us up with Him. He seated us with Him in the heavenly places. It was by His grace. It is His gift and not payment for services rendered. We are His workmanship. Our only “todo” is to walk on the path of doing “the good things He planned for us.” (NLT) In other words, we are to shine. We do not sparkle because of who we are, or because of our heritage, or because of what we’ve done, or because we have the right abilities, but because of what Jesus has done and is doing in us.
For some reason when I read that we are God’s workmanship I see a craftsman carefully, patiently, and lovingly working their craft. It could be a potter at the wheel. Or a carpenter with their carving tools, or a writer carefully placing the right words in the right place. Their creation is not simply piecework but a reflection of their heart and their craft. And who gets the glory? The clay, or the wood, or the ink? No. The glory and praise go to the artisan that created something wonderful whether that creation is to be used, to be admired, or both. And we are God’s chosen media that is being crafted and molded every day by His careful, patient, and loving hands to be both useful in whatever way He desires and to bring glory to Himself. It is His work. Our job, if you will, is to welcome His touch and to function according to how He is shaping us.
As I close this series on the many facets of who we are in Christ I’d like to underscore a couple of important observations. First of all, we need to embrace all of the facets. Each one needs the others for balance and to enhance its light. A one or two faceted diamond does not shine like one that is fully shaped. Secondly, we are God’s craftsmanship, completely His but not completely formed. It may be cliche’ to say but God is still working on each one of us. Our role is to let Him shine in our hearts more and more each day and to do, to function, in whatever way He desires for His kingdom and glory. Lastly, If God is still working on us, He is working on others as well. We are often quick to give ourselves a pass on some dark area, but quickly condemn the same in others. Instead, “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23–25, NLT) Let us hold on tight to each and every facet of who we are in Christ and encourage one another to love and good deeds which shine with the glory of Jesus.