One of my new favorite things to do is to creatine scripture art. I will see a verse, an image will pop into my head, and then I have to draw it. For me it has become a way to meditate through a verse and think through the allegories. So when I read Ephesians 2:10, the image on the left is what came to mind and what I drew (If you would like a printable version of this image, scroll to the bottom). The verse says,
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
But what exactly does it mean to be God’s masterpiece? I thought we could take some time to explore that phrase a little bit.
Using context to help understand Ephesians 2:10
To understand scripture, you have to begin with context. What is God talking about in the verses around the scripture in question? The context generally gives you some significant clues for interpretation. In this case, the context is talking about who we were before we accepted Christ and who we are after Christ. As it says in Ephesians 2:1, before we were dead in trespasses, but then came grace as is mentioned in Ephesians 2:8.
The context tells us something important about Ephesians 2:10. It is not talking about original creation, although I don’t think anyone would argue that when God made the world and everything in it, that it wasn’t a masterpiece. However, to get a deeper understanding of Ephesians 2:10 by looking at the context, we see that it is talking about our spiritual rebirth that comes only via Jesus Christ. This idea is echoed in II Corinthians 5:17 where it states, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (To read two other studies that show the importance of context read my blogs, Essential Oil Fit for a King and When Jesus Broke Racial Barriers: The Woman at the Well.
Digging into the Greek.
Let’s dig even deeper. For my drawing, I use the version of Ephesians 2:10 from the New Living Translation which uses the word “masterpiece.” The English Standard Version (ESV) and others use the word, “workmanship.” Both masterpiece and workmanship are translated from the Greek word “poiēma.” Does that word look familiar? Yes! Our words poem and poetry are the modern English words derived from this Greek word. The word literally means, “something that has been made” but used in the context of making something creative like poetry or artwork or a masterpiece!
It is not about our outward appearance.
Now let’s put it all together. At that point when we accept Christ as our King and Savior, God skillfully and creatively makes us into something new, but not for the purpose of being looked at or admired. It is for the purpose of us doing good works, of bearing fruit. If we are to manifest the beauty of what God created, then it will shine through our speech, our behaviors, our relationships, etc. The beauty of who we are is not in the outward appearance, but in the simplicity of loving one another and fruitfully living!The beauty of who we are is not in the outward appearance, but in the simplicity of loving one another and fruitfully living! Click To Tweet