I am always in awe of creation. The other day I was contemplating the majesty and beauty of a full moon, and I thought, “God is a great artist!” It takes just a moment to notice the beauty of everything around us crafted out of God’s goodness: the sky, the flowers, the vast oceans, and every living creature, whether it walks, swims, flies, or crawls. What an amazing creation we get to be a part of.
It reminds me of Psalm 19:1: “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his masterwork.” The Psalmist is saying that creation is a masterpiece that speaks to us about God and reminds us of his power, goodness, and goodwill towards the whole of it. God is not just the greatest artist, but God perfectly loves everything he has created. And creation shows this: no sloppiness here.
But God’s greatest work is not the moon or the flowers, nor anything else. God’s greatest achievement is you; it is me. All people everywhere, whatever their race, skin color, or language were all created with the same power, love, and care. In other words, we all measure the same amount of the glory of God in our lives.
The apostle Paul also writes of this in Ephesians 2:10: “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.” (NLT) Here again, we see the same word, “masterwork” or “masterpiece,” which could be translated, “we are his work of art.” If God were a musician, we would be his best song; if God were a painter, we would be his best painting. No one bears the glory of God as much as we do, not the sun, not the sum of all the stars. We were created to be God’s perfect expression of love, power, and goodness.
Now honestly, when I look at my life, I have a hard time seeing all of this greatness. Does this happen to you? Have you ever felt like a piece of work instead of a masterpiece? Maybe you have a very negative view of yourself. To you, you are just average. Or worse, you think you are something to hide way back in the closet. You may look at what you have done, what you have said, and think: I am not enough; I am not even good.
And you are right, that is true for everyone else too. Although God created us to be his supreme masterpiece, we lost it. But here is the thing, none of us were made to become broken and marred, we were originally crafted for perfect goodness. All of us were crafted to show God’s creative talent in everything we do and say.
So if God truly created us for perfect goodness, what happened? The explanation is actually found at the beginning of the first book in the Bible, Genesis. In Genesis, we find the story of how God created everything, including us. The story of the creation of humanity tells us that God created us good and complete, but shortly after being given life and power to look after the rest of the creation alongside God, we decided we knew better and went along our own way (Gen. 3). As we did, we stopped listening to God, and we also stopped acting as God does. Then we just completely forgot our true value and purpose and could no longer see the goodness of God in ourselves and in others. As we forgot whom we were created to be, we began to act in ways that tarnished the image and glory of God in us, and we started to act in hostile, detrimental, and abusive ways against each other.
For example, the first act of violence, as recorded in the Bible, was between two brothers, Cain and Abel. Cain killed his brother out of jealousy (Gen. 4). These two were the children of Adam and Eve, and look how far gone they were already after their parents went away from God. Cain became insecure and acted in an evil way because he no longer knew that he was precious to God. His way of feeling valuable was by trying to be more and have more than his brother. You see, Abel was meant to be Abel; Cain was meant to be Cain. But Cain wanted what Abel had and because of that, he ended up missing completely his own giftedness.
The bad news is that after that, the story repeated itself in many other ways through the history of humanity. James describes this perfectly when he says, “For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.” (James 4:16)
The great news is that God did not abandon us but has provided us with the perfect remedy to heal our sin and restore back his glory in us. Paul explains this in Ephesians 2:10 when he writes that God, “has created us anew in Christ Jesus” and also in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (NLT)
In other words, through faith in Jesus Christ, we are given the opportunity to be saved from sin, evil, and death, from all the things that have disfigured the image of God in us just as it happened in Cain. And as we are saved, we are also recreated as God’s masterpiece, once again as a perfect or complete expression of God’s love and power.
This gift of new life in and through Jesus Christ is offered by grace through faith to every person regardless of how he or she may have lived their lives. This is because the desire of God is to give us a future and not for anyone to waste away. Now we may think this is it, that is, to be saved and made new, but this is just the beginning. A masterpiece is meant to communicate the creativity, giftedness, and message of its creator, and that can’t happen if it is hidden away.
The question for us then is, as God’s masterpiece, how do we communicate God’s glory and goodness?
Revisit Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s masterpiece (we’ve got that). He has created us anew in Christ Jesus (we got that too), so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (NLT) There it is: “so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” A new life in Jesus Christ does not only provide salvation but also receives the power to live out what God crafts in our lives.
Paul’s message is straightforward: as we are saved, we are also empowered to do the good works that God planned for us since the beginning. Good works are not to bring us salvation but to witness to our salvation in the world. Hence, we are not only recreated for eternity but for everything we do and say today.
I know many of us have been conditioned to believe we are not good enough, that we can’t do good, or that we are too far gone. I understand that we can look at ourselves and say, “I don’t get it. This doesn’t look like a perfect person that can do the works of God today or tomorrow, or ever.”
But I want to invite you today to have confidence knowing that you can do all the good work God has planned for you. I mean, it is God’s plan; it is his idea. It is not up to us to make it happen but to trust that we will grow into all of that one day at the time.
So don’t let disappointments, hurts from the past, or your current brokenness to diminish you and tempt you to go away from God or act in ways that are hurtful to others. You are not meant to feel, to be, and to act like that. Don’t let anyone or anything make you believe that you are nothing: you are everything for God. There is nothing insignificant about you, and there is nothing insignificant about what God has given you to do today. You are God’s greatest creation.
Therefore, the million dollar question for each one of us is: how are we going to reflect God’s glory today? What’s the next act of kindness, the next good work that we can do for someone? Because that’s all it takes, one act of goodness at a time.
Today, God is inviting each one of us to embrace our new life and worth in Jesus Christ and to embrace our appointment to do good, for we have been crafted for perfect goodness.
I leave you with this well-loved quote that used to be attributed to John Wesley:
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.