If God’s heart all along has been to shine a light to all nations, and if the intentions from that heart are for all people to fully experience the weight of His glory and His lavished intimacy (inasmuch as those are possible while we’re still earthbound), then how does He plan on achieving that?
It’s one thing to have high and lofty and near-ethereal goals and dreams and visions for all people. But it’s another thing to have a strategy to bring that vision into reality. And this is made even more complicated when we realize that God cannot and will not ever force anyone to receive what’s being offered from His hand.
As we attempt to plumb the depths here, it’s important to understand that there’s not one Scripture passage that will map out God’s strategy for making His glory and intimacy shine as a light to all nations. We all have our go-to passages, and God uses them all to communicate the HOW (the strategy) behind the WHAT (shining His light to everyone). And for me, Scripture becomes absolutely breath-taking when the words housed within those sixty-six books provide a variety of glimpses into the same diamond.
Two such glimpses are penned by the Apostle Paul, written with more truth packed inside of them than we might ever discover in a lifetime, and in this case a message that will help us see what God is doing to shine His light. These inspired words not only provide us with the very essence of what true grace is, but they provide us with more. So much more.
And they’ve been under our noses all along.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s HANDIWORK, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
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 people are without excuse.
The Greek word for “handiwork” to the church at Ephesus is the word POIEMA. And there’s only one other place where Paul uses that word in entire the New Testament, and that’s in his letter he wrote to the church in Rome. In the Romans letter, the word POIEMA is translated “what has been made”. The Greek is the common language of the day that reaches the least of the least, while at the same time possessing some of the most exquisite and beautiful word pictures and meanings and metaphors that any language might offer.
The Greek word POIEMA is translated POEM. And that’s exactly what God is writing to the world.
Poems are such an interesting combination of words. It’s not like we simply read a poem and take it at face value. That’s because there’s rich meaning that lies beneath the words – sometimes more than one meaning, if we’ve studied the author or know his/her story. Sometimes there’s an obvious rhyming scheme, and other times there’s no rhyme at all.
The Romans passage seems to indicate that the poem of God is being written through His creation – through what has been made. This takes away any of our excuses about the existence of God. They can read His poem through creation.
But the Ephesians passage is equally intriguing, if not more so. Paul says that we are God’s poem. Just read it again, in context, but with an emphasis on that word poiema:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are the poem of God, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
You are the poem of God.
To which I respond,… are you freakin’ kidding me!!!!
How is God making Himself known to the world? How is the Great and Awesome Invisible somehow seen by people who are searching for Him? He’s doing it through His creation (Romans 1:20), and He’s doing it through those who have been saved by grace. Have you ever considered this to be remotely true about yourself, and that He’s doing it all through the GOOD THINGS you offer to the world – good things that He’s planned for you uniquely to do before you were even born?
That’s just insanely beautiful.
PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN SAVED BY THE GRACE OF GOD HAVE BECOME THE POEM OF GOD.
And make no mistake… the world is reading.