“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10)
The Apostle Paul taught clearly that salvation was by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone—that there was nothing in man that merited salvation. Not only in Ephesians did he emphasize this message, but in all of his letters and throughout his ministry. This is the gospel, the “good news” he received from Christ. It is also the gospel Paul would die proclaiming. You see, the gospel of grace that Paul preached stood in contrast to what the religious leaders in his day taught and what he himself had previously believed. It was a salvation based not on grace, but on keeping the Law (a works based salvation). Some 1500 years later, a Catholic priest named Martin Luther would also be touched by this gospel of grace. His life would forever be changed as he would go on to become the seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation.
As clear as the teaching in Ephesians 2:8-9 that salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone, these verses must never be isolated from verse 10. The Bible says we are God’s workmanship, in essence, His “work of art”. We were created for good works. These works are never what merit salvation, they are the natural result of it. God’s work in us will never end in this life. By His grace, let us strive to live for the purpose for which God created us. He is the Potter, we are the clay. Let our hearts be open to God and be “soft” clay in His hands.