God’s Poem (1)

"…for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:10).

It is very interesting that the Greek word that in this verse is translated as 'workmanship', is poíema. This Greek word means 'that which has been made— a work of craftsmanship', or 'something composed like a poem'. Evidently, this is the same word that has been translated into English - and with the same meaning as poem.

In the New Testament this word appears only two more times. In Romans 1:20 and in Hebrews 12:27. Both times it is translated as 'things made', referring to creation. So the only time that it refers to the church is in Ephesians 2:10.

Undoubtedly, the original meaning of poetry goes beyond being mere 'works' of God. It goes beyond, even, the sense of poíema applied to nature or man. As someone has said: "The heavens, the earth and the man created by God, are not his masterpiece; actually, God's masterpiece is the church, the body of Christ."

When in Proverbs 8:31 it says: "I rejoice in the habitable part of your land; and my delights are with the children of men," God is superimposing man with respect to creation. But here is a new overlap. It is not only with respect to creation that the church is superior, but with respect to man himself. The church - Ephesians evidently refers to it - is composed of men and women, but it is more than that. It is the new creation of men and women in Christ.

When in Ephesians 2:15 it says: "To create in Himself one new man from the two," it is saying exactly this: God has created in Christ a new reality - a true poem, a masterpiece. That is why he reiterates it, by first using the word 'create', and then the word 'new'. 'Create' (gr. ktisis) means to found, to establish, to do, generally in the sense of 'doing something out of nothing' (as in Romans 1:20). This is explained by the use of the term 'new' (gr.kainos), which means 'new in quality', to differentiate it from neos, which is 'new in time'. Kainos means something totally different, original, fresh (as in Galatians 6:15: "a new creation").

Christ not only created the church as a new reality (as he did with Adam and Eve), but this creation arose from his death on the cross. To do the first thing, God had to mold clay with his hands; to do this second, Christ had to die.

The church is, then, a masterpiece of God. That is why the Lord said: "I will build my church" (Note that in Genesis 2:22 regarding the creation of Eve, it says literally: "God... built a woman"). It is not given to man to create anything, only God, the supreme Artisan, can compose this wonderful poem that is the church.

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