“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).
We were dead in our “transgressions and sins” but through God’s grace, we have been made alive in Christ “because of His great love for us” (v. 4-5). He has chosen and accepted us in the beloved (v. 6).
God showed “the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (v.7).
“For it is by grace [we] have been saved, through faith—and this not from [y]ourselves, it is the gift of God—not of works, so that no one can boast” (v. 8-9). There is no need to worry about being good enough for God. We have not been saved by our works—but FOR HIS GOOD WORKS (v. 10). Filling our hands with good works is not the answer. We lift up our empty hands to Him and ask Him to fill them with His grace. We’ve been saved to fulfill an assignment God has “prepared in advance for us to do.”
We’re here to do good—kingdom good. But we cannot do good works until the Word of God does its good work in us. We need to accept the teaching, rebuking, correcting, encouragement, and training of His Word in our lives, in order to be vessels of these same virtues for others.
Beth Moore helps us in distinguishing the characteristics of kindness and goodness:
Goodness is best understood when considered, compared, and contrasted with the quality of kindness. The Greek word for goodness is agathosune. It means benevolent and “active goodness.” Agathosune is more than chrestotes, [which is] gentleness, kindness . . . [Goodness] does not spare sharpness and rebuke to cause good to others. A person may display his . . . zeal for goodness and truth, in rebuking, correcting, or chastening . . .
In Matthew 10:16, Jesus told the disciples: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Where kindness has the “harmlessness of the dove,” we’ll see that a large part of goodness is being “shrewd as snakes.”
Because God is good and He loves us, He disciplines, corrects, and trains us “for our good that we may share in His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 4:2 to correct, rebuke, and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
Fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness—precede goodness (Galatians 5:22-23). God often couples kindness and goodness in His Word. Kindness provides protection for misguided “goodness.” He wants us to have a tenderhearted disposition and a spirit eager to nurture others.
Let us be Christ’s true disciples
Looking to another’s need;
Making stony pathways smoother
By a gentle word or deed. –Thorson