What does Ephesians 2:10 mean?
ESV: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
NIV: For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
NASB: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
CSB: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.
NLT: For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
KJV: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
NKJV: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Verse Commentary:
Ephesians 2:8–9 is an extremely popular passage of Scripture. Since those two verses are so often quoted, many miss out on verse 10 when seeking to understand God's salvation by grace through faith. However, this important statement offers tremendous insight into what God desires after salvation. God calls us His workmanship or His artwork, from the Greek word poiēma. We are something crafted, with skill and a purpose, by God, for His purposes. Specifically, we are "created in Christ Jesus for good works." Good works do not give us salvation, but they are absolutely meant to be the result of salvation.

Interestingly, God prepared what He wanted us to do for Him long ago. He has already planned what He wants us to do with our lives. We do not need to copy what someone else has done or is doing. He has a unique plan for each of us to serve Him in this world. This includes certain spiritual gifts and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives to lead us in service to Him.
Verse Context:
Ephesians 2:1–10 clearly explains the relationship between our lack of obedience, the grace of God, and our salvation. Those who are saved by Christ do not deserve this salvation. It is only by mercy, and by grace, that God chooses to forgive. In this section, Paul will repeat the claim that human effort has no impact on salvation whatsoever. No Christian can brag about their ''goodness,'' since we are saved entirely by the grace of God, not by our own good deeds.
Chapter Summary:
Paul repeatedly emphasizes that salvation is accomplished on the basis of grace, through faith. Good works, human effort, and our best intentions will never be enough to earn salvation. Every person is marked with sin, both deliberate and accidental, and for this reason we deserve to be separated from God. Only through His mercy and grace can we be saved, leaving no room for bragging. This also means that all who are saved, Jew and Gentile alike, are part of the same spiritual family. There is no cause for hostility between believers; we are all unworthy, and all saved by the same kindness of God.
Chapter Context:
The first three chapters of Ephesians focus on doctrinal issues; the last three show how those principles should be applied in real life. Chapter 2 makes a pair of related points about our status as saved believers. First, salvation is entirely dependent on the grace of God, not human efforts. Second, this means all Christians are part of the same family, Jew and Gentile alike. This bridges chapter 1's explanation of God's awesome glory to chapter 3's discussion of God bringing His long-awaited plan into action.
Book Summary:
Ephesians follows a theme common in Paul's writings: connecting theory with practice. In this book, however, he goes into greater depth before making the transition. As a letter meant to be read by more than just the believers at Ephesus, this is an important look at how Christian belief should translate into Christian action. The first three chapters lay out spiritual ideas, the last three chapters show how these truths should be applied in the life of a mature believer. Paul focuses heavily on love, the unity of the Christian church, and the incredible value of our salvation through Christ.
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