Your Church: God’s Workmanship or Man’s

September 29, 2009

Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

There is something truly magical about the relationship between an artist and his/her art.  Art reflects the artist, it shares attributes with its creator.  It tells the observer something about the artist.

Being “God’s workmanship” as Paul describes for us in these comments means we are necessarily a reflection of Him.  We share some beautiful attributes as a result: our appearing as holy and blameless before Him through Christ, our being alive in Christ (when we were dead in transgressions), being seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, and of course the whole salvation thing are all wonderful ramifications of being God’s workmanship. An artist’s work is always a reflection of the artist.

Being God’s artwork means the whole world can look at our lives and see God’s hand.  They can see things about us that are clearly and unmistakeably the work of something larger than any human hand.  “God raised us up with Christ…in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Like every masterful work of art, our role is to point back to the artist and to represent characteristics shared and known well by the artist.

This is true of us individually and it is true of the church corporate.  Christ is the only Head of the church, and nothing the church attempts to do on its own (without the involvement of the Spirit) has any meaning at all.  There should be nothing at all about Christ’s church which draws attention to anyone else but Christ.  If there is, i.e., if there are things about the church which draw attention to our people or our programs or our buildings rather than drawing attention to God, then we cease to be God’s artwork in that respect, and we become man’s artwork.

Don’t get me wrong.  Man’s artwork can be pretty amazing.  But that’s not the church.  That is something other than the church.  It is a country club, or a museum or a circus or something else man-made.  But it is not supernatural.  It is not God-sized.  And most importantly, it is not what the world needs from the church.  The world needs the church to be what Jesus intended the church to be: His workmanship, something which points to His unmistakable beauty and grace.

How about the body of believers with whom you worship?  What is it about you which is unmistakably the hand of God?  To Whom does your church draw attention?  What does the workmanship which is your church tell the causal observer about God?  Are you pleased with your answers to these questions?

© Blake Coffee

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3 thoughts on “Your Church: God’s Workmanship or Man’s

  1. Elizabeth

    In the architecture class that I took in Oxford we learned how Gothic-style cathedrals were designed with pointed arches and high roofs to direct the people to God. I love that image, and I appreciate when the body can be that for each other.

    Reply

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