10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
1.) The word “workmanship” is from the Greek word where we get our word “poetry.” We (the Church) are God’s poetry. We are His craftsmanship. We are his workmanship.
2.) The fact that we are created in Christ Jesus indicates to us that the workmanship (poetry) that we are is in relation to Redemption. As such the “created” that is being referred to here is not the created, as in being born, but the created as being re-born. The Church has been placed in the realm of the new creation. (Indeed, we are so part of the re-creation that St. Paul will soon say that God’s workmanship is already sharing in Christ’s ascension as we are now seated in the Heavenly places.) The thrust here is, because of God’s work in Christ, that the Church is now living in the already inaugurated “age to come.” That is the age of which we are now His workmanship.
3.) As now living in this “age to come” reality we now walk in a “age to come” fashion. The works that are produced in us and that we thus produce are consistent with the “age to come” we are living in.
4.) We were re-created for the end of good works. A Christian who has been re-created, who has been placed into the age to come, who has been seated in the heavenlies with Christ, can no more not produce good works then an apple orchard can not produce apples.
5.) Of course when St. Paul talks about our living in this current age of renewal he fixes Christ front and center. Christ, being the firstborn from among the dead, is the one in whom the age to come finds its existence. So, if we are in this age to come it is only because we are first in Christ Jesus, who is Himself the “age to come.” The King is tightly associated with His Land and His Rule.
6.) Note the tie between God’s eternal decrees (“Which God hath before ordained”), the completed work of Christ as being the instrument of the “new creation,, in which we now reside (“In Christ Jesus”), and our existential every day walk as Christians (“that we should walk in them”). There is a seamless web spun here by the inspired Apostle between Redemption planned, Redemption Accomplished, and Redemption applied.
All this to say that the idea of a Church that is conformed to this world is one of the greatest grotesqueries that could ever be conceived. Such a worldly church is the very opposite of what Paul is screaming at us in this passage. Having been united to Christ we are now living in a new age, with a new disposition and a new ethic. God ordained for us our Christ, our re-creation, and our walk.