The Hands-On Display of Our Lives

Ephesians 2:6-7 NIV

6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

In the Greek the word “show” does not simply mean to tell a story. The strength of this word is much richer. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says, “Endeiknumi” implies the idea of proving, while Thayer’s Lexicon reveals the meaning as making a practical demonstration of something, literally, “to put on a display.” It is a visible proof verified by applied facts. The most effective way to show the worth of a thing is by a hands-on demonstration.

In the early 60’s, before the invention of the infomercial, one of the first if not the first TV ads was for a kitchen appliance called the Veg-O-Matic. The product was shaped like a capital letter “H” and had this integral operating handle on top with a spring loaded mechanism. You placed your vegetable above a set of blades and slammed the moving handle down on top of the produce slicing into pieces. In the olden times, the only way to chop an onion was with a knife. This revolutionary product promised no more tears for chopping onions. It sliced, it diced and you could see it all happen with a practical demonstration on TV. Veg-O-Matics sold in the dozens. The founder and owner of Veg-O-Matic would eventual sell his business for 56 million dollars making a fortune—all because he could show practically how it worked! I can still hear his words in my mind, “it slices! it dices!”

The first goal of God is to show in practical demonstration how His kindness works! How does this look practically? It’s one thing to talk about the kindness of God, it’s quite another to see it. Much like the Veg-O-Matic, to see it makes it believable! So where is God’s kindness seen in this world?

Ephesians 2:10 NIV

10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

The display of His kindness is witnessed in the good works that God prepared in advance for believers to do. This is not the good works of the flesh, but good works He’s created. The King James Version uses “ordained” to translate the Greek word “Proetoimazo”, but don’t over complicate the meaning. The idea is simply of God defining what the good works were beforehand, or in advance. The display of His kindness is our good works shining before men—eventually exhibited through the house He’s building. We read of the Lord saying in Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” And again in verse 16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (NIV)

One final thought about this word “show.” Kenneth Wuest notes that the Greek word in this verse is in the middle voice, meaning the subject of the verb acts in his own interest. In short, God exhibits His kindness to believers for His own glory, in order that He may be glorified. That is why the good works were prepared by Him in advance for us to do! In someway, one might say, the good works we do are His works that are the results of His workmanship and poetry. This goal, which is eternal and goes on forever, demonstrates the incomparable riches if His grace!

J. Robert Hanson

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