Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
What do you think are the two most important words in the Bible? I suppose a case could be made for many different words, and of course, every word in Scripture is important. However, two words that might top the list are two we might not immediately think of. They are the words “But God.”
I don’t mean this in the form of a complaint, such as when God calls us to a step of obedience we are not at all keen on, so we respond, “But God, that’s not what I want,” or, “But God, I’ve never done that before.” No, I mean the words “But God” in the sense of a glorious declaration of what God has done for us.
The opening verses of Ephesians 2 describe how we were dead in our transgressions and sins. Through our rebellion against God, we cut ourselves off from the Giver of Life, and thus spiritual death (separation from God) was the natural result. Verse 3 of Eph. 2 paints this in even starker terms, affirming that because of our sin, “we were by nature deserving of wrath.” Judgment, eternal separation from God is what we deserve.
And then we come to these two great words that open verse 4: “But God…” As you know, grammar and sentence word order vary from one language to another, and we see that here. For the sake of the flow of the English language, some translations change the word order from the original Greek text to something like: “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”
But in the original Greek New Testament, after describing our plight, verse 4 begins with “But God,” rightly emphasizing that God has reversed our destiny, and He alone is the source of our salvation. We were dead in our sins and deserving of God’s wrath, but God! But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love for us, made us alive with Christ.
What a glorious proclamation! Those two words, “But God” change our eternal destiny. We were guilty before God, but God… We were without hope, but God… There was nothing we could do to save ourselves, but God… We were dead in our sin, but God made us alive in Christ, for He is rich in mercy and His love for us is great.
You may struggle with memorizing Scripture, but always remember these two words: “But God!” Then you will be filled with joy in the Lord and the assurance of His mercy.
Grace and peace,