“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Explanation and Commentary of Ephesians 2:10
This powerful verse shows the interplay between our good and free will to do things, especially good things, and the role God plays behind our will. We are created by God, for God, and in God. We are created for the purpose of action. The action we should take is the action that God had in mind for us to take when he designed and built us. When we are embarking on a good work, it will certainly be an act of will, but we should pray for God’s blessing in it and that it is what he wants us to do. That is, it aligns with not only his ways and his Word, but that it is one of the things written for us to do. When we have done the good work, we should then thank God in heaven that we were able to accomplish it, not only that we were successful, but that we had the energy to attempt it in the first place.
We are not saved by “good works.” We are saved by faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins. We are saved by his good work before we are called to our own good works. This life is a free gift by grace from God is both just and the justifier (Ro 3:26) of those who will be saved. But this does not mean that we are not called to do good works in Christ. Indeed we are called to it and we will be rewarded, sometimes in this life, but certainly in the next (Mt 25:21).
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Ephesians 2:10
This comes as a result of what was stated in verse 8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” The good works he is about to tell us we are saved for, are not what we are saved by.
#2 “…we are God’s handiwork, created…”
God made us fearfully and wonderfully (Ps 139:14) according to his design for us. He is an expert craftsman who makes no mistakes of design or build.
#3 “…in Christ Jesus…”
This was the case at our creation. Christ was there at the beginning. Through him, all things were made, and in him was life (Jn 1:3,4). But not only that, when we were made new, that is, by the Holy Spirit and our regeneration in Christ we were created anew, new creations (2 Cor 5:17). This is only accomplished in Christ, in his finished work.
#4 “…to do good works,”
We don’t just pray a prayer and wait to die so we can go to heaven. We are saved for a purpose. Jesus came to restore what was lost in the garden. This means that we will now, as new creations, saved by Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit, be able to function as man was intended to function; as a thinking, reasoning, living, being, pursuing life for the glory of God and doing the good things he calls us to for the good of the world, the sake of his glory, and expansion of his kingdom. This has nothing to do with earning salvation, which was given freely, but is part of the privilege of the life eternal and being bearers of the divine image.
#5 “which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
This speaks to the mysterious interplay between our free will and his sovereignty.
Bible Study on Ephesians 2:10
Expert Overview of Ephesians
Biblical Translations of Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
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.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.