Last week, we picked back up this series we began over a month ago before this health crisis entitled “In the Mirror.” The purpose of this series of teachings is to behold who we are in Christ and learn our true spiritual identity.
Church, I believe that this is one of those truths that we need to have as a regular part of our spiritual diet. And the reason why is because it keeps us from one of the enemy’s number one devices that he uses to both steal from us and destroy our lives with—identity theft. So, if we fail to see our true identity in Christ, the devil can deceive us into seeing ourselves different than the way God sees us, and then we are going to constantly be fighting an uphill battle.
So, we have learned that the way we discover who we are in the spirit is by looking into the mirror of God’s Word and finding out. But what the world tries to get us to do to identify ourselves is look into a physical mirror. But how many of you know that these natural mirrors are “vanity mirrors”—the vanity of things like how we look, what we wear, what kind of car we drive, how big our home is, etc. This is vanity, church, and not where a Christian should find their identity. Our identity is found in Christ, not in our age, our weight, our financial status, etc., etc., etc. Yes, we are blessed, anointed, and highly favored, not because of how things look in our physical lives, but because of how things truly are in our spiritual lives.
So, if you and I want to discover our true spiritual identity, we have to look into the mirror of God’s Word and let Him show us our “spiritual makeup.” In doing so, we will wash ourselves of that old identity and see ourselves in our new spiritual identity. Amen!
However, while I certainly believe that God’s Word being like a mirror has different applications to our lives, how many of you know that in order to see what we now look like, we don’t necessarily need to be looking in Numbers, Ecclesiastes, etc.? Again, if I am teaching Levi to behold who he is in Christ, I am not going to tell him to look at Leviticus.
Which led us to a passage of Scripture that is used to describe beholding the truth in a mirror--Second Corinthians 3:18. In fact, this is the particular passage of Scripture that I want us to refer to throughout this teaching because I believe it accurately “reflects” the truths the Lord wants us to see in this series.
But of course, that is not how people use the law of the Old Covenant—back then and even still today, people try to use God’s law as a mirror. What I mean is they are looking into it to try and find their identity (i.e. as a means to attain salvation, saying things like— “If you just keep God’s law, He will accept you.”) But that’s not true! The truth is that through the New Covenant, Jesus has already made us acceptable, qualified and justified in the sight of God—us all.
That is why the apostle Paul said what he did in verse 18. In it, he says, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
As we saw, the “we all” being referred to here is the Body of Christ, the Church of the living God. Therefore, every born again, baptized in the Holy Spirit, believer is with “unveiled face”—meaning, we are not reading the truth of the glories of this new & better covenant with a veil over our face like those under the Old Covenant.
That is why Paul goes on to say, “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord…” What glory are we beholding? Those truths of this new and better covenant of what Christ has done for us and who we are in Him! This is what we are to be beholding—the mystery of this New Covenant which is Christ in us, the hope of glory! Therefore, beholding the mirror of truths contained in the New Testament is us looking at who we are in Christ and who He is in us.
And notice that he says that we are beholding “as in a mirror” these truths. So, the specific mirror that you and I need to be looking into in order to see who we now are is the far more exceedingly glorious New Testament where our new spiritual identity in on full display. Amen?
Now, last week, we began looking into this mirror by looking at the filter everything is to be viewed in—love. Yes, I made the point that I believe the first thing you and I need to see when we look into this mirror is that WE ARE LOVED! The first and foundational thing our hearts need to be established in, is in the fact that we are greatly loved by our Creator. This is who we are, and this is what propels us into the other truths that we will look at in the coming weeks.
In fact, I would call this Mirror that we call the Holy Bible our love letter from God—for all of it speaks of the great love that God has for His creation and the great lengths that He has gone to express that love towards us. So, when you and I read these Scriptures, we ought to see time and time again on these pages that we have a Heavenly Father who so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son so that He could have a spiritual family to both love and be loved by.
Now I made the point last week that some things that we read in the Bible don’t seem to reflect the fact that we are loved—particularly when we read the Old Covenant and see God judging individuals and nations. But always remember this one truth—one cannot see God any more clearly than in the face of Jesus Christ. He came to declare God (See John 1:18). So, don’t try to see God’s true nature by all of these various examples that we have spread throughout the Scriptures. God did what He had to do under the Old Covenant; He did what wanted to do through Jesus in the New Covenant. And the truth is, everything in God’s Word points to this one thing—LOVE (See First Timothy 1:5).
I said that this one truth is what I believe to be the single greatest revelation that we could ever receive. Why? Because knowing in our hearts God’s great love for us will produce in us several other virtues—and perhaps the most important is the ability to fulfill the Great Commandment to love God and to love one another.
But so many of Christ’s followers have never had love modeled to them. And I made the point that it is for this reason that people do not love others well. It is because hurting people hurt people.
So, we learned that if this is us, the way we change this negative identity that we might have is we must receive His love by faith—simply believing that He loves us unconditionally based on the fact that the Bible tells us so. And choosing to adopt this attitude— “God, I choose to believe that you love me. My parents might not have told me or showed me love. But I choose to believe that what you feel towards me is real and it is true whether I feel it or can relate to it or not.” When you make that heart adjustment to choose to believe it—you have taken the first step to experiencing His love in your life.
And we also learned that the times that we sin and are being tempted to doubt God still loves us is when we have to receive His love by faith all the more. I will tell you, I have personally had to fight for this truth in my own life many times. You see, there have been many times when I had missed it in some area or simply was not doing the good things I knew I needed to be doing. So, when everything in my flesh and my soul was telling me that God’s love for me had diminished because of my shortcomings, I had to get before Him and take Scriptures that tell me how great His love is towards me and earnestly contend for the faith of His love. And sometimes it seemed like I was lying to myself because of the way I felt, but just as we must confess the truth of God’s Word concerning healing when we don’t feel well and just as we must stand on the Scriptures that say we are blessed when the opposite seems to be the case, we must also believe His love by faith. Amen?
But I said last week—Houston, we have another problem: While there are those who have a hard time receiving God’s love for them, there are also those who think they already know that He loves them, but don’t. Yes, the other problem that comes with this particular truth is that many believers think they already got it. You can tell this group of Christians that God loves them and the response you will get is— “Yeah, I already know that.”
But someone indicating that they don’t need to hear of God’s love for them anymore is like someone saying they already know what they look like so they don’t need a mirror. Well, you might have something stored in your memory bank that tells you what you look like, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to be reminded by looking in a mirror, does it? Imagine what our hair would look like if we combed it based on our memory of what it looks like. Or how about you ladies with your makeup? What if you put it on without a mirror in front of you? That would be a little scary, wouldn’t it? Likewise, we need to regularly see and hear the truths from God’s Word like He loves us just like we need the mirror even though we might have seen ourselves before. The reason for this is because we don’t just need these truths in our heads; we need them hidden in our hearts.
You see, what these Christians mean when they say that they know God loves them is that they have just mentally accented to this truth. In other words, they have the head knowledge of Scriptures that say that God loves us such as John 3:16, but the truths of those Scriptures have not truly impacted their hearts! Again, this is what I am talking about—knowing something in your heart! This is when it impacts you—when it is both known and believed in our hearts.
So, we do not have to have any “manifestations” of God’s love in our lives to know and believe it. As we learned last week, His love was manifested 2,000 years ago when Jesus came and died on the Cross. This is all the proof we need that God so loves you and I. Therefore, just as we believe by faith that we are healed, delivered, blessed, etc., without any physical evidence of it in our lives, but simply because God said it, likewise we must believe that God loves us because He already manifested it to us in the giving of His Son.
But as we saw last week, many Christians base God’s love for them on their situation and circumstances.
The apostle Paul dealt with this issue in Romans 8:35 when he asked the question— “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” You see, life’s difficulties and hardships oftentimes tempt one to question whether God really loves them, but Paul said that none of these things can separate us from His love—and that is because they have nothing to do with God’s love for us. People who say otherwise have a misconception of how things work here on the earth. The fact is, God has already done everything through Christ to provide for us. So it is up to us to believe and enter into His provision, not expect God to sovereignly do it for us.
But as we saw, the awesome truth is that this is not all that He did or does to prove to us He loves us. The truth is that if He loved us enough to give us Jesus; He loves us enough to freely give us all things (see Romans 8:31-32). In other words, if He gave us His very best—His only begotten Son—then why wouldn’t He give us the less?
I used the example that this would be like you desperately needing a blood transfusion, and the only person’s blood that would save you was my son, Levi’s. Well, if I were to sacrifice his life, shedding his blood, so that you could live through his blood, then do you really think I would not give you something else much less valuable if you needed it? Of course, I would! Why? Because if I was willing to give you my best, why would I not give you the less? Therefore, we can be completely convinced that God will heal us, meet our financial needs, and do anything else we need in our lives because, through His love for us, He has given us His very best. This proves God’s love for us.
So, what shall we say to these things? We are His Beloved! That means that when we look in the mirror of God’s Word, we can clearly see that we “Be-Loved” by Him.
Again, church, I began with this one truth because this is where everything else we will be looking at in the coming weeks was derived from—We are saved because God so loved the world. We are redeemed because He loved us enough to pay the price to redeem us. We are blessed because of His love. We are chosen, elected, and adopted because He loved us and wanted us. All of these truths stem from the fact God loves us unconditionally and extravagantly. Look in the mirror and receive God’s love for you today!
In fact, the next time you look in the mirror, point at yourself and boldly say, “You be loved by God!” Your flesh might cringe when you do it, but just know that because you see it in the mirror of God’s Word, you can declare it in the mirror of this world. You be loved and there is nothing you can do about it—save receive it in your heart and confess it with your mouth. Amen!
So then, let’s move on this week into something else that we see in the mirror of this New and Better Covenant that we live in:
Saints, because of His great love for us, God began something special in each one of us when we made Jesus the Lord and Savior of our life. And, church, I am of the persuasion that the majority of Body of Christ is grossly ignorant of what happened in each life that has been surrendered to Christ.
You see, many do not see our salvation as anything more than a change in our ticket—from hell to heaven. They essentially see it like we have a ticket in hand, and when we receive Jesus, that ticket gets punched for heaven. So, now we can get in. There’s no change in that ticket. Things are basically the same. Our destination is now approved and for the rest of our time on this planet and in these bodies, we are just old sinners saved by grace and do the best we can until we “all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be.” But for now, it’s “gloom, despair and agony on me.”
But that is not what happened when we received Jesus and were born again. There is something beautiful that transpired in us that, to the naked eye, might not be seen. But it’s true nonetheless. And it is for this reason that many parts of the New Testament are foreign to us and the Bible seems hard to understand.
So, let’s go in our Bibles over to Second Corinthians chapter 5 because I believe this passage of Scripture gives us some insight into what happened on that day that we made Jesus our personal Lord and Savior:
Second Corinthians 5:16-18a says, “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God…”
In verse 16, the apostle Paul begins by saying, “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh…” From now on, when? From now on, since Jesus came and died in a physical flesh & blood body. From now on, we do not know Him like that anymore. Now we know Him based on the Gospel that says He was raised from the dead and lifted up to sit at the right hand of God—completely glorified and highly exalted. This is how we regard no one according to the flesh—by believing the Gospel when we cannot see it.
This is an important point to understand under our new covenant—that because we all died with Christ and have been raised to a new life in Him, we are not to judge anyone according to the flesh anymore. This means that we are not to base judgments on people regarding anything external anymore. We are to look at the heart—where the real and most important transformation has taken place. And listen here, if they are good enough for Christ, then they ought to be good enough for us too! Amen? If they now belong to the Lord, we are not to be their judge. He is their Master, not us. So, we should not judge according to the flesh any longer—not looking at their works, their peculiarities, their education, their physical appearance, etc.
Aren’t you glad Christ did not do that with us? You see this when He chose His disciples: He looked at their hearts and their potential. And this is what He does with you too! He looks at who you are in the spirit. He sees you’re washed in the blood—perfect, holy, clean, and righteous! Hallelujah! So, this is how we ought to treat one another—for we are called to be imitators of our Heavenly Father. We ought not to look at others as far as who they are in the flesh. For in Christ, there is no longer male and female, black and white, rich or poor, etc. We are all one in Christ and have all been made partakers of His divine nature. Therefore, from now on, we are not to regard anyone according to the flesh.
And guess what? This includes ourselves too: Yes, the fact that this phrase says to regard NO ONE according to the flesh also implies that we shouldn’t look at ourselves according to the flesh either. You see, you have to see yourself as who you are in Christ and not who you are in yourself. This is so important to the Christian life! You have to understand that you truly are who you are in the spirit, not in the flesh. That is the part of you that has been changed as we will see shortly.
SPIRIT, SOUL AND BODY
You see, most people do not realize what man is made up of: The world basically sees us one way—who we are physically. Most of them do not believe in the fact that we have a soul or spirit, an immaterial part of us that will exist after our body dies. Then there are others (and many Christians are in this group) who believe we are soul and body. But the Bible teaches us something different—that we are a three part being.
First Thessalonians 5:23 describes this when it says, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Notice that this verse begins by describing God as the God of peace: This means that His nature is one of reconciliation—for peace denotes an absence of enmity, wars and separation. He is not against us! He is for us! The enmity has been removed, so now our God is not in the separation business; He is in the sanctification business! His is not trying to separate us from Himself; He is trying to separate us from things that hurt us, harm us, and corrupt us.
And this is His job—because notice that Paul said “may the God of peace HIMSELF sanctify you…” What this means is, He doesn’t need your help! Just draw near to Him and receive the reconciliation that He has offered you, and as you draw near to Him, you are by default being sanctified. As you are reconciled, you are by default sanctified. Amen!
But then notice what Paul said— “…sanctify them COMPLETELY.” Now this is important here because He is describing who we are “completely.” Then he goes on to say, “and may your whole...” Again, he is describing the complete, whole person. Then, as any good teacher does, he goes on to describe what our complete, whole man is made up of—spirit, soul, and body.
Now we are, of course, familiar with our “body”—that is the physical part of us that we can see, that we can touch, and that is apparent to our five physical senses. Our “soul” is what I describe as our “inner life”—that is, it includes who we are on the inside mentally and emotionally. You might say that our soul is what makes our personality. But what most people do not acknowledge is the first thing Paul mentioned here—spirit. And I believe the order that Paul used here is the order that we need to identify with—First, spirit. Second, soul. And Third, body.
You see, this body that we are most aware of is just a glove. It is a case for the real you. I like to use the following analogy—a space suit. You know, in order for a man to exist on say, the moon, he has to be wearing a space suit. Likewise, for you to exist and operate here on the earth, you must have a body. This is what gives you legal grounds to operate here on the earth. The Scriptures teach us that Jesus had to be made like flesh and blood in order to become the salvation of mankind. God had to inhabit a human body to become that perfect sacrifice that could save us from our sins. And why do you think demons and evil spirits seek to possess people? It is because they are seeking the grounds by which they can affect mankind, and they have to do it physically. Likewise, this is why God—through the Holy Spirit—wants to possess your temple as well.
So, we need this earth suit—this glove, if you would—that we might live here on the earth and do the will of God. But the body is just a part of us and not the real us. Actually, the most important part of us is our spirit. Now the soul is important too (that is a lesson for another day), but the spirit is the first thing Paul mentioned in this verse, and what I believe to be the first and most important part of who we are—because it is the part of us that immediately departs to be with the Lord when we die. Therefore, it is the first part of us that needed salvation and the first part that needed to be made new and recreated! Amen!
A NEW CREATION
And this is what Paul went on to explain in Second Corinthians chapter 5: Again, verse 17 goes on to say, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Notice that the apostle Paul states that “if anyone is in Christ”: To be “in Christ” is Paul’s way of referring to being born again, saved, and becoming a part Christ’s body. It is us being joined together with Him so that we are positionally hidden in Christ. Literally, it is us being “in the midst of” or “inside of” the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is interesting to me how we emphasize certain terms to describe being Christians, but do not use the ones the Bible emphasizes. For example, the term “Christian” is probably the most popular, but did you know, it is only used two times in the Bible? And the time it was coined was by unbelievers. But from my studies, I have seen that the most popular phrase is the repeated reference to who we are “In Christ, in Him, through Him, by Him, etc.” Perhaps we should change our terminology.
But, if you are go around witnessing to people, asking them, “Are you in Christ?” instead of “Are you a Christian?” you will get some strange looks. But be honest—if someone asked you what do you mean “Am I in Christ?” would you be able to answer them?
We need to know what it means to be “in Christ” because it is in these phrases “in Him, through Him, and by Him” that we look into the mirror and see who are in Him.
Sadly, most Christians live and die, never understanding what took place in them on the day they were born again and found in Christ. They receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior and they see themselves no different than the way they were before they were saved. But, saints, being “in Christ” holds many tremendous promises that we would do well to both see and embrace.
You see, when we were born again, something glorious took place in the spirit realm: Second Corinthians 5:17 goes on to say that at the moment we were placed in Christ, we became a new creation in Christ Jesus, where old things passed away and all things became new. So, contrary to popular opinion, we are not just sinners saved by grace; we are now saints because we have been given an abundance of grace. This is our truth.
Now many believers will read verses like this and be puzzled saying, “When I was saved, I did not sense the kind of change described here. All things did not become new in my life!” So how do we reconcile this? What if a Christian, who received Jesus as their Lord and Savior, does not have the evidence of all things becoming new in their life?
Well, first of all, we need to understand that just because we cannot touch things with our physical senses, does not mean they are not true. Let me elaborate on this point: We know that this could not be referring to our physical body becoming a new creation because nothing physically changed in us at that moment we were saved (expect maybe our countenance). This also could not be referring to our soul because we did not automatically become smarter when we were saved either, did we? No, our body will not be made new until that Glorious Day when all things are made new in the heavens and the earth. Likewise, our mind, will, and emotions are in a constant state of renewal while we are in this body on this earth. So, then the part of us that the Holy Spirit must have been referring to here is our spirit, which the Bible teaches us is the real, eternal part of us.
Yes, saints, our spirit is the part of us that was completely transformed when we received our Lord and Savior and, therefore, we might not sense any of these changes physically or emotionally. It is the part of us where old things passed away, it is the part of us where all things became new, and it is the part of us that became “in Christ.” Notice again in Second Corinthians 5:17 that the Holy Spirit says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold all things became new.” So, we became a new creation as we became in Christ, for truly, He makes all things new.
Now, in our situation, we were not created out of nothing. We had “old things” that “passed away”— namely, an old man that was crucified with Christ. We had an old sin nature that needed to be crucified on the cross of Christ. This was that old man that had death abiding in it. It was the part of us that could not love and serve God. It was the part of us that was incapable of living in obedience to Him. And, finally, it was the part of us that could not experience the life of God and experience salvation. This old man had to “pass away” and die. And this is what happens in that moment that we make Jesus the Lord and Savior of our life. The old man dies and, behold, all things become new! Glory to God! In other words, all things in our life begin afresh and anew! There is a new beginning in our life! Everything wrong and sinful that we had said or did before we came to know Jesus Christ was washed away in His blood! It doesn’t matter how big our sins were. It doesn’t matter how many sins we committed. They are all washed away in the blood of Christ and even the old sin nature that we had that inspired us to commit those sins was crucified.
So, in essence, it is as if we were created out of nothing. Not that there was never a life we lived before we were born again, but the slate has been washed so clean by the blood of Christ that it is as if our world never existed before salvation. So, let me encourage you that it doesn’t matter what you did and it doesn’t matter how gross the sin. If you have been born again—all the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new in you!
So, in Christ, we are not just renovated, renewed, or upgraded; no, our spirit is completely recreated with the life, nature, and characteristics of Christ Himself! Yes, friends, when you made Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life, your spirit was not just improved upon, renovated, or healed. No, when you became a Christian, your spirit was recreated! Now, I know that might be hard for some of us to swallow, but don’t take my word on it; take His Word on it!
The original King James version says that we became “new creatures” but the literal translation is “creation.” One expositor said that this word translated “creation” describes a new species of being that has never existed before. So, this means that just as God created the original creation from nothing, likewise he made us a new creation out of nothing. He took our “nothing” and made us something—a new creation in Christ! Hallelujah!
The New Testament Scriptures are explicit—particularly the epistles written by the Apostle Paul—as to the reality of what it means to be in Christ and therefore a new creation. There are actually over 60 references of who we are in Christ, in Him, in Whom, etc. and there are many others that don’t use that specific terminology but the “In Christ” principle is alluded to nonetheless.
Now there are some extremely powerful promises found in these verses, such as in Christ we are righteous, redeemed, and sanctified, and that in Him we have grace, victory, and every spiritual blessing. These are just a sampling of those spiritual realities which many Christians have a hard time embracing. And do you know why so many believers have a hard time embracing them? It is because the majority of the church is unable to differentiate between who we are in Christ versus who we are in ourselves. Not to mention, the majority of Christians are also walking by sight and are insensitive to spiritual truth. In other words, they are looking in the mirror too much—only acknowledging and focusing on who they are in the natural. But how many of you know that there is a spiritual realm out there that we need to be acknowledging?
The Apostle Paul tells us this when he says, “while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen” (Second Corinthians 4:18). How do you look at things that are not seen? That seems like an impossible piece of instruction, doesn’t it? Well, Paul goes on to describe how, when he says just a few verses later, “For we walk by faith and not by sight” (5:7). In other words, the way that we can look at the things which are unseen is by looking through the eyes of faith. And the Scriptures are crystal clear that the way that this faith comes is by the Word of God itself. So, if we are going to walk by faith and not by sight, we are going to have to look into the Word of God where our faith is derived from. Amen?
So then, I want us to conclude today’s message by going over to Ephesians chapter 2 where this great salvation is beautifully described:
In this awesome chapter, the apostle Paul lays out to us some wonderful truths that we would do good to become established in: In verses 1-3, he shows us what our situation was before coming to the knowledge of the Lord, and in verses 4-9, he shows us all that God did for us by His amazing grace. But I want us to notice how the Apostle Paul concludes this great doctrinal lesson: He ends it by saying in verse 10— “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
This word “For” at the beginning of verse 10 shows us that Paul is explaining the end result of the gift of salvation that God has given us through our faith in Jesus. So, what did He accomplish in us by His grace? The apostle Paul said that we have been made His “workmanship,” being created in Christ Jesus!
Now like we said in Second Corinthians 5:17, when the Bible says that we are His workmanship and created in Christ Jesus, what part of us is it referring to?
We know that Psalm 139:13-16 says, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.”
I don’t know about you but these verses remind me of Ephesians 2:10 as they begin with the psalmist describing how his inward parts were formed and how marvelous His works are and then it ends with the statement that those good works that we are to walk in were prepared beforehand.
And in Jeremiah 1:5, we are told— “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Isn’t this amazing how God knew, not only Jeremiah but all of us, before we were ever formed in our mother’s womb. Not only did He know us, but He chose to set us apart for salvation by His grace. Not only that, but He ordained us to be His vessels to the nations. And as it was with the apostle Paul in Galatians 1:15, it pleased God to separate him from his mother’s womb even when He knew what that rascal would do before he was converted on the Road to Damascus. Isn’t that amazing grace?
So, do you reckon, He knew the mistakes you would make both before you received Jesus and after you became a Christian? I guarantee you He did, and He saved you anyways. That’s because God does not look at things the way we do. When our patience, mercy, and grace is running out, His is just getting started!
But as beautiful and wonderful as God’s original creation was and is, and as amazing as His grace over His creation was and is, the part of us that became a new creation and a product of His workmanship had to have been that third and final part of our being (i.e. our spirit) right? Yes, it was our spirit that was recreated in Christ at the moment we were born again and is a product of God’s workmanship.
So, what does this mean that we are His “workmanship”? This word comes from the Greek word poiema, which is where we get our words “poem” and “poetry” from. As a matter of fact, this word poiema came to describe something that was a product of an artist’s handiwork or artwork—like a sculpture or a painting. Therefore, this word describes something that is a product of one’s creativity and artistic abilities. Oh, hallelujah! Do you see where this is going?
So, when the apostle Paul said that we are God’s “workmanship” here in Ephesians 2:10, you could translate this that we are God’s own work of art! Better yet, since God—who has to be considered the most creative and wonderful artist ever to exist—is the one who designed and sculptured our spirit, then you could say that we are His masterpiece! Hallelujah! Did you get that? You are God’s own handiwork, His work of art, and His masterpiece! You have been created in Christ—beautifully and ornately fashioned by the Creator, who is the epitome of creativity and artistry! And let me assure you in the worst English that I can: God don’t make no junk! 😉 If you are His workmanship, then you are perfect, complete, and beautiful! There are no flaws in your spirit man!
In fact, do you know the reason why your spirit is flawless? It is because you have received the spirit of Christ Himself! That is why Paul said in this verse that you were created (i.e. recreated) in Christ Jesus. It is because it is in His image and in His likeness that you have been designed! This would obviously mean that we, as God’s masterpiece’s, are extremely precious and valuable.
I like the way the apostle Paul words it in Second Corinthians 4:7 when he says that we have this treasure in earthen vessels. Now the emphasis I usually hear placed on this passage of Scripture is on the earthen vessels themselves. People will say, “Yeah, we are just cracked and flawed jars of clay.” But what about the treasure that in these vessels? You know, I guarantee you that if you were to buy a piece of land, and started excavating it and came upon an earthen vessel that was buried out in it that was filled with precious treasures, you wouldn’t spend your time calling people, telling them about your dirty old cracked earthen vessel, would you? No! You probably wouldn’t even mention the thing that the buried treasure was hidden in! You would be rejoicing in the treasure that was in it! (That sounds like that would have been a good parable for Jesus to use, doesn’t it? 😉)
Well, I’ll tell you, this “treasure” that is inside of these earthen vessels is so awesome that it should produce a joy that is inexpressible. In fact, the word that is used to translate this word is where we get our English word “thesaurus” from. A “thesaurus” is essentially a treasury of words. Well, I would add that this “treasure” that we possess in these earthen vessels is so priceless, precious and valuable that there are not enough words to describe it! Hallelujah!
So, why don’t we look in this mirror and behold the treasure within us!?! As Isaiah 64:8 says, “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.” He is the potter who sculpted all that we are in the spirit—for we are His workmanship.
So, let’s use this analogy of a painting or a sculpture to describe what happened in your spirit when you were born again: When God took your dead spirit, where no good thing dwelt and painted/sculpted you into a new creation in Christ, what He did was He painted on the canvas of your heart the likeness of Jesus Christ! What He did was He sculpted, as the potter sculpts the clay, a full image of Jesus Christ Himself in your inner man! So, He made you all that He is because you are in Him and He is in you! Praise be unto God!
Understanding this is what will make truths in the Word of God such as we are the righteousness of God, we are saints, and we are beloved, easier to accept! It is because it is not our righteousness! It is not our holiness! It is not a matter of how lovely we are! You are accepted, forgiven, redeemed, saved, righteous, holy, and loved because of who He is in you! So, when the Father looks into a born again, child of God, He is not looking at our faults and shortcomings; He is looking at the beautiful image of Jesus Christ! Hallelujah! Jesus is what makes us God’s masterpiece!
The reason the majority of the church has trouble accepting this is because most identify themselves by who they are in the flesh. But as we saw in Second Corinthians 5:16, we are no longer to judge anyone according to the flesh, and that includes ourselves! We are to form our opinion of our self by looking at the inward man, the hidden man of the heart. To not do so, is to look at an extremely valuable painting and to estimate its value solely by the frame that holds the painting itself. This, of course, is utter foolishness! I mean, who goes to the Musee du Louvre in Paris to see the original Mona Lisa painting and stands there admiring only the frame and not considering the portrait inside the frame? No one does that! So why do we only focus on our earthen vessel and not consider the treasure that has been placed within us?
Friends, in the eternal part of you has been placed a beautiful and perfect masterpiece! So, let’s begin to focus on what is important and what is eternal! God placed a priceless treasure in our hearts the moment we were born again. Let’s esteem it! Let’s give attention to the new creation we have been made in Christ!
So next time you look in the mirror, say, “You are God’s New Creation! He is the Potter and you are the clay! He made you just the way you are supposed to be! You are molded, shaped, and fashioned by the Master Craftsman, His own handiwork! And you are not a Van Goh, Picasso, or Da-Vinci either; you are God’s Masterpiece! You are His poem! You are Loved to Life!” Amen!
Just like in God’s original creation when He made the sun, the moon, the stars, this earth and all that is within it, He rested on the seventh day and saying at the end of the sixth day, “It is very good” (See Genesis 1:31) Now He didn’t rest because it wore Him out and He needed a breather from all that “creating.” No, He rested in the sense that an artist will cease from his work, knowing that it is finished, and will sit on his or her stool with the brush in their mouth, admiring their work.
I’m telling you saints, when Jesus hung on that Cross and said, “It is finished!” it really was. Sure, we are a work in progress when it comes to our physical self, but when it comes to our spirit, we are finished, and we are very good! Amen!