A mosaic is the process of taking shards of material – glass, stone, or most anything else – and assembling them in a recognizable pattern. It takes seemingly unrelated and in many cases useless things and puts them together to reveal something only in the mind and the heart of the artist. That’s starting to feel a bit more right, isn’t it?
Dead or alive.
These are the only two categories of human beings Paul laid out for us in one of the most clear and concise presentations of the gospel found in the Bible. In Ephesians 2:1-10, the apostle starts with the devastating news that all of humanity is dead. Not wandering; not in need; not even in danger – but spiritually lifeless. And just as a corpse cannot resuscitate itself, so the spiritually dead are unable to change their condition. But then we come to verse 4:
But God had mercy. But God loved us. But God intervened, and just as He brought order from the chaos in Genesis 1, He breathed life into the deadness of humanity one by one as He awakened us to the truth of the gospel. This message is not how bad people can be good people; it’s how dead people can be living people. According to Paul, the equation of salvation is pretty simple:
“For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Salvation is by grace, through faith, and unto good works. All three components are necessary and work in tandem with each other. In that equation, there is a wonderful word that reminds us of the great artistry of God. In Christ, we are “His creation.” Other translations say we are His workmanship, or even more descriptively, His masterpiece. Like an artist who crafts his seminal and defining work, so does God re-create us in Christ, bringing us to spiritual life, so that we might walk in the good He has carefully planned out for us before we were even knitted together in our mother’s wombs.