The Call to Serve.
Read Eph 2:1-10
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works."
We express appreciation through service. When someone has done something for us for which we are truly grateful, we express our gratitude by serving them. When opportunities arise, we are more than willing to help them. We do this with joy, knowing that they have served us. But how do we show our gratitude to God, who has done immeasurably more for us than any other person?
In Ephesians 2, Paul highlights the activity of God in our salvation. He reminds us that sin alienated us from God and brought us under the control and domination of evil (vs. 1-2). As a result, we became depraved in our thinking and objects of God's wrath (vs. 3). While it would have been just to abandon us to our plight, he demonstrated his incredible love for us by bringing us newness of life. Instead of being dead in our transgressions, we are now in the fullest sense of the word. Even far more than that, he raised us to the realm of the heavens and placed us in the presence of Christ. This work was accomplished without any effort or activity on our part. Our salvation is grounded in his grace alone. We neither deserve our salvation nor did we contribute to it in any way. Just as we should always remember who we were apart from Christ, we should never forget who we are in Christ. Apart from Christ, we were dead (vs. 1), rebellious (vs. 2), subjugated to Satan (vs. 2), governed by our lusts (vs. 3), and destined for hell (vs. 3). This stands in stark contrast to who we are now in Christ. We are now loved (vs. 4), alive (vs. 5), exalted (vs. 6), and saved (vs. 8).
Christ did all this for a purpose, that we might be devoted to good works. In other words, our salvation was not arbitrary but deliberate with the goal that our lives might be changed (see vss. 13-22). The greatest activity one has done for us should bring about the greatest expression of gratitude, which is expressed in our service to God. But how do we not serve God? The answer lies in our service to others and the church. We are now part of God's household—the church. It is no wonder that the grace God gives us in our salvation (vs. 8) is the same grace that now equips us for serving others (4:7-12). Our good works do not save us, but we are saved for the purpose of performing good works.
While the good works refer to all the activities we are to perform in obedience to Christ, a central part of these good works is our service to others. Paul writes in Titus 3:1 that we are to be "ready for every good deed." This involves helping people burdened in life (Gal. 6:2), sharing with others in need (Hebrews 13:16). Doing good involves looking out for others' best interests, even at the cost of our own (Phil. 2:4). We are to use our spiritual gifts to benefit others (1 Corinthians 12).
All this points us back to our expression of gratitude to God. Serving others is the tangible way that God calls us to express our appreciation for his redemptive work. This is the point that John makes in 1 John 4:20, "The one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen." As we reflect upon what God has done for us, we are reminded that we are saved to serve others. Spend time expressing your gratitude for your salvation, and then ask God to give you opportunities to help others.