But God

But God

In Ephesians 2:1-3, Paul is explaining to Christians in the Ephesian church that even though all believers were once spiritually dead in their sins, living according to the ways of the world and Satan, habitually satisfying the lusts of their flesh and minds, and were children of wrath by their very nature; God made them spiritually alive.

In verse 4 Paul explains why God did this:
  • Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

Knowing that all God’s attributes (mercy, love, holiness, righteousness, patience, omnipotence, omniscience, graciousness, etc.) flawlessly balance to define His actions and responses, this is a key verse in describing one of the fundamental aspects of the relationship between God and man. Therefore, as seen in the verses below, this truth about His mercy and great love for us is revealed consistently throughout the Word of God.

Additionally we see in this verse a pattern that is repeated over and over again as God interacts with man and intervenes in human history:
  • There is an impossible situation or harsh reality.
  • ‘But God’ sovereignly and/or supernaturally intervenes.
  • As a result, a person, people or all humanity is blessed.

Here are a few ‘But God’ examples that demonstrate His mercy and great love for us (all NKJV):
  • Genesis 50:20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
    • After plotting Joseph’s murder, his brothers decided to profit from his demise and sold him into slavery. But God had greater plans!
  • 1 Samuel 23:14 And David stayed in strongholds in the wilderness, and remained in the mountains in the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand.
    • Although David had faithfully served King Saul and the Lord, he spent years in hiding and running for his life. But God had already anointed him as the next King of Israel!
  • Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
    • In our humanity we all experience times of discouragement. But God, the author and finisher of our faith, in His strength transforms us and elevates us above our old nature.
  • Acts 13:30 But God raised Him from the dead.
    • In love, humility and obedience Christ died for the sins of the world. But God didn’t stop there! He resurrected my Lord and Savior: proving His divinity, defeating death and guaranteeing eternal life for His saints.
  • Acts 10:28 Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
    • Our prejudices and preference lead to arrogance. God made all people in His image and is not willing that any should perish (Genesis 1:27, 2 Peter 3:9)
  • 1 Corinthians 1:27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
    • Sometimes I get focused on my mistakes and shortcomings. But God has chosen and empowered me to fulfill His purposes!! God is greater than my mistakes!!!
  • 1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
    • In pride, we may believe it is our efforts that achieve God’s purposes. In truth, it is God’s sovereign power that accomplishes His will.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
    • When it comes to resisting temptation, sometimes it is easy to say, ‘I can’t.’ Thankfully God has promised a way out. Together with God, ‘WE CAN!’
  • For more examples see Isaiah 17:13, Romans 6:17, 1 Corinthians 2:10, Philippians 2:27.

To gain a greater appreciation for this in your life, follow these steps:
  1. List your current challenging circumstances, failures, hurts, disappointments, resentments, etc.
  2. Write a prayer of praise, confession, appreciation and desire.
  3. Keep (or start) walking with God, working for His glory and patiently wait to see what God does to address your situation(s).
  4. And finally, when the time is right, as a memorial to His faithfulness, power, mercy and love, document your ‘But God’ experience and tell others what God has done for you.

Considering the significance of Ephesians 2:4, I strongly recommend that every Christian memorize this verse.

Prayer

Loving merciful Father, I thank You for Your unending perfect love. I praise You for Your abundant mercy. I acknowledge the Holy perfection of all Your attributes. I rejoice in Your sovereign rule over all things. Thank You for all the ‘But God’ experiences of my life. I pray that You will help everyone see and acknowledge that you move and work according to Your perfect plan. Use Your Word to draw the lost to salvation in Christ and Your children into a closer walk with You. I pray in Jesus’s name, Amen.