For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.
Read Chapter 2
Cyril of Alexandria
Human beings choose their own way of life and are entrusted with the reins of their own intelligence, so as to follow whatever course they wish, either toward the good or toward the contrary. But our [original, created] nature has implanted in it a zealous desire for whatever is good and the will to concern itself with goodness and righteousness. For this is what we mean by saying that humanity is “in the image and likeness of God,” that the creature is naturally disposed to what is good and right.
For we are his workmanship, not only as to our body and soul, but by a new creation in Christ Jesus, with a new heart by his grace. (Witham)
St. Paul now compares our conversion to creation, to show that we had been called and justified without preceding merit. In the same manner as the things which God has drawn out of nothing, cannot glory as if they had contributed any thing to their existence. (St. Jerome, hic .)
We are his creation. This means that it is from him that we live, breathe, understand and are able to believe, because he is the One who made us. And note carefully that he did not say “we are his fashioning and molding” but “we are his creation.” Molding starts with the mud of the earth, but creation from the outset is “according to the image and likeness of God.” .
He does not say “so that we might begin” but “so that we should walk”—all the way. For walking is a metaphor that suggests continuance, extending to the end of our lives. Suppose we had to walk a road that leads to a royal city, but after having gone almost all the way we grow faint almost at the end and stop. We would then have no profit. Instead Paul says we are created “for good works.” .
* For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.
Observe the words he uses. He here alludes to the regeneration, which is in reality a second creation. We have been brought from non-existence into being. As to what we were before, that is, the old man, we are dead. What we are now become, before, we were not. Truly then is this work a creation, yea, and more noble than the first; for from that one, we have our being; but from this last, we have, over and above, our well being.
* For good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.
Not merely that we should begin, but that we should walk in them, for we need a virtue which shall last throughout, and be extended on to our dying day. If we had to travel a road leading to a royal city, and then when we had passed over the greater part of it, were to flag and sit down near the very close, it were of no use to us. This is the hope of our callin...