Romans 1:20 and Ephesians 2:10
We are in a time of amazing special effects in the entertainment industry. Things we see in movies appear real but aren’t. Think about all the sales appeals made to us. Claims are presented as real & marvelous but often experience with ‘said’ products reveal they aren’t what they are represented to be. How often are we alerted about scams? Being able to discern between what’s real and what isn’t is an essential skill.
Along this same line of thinking are two verses that have an extraordinary relationship with each other. At face value they both refer to something God has made – His workmanship. In the Greek, the word is ποιημα (poiema) and in the New Testament it only appears in these two verses. But the critical fact is that in one of these, we Christians play an absolutely critical role in what the world perceives as real.
Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
The first verse in Romans speaks about how God is (and always has been) revealed to mankind through nature – His creation. He declares that it alone is sufficient to reveal His existence. Psalm 19:1-4a speaks so eloquently of this truth:
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
The second verse in Ephesians (2:10) speaks about how we Christians – His people – are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works. We have written how God wants His people to love Him – to walk in His ways – to reflect His glory. His intent and equipping of us is so that the world will see Jesus when they see us.
Jesus came to enable us to do just that. Further, Ephesians 3:10 states that “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,”
Putting these two verses (Rom 1:20 & Eph 2:10) together reveals a stunningly important reality: God has made us both to be critically important revelations. Creation is a general revelation that God exists. We Christians are to be a specific revelation that Jesus Christ is Lord!
What do communities see when they look at the Christians in their midst? Do they see Jesus or do they see something not at all reflective of Him. How we, who claim to be Christians, choose to live determines whether the picture we reveal is one of Jesus – or one that undermines the power of the Gospel because our lives don’t reveal Him.