Before pondering today’s scripture, read Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of authentic.

Authentic — genuine, bona fide, means being actually and exactly what is claimed. Authentic implies being fully trustworthy according to fact; an authentic account of the perilous journey. it can also stress painstaking or faithful imitation of an original. 

At one time I sold original, visual works of various artists. It was often a challenge to explain to an inexperienced buyer why an original, authentic work was more precious than a photographic reproduction. Artistic authenticity (authorship) is assured when an artist oversees, interacts with, or otherwise touches an individual work. That work is most often verified with the artist’s signature.

If you have studied a renowned artist such as Michaelangelo and later viewed the breathtaking quality of his workmanship first hand, you appreciate why his original sculptures and frescoes are considered inestimable treasures.

Another feature of authentic works of art is this: classical, unsigned pieces can be judged to be a work of a particular artist simply because the style and quality match the artist’s other works. Lost works by ancient masters are occasionally uncovered, either by removing an inferior overpainting or by restoring a work that has been abused or stored in an unsuitable space. Admittedly, fakes sometimes hit the market, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Read this scripture and think of God as an inestimable artist:

Praise be to God for giving us through Christ every possible spiritual benefit as citizens of Heaven! Consider what he has done—before the foundation of the world he chose us to become, in Christ, his holy and blameless children living within his constant care. He planned, in his purpose of love, that we should be adopted as his own children through Jesus Christ—that we might learn to praise that glorious generosity of his which has made us welcome in the everlasting love he bears towards the Son.

It is through the Son, at the cost of his own blood, that we are redeemed, freely forgiven through that full and generous grace which has overflowed into our lives and opened our eyes to the truth. For God had allowed us to know the secret of his plan, and it is this: he purposes in his sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in Heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfillment in him. Ephesians 1:3-10 PHILLIPS

Our Creator has chosen us for adoption to become his masterpieces under his constant creative care. His artist’s workshop provides generous resources obtained by the sacrifice of Christ, his Son, that he has choreographed to restore what has been marred by sin. When we trust him, we will see our destiny fulfilled in Christ. And, best of all, he signs his work with the Holy Spirit in us. This passage continues:

And here is the staggering thing—that in all which will one day belong to him we have been promised a share (since we were long ago destined for this by the one who achieves his purposes by his sovereign will), so that we, as the first to put our confidence in Christ, may bring praise to his glory! And you too trusted him, when you heard the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation. And after you gave your confidence to him you were, so to speak, stamped with the promised Holy Spirit as a guarantee of purchase, until the day when God completes the redemption of what he has paid for as his own; and that will again be to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:11-14 PHILLIPS

Our God is an expert at finding value in people others may have overlooked. Read this short article about a Cimbabue painting, which is part of this artist’s multi-paneled story of Christ painted in the medieval era. It hung in a kitchen in France for many years (note: a kitchen is a bad place to display a $26 million painting) and escaped the trash bin when the owner decided to consult an art appraiser before tossing it out. Consider how God appraises you, his valuable child.