A Walk of Good Works: Ephesians 2:8-10

Sharon Sampson

How I love a good walk! There is something wonderful about heading out for a stroll on a cool, fall day. Tying up the tennis shoes; pulling on the sweatshirt. This day was made for walking!

Scripture speaks of one’s manner of life as his walk. In fact, every person has a way of life in which they walk. Today’s article is about the walk found in Ephesians 2:8-10:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Before we seek to understand this walk of good works, however, we must understand what has come before in Ephesians 2. Paul begins the chapter by stating, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked…” This walk was the walk of death, the walk we walked in Adam. “But God,” Paul says in verse 4. God, who is rich in mercy, saved us by grace through faith as a gift. Having been saved, we are free to walk a new walk – a walk of good works. Not good works which save us, but good works which show that our faith is not dead (James 2:17). The Westminster Confession reminds us these good works are “done in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the Gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life” (WCF 16:2).

These good works flow from a changed life. Yet, we are not left to ourselves to know what these good works should be. Whereas the law once was a mirror which showed us our sin, it now is our guide for life – a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Ps. 119:105). Thus the Word instructs us in our works. Our good works are manifested by living our lives, walking our walk, according to what God instructs in his Word. We read the Word, we sit under faithful preaching, and we increasingly grow in our knowledge of and love for the truth. From there, we commit ourselves to walking in His ways. Whatever we do, we do it unto him (Col. 3:23) and for his glory (1 Cor. 10:31).

But we are not called to walk this walk in our own strength – not at the beginning of our Christian life and not at the end. Consider how we take hold of the hands of a young child just learning to walk or of the older saint whose balance is unsteady. Likewise, in our Christian walk we need a hand. These good works to which the Lord has called us are produced by Him in his work of our sanctification, which enables us to die unto sin and live unto righteousness (WSC #35). He takes us by the hand and leads us in this new walk. We will stumble, yet we should not despair. The Confession reminds us: “Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in Him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreproveable in God's sight; but that He, looking upon them in His Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections” (WCF 16:6).

Remember, we are not saved by good works, but we are saved unto good works. If God prepared them for us, we should put on our shoes and head out. This Christian life was made for walking!

Sharon L. Sampson holds an MTS with a biblical counseling concentration from the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh. She is a certified biblical counselor and is an active member of the Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gibsonia, PA. She has been married to her wonderful husband, Mark, since 1985, and they have one married daughter.

Sharon Sampson