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The Almonry (2: 8 - 10).
"Not of works . . . . . unto good works."
pp. 221 - 224
We have learned with wondering adoration that the great plan of salvation by grace
through faith is the oblation (corban) of God. It hardly seems necessary to continue "not
of works", but He Who knows the heart of man, even redeemed man, knows only too
well that he will seize upon any pretext to "boast".
"Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship" (Eph. 2: 9, 10).
The word ek "out of" is emphasized here.
"And that not out of (ek) yourselves: it is the gift of God: not our of (ek) works, lest
any many should boast."
This is the consistent message preached by Paul. The same use of the preposition ek is
found in Phil. 3: 9:
"And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is out of (ek) the
law, but that which is through faith of Christ, the righteousness which is out of (ek) God
These passages but echo the basic teaching of the epistle to the Romans where the
word ek is used continually with this meaning. Here are some of the passages by way of
"From faith", "by faith" (Rom. 1: 17).
"By the deeds of the law"; "by faith";
"of the law";
(Rom. 3: 20, 30; 4: 2, 16).
In all these references, the preposition ek is used. Summing up the way of salvation in
Rom. 3:, the Apostle says "where is boasting then?" and answers his own question with
the word "excluded" (Rom. 3: 27). Summing up the way of salvation in I Cor. 1:, he
says "that no flesh should glory in His presence" (I Cor. 1: 29). Boasting or glorying in
Christ Jesus, is the antithesis of confidence in the flesh, according to Phil. 3: 3.
Whatever changes may have been made after Acts 28:, one feature remains constant;
salvation is of grace, and Eph. 2: 8-10 is not revealing this truth for the first time; it is
stressing and enriching it as the basis of the exceeding grace made manifest in the present
dispensation of the Mystery. Instead of our works coming into the picture, our attention
is drawn to the Great Worker Himself "For we are His workmanship".
Alford, Ellicott, Wordsworth and others, translated the word poiema "workmanship"
by "handiwork" and the usage of the word in the O.T. favours this more intimate idea.
For example Isa. 29: 16 uses the word poiema in the LXX for the work of a potter. In
spite of the busy activity of man, there is only one reference in the thirteen occurrences of