By W.P. Campbell
I remember the one and only acrylic painting I attempted. It was a masterpiece. I wanted others to enjoy it and I hung it on the wall in my workshop.
In Ephesians 2:10, we read, “For we are God’s masterpiece” (NLT). The Greek word used for masterpiece is found in only one other place in the Bible, Romans 1:20, which reads,
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made…”
When God made the world, it became and remained an expression of His person. So it is with any piece of art. When Michelangelo took blotches of color and spread them onto a plain white canvas, he fashioned unimaginable beauty that arose from within his person. When he sculpted plain chunks of marble, he chiseled away to release what was inside the stone and inside his heart.
The Greek word for masterpiece or handiwork, is “poema.” It sounds like poem, and that’s what it came to eventually mean in English. Michelangelo was able to take ordinary words and set them in a line to craft poetry. Each new word linked with the prior to form stanzas. Each stanza was massaged for just the right blend of nuance and resonance. Like a gentle stream, meaning and sound flowed in his poetry to fill the reader’s ears, minds, and hearts as with liquid gold. His poetry, his sculpting, and his paintings were masterpieces. They were expressions of his inner being.
God made the world to express his personhood (Romans 1:20). How much more will you and I be expressions of his eternal plan and glorious personality. Paul states that we “have been seated” with Christ in the heavenly realms so that He “can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace” (Ephesians 2:6-7, NLT). Seated is in the aorist (past) tense in the Greek, suggesting it has already been done.
The promised end God has for us is guaranteed to be fulfilled. As Paul told the Philippians, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6, ESV).
Even the “good works” we attempt for God in the world are part of God’s handiwork in us (Ephesians 2:10). When we see this, we no longer find ourselves striving in desperation to please God. No longer do we compare ourselves with others, thinking we need to be something more. Rather, we surrender to God’s work. We rejoice in God’s promise. And we understand that what God is doing in our lives and in the Church universal is something very beautiful. Indeed, he is creating a masterpiece.