When The Scriptures Say “But God”

Humanly speaking, some things are impossible, but with God, all things are possible, especially with the words “but God.”

But God

But God! What an amazing set of words! Every time I read a verse that says “but God,” it is fantastically good news that follows. There are literally dozens of verses that have “but God” in both the Old and New Testaments, and even when I witness to people, I often hear, “yeah, but,” like “I have too much baggage, too many sins to overcome, too much to be forgiven,” but then I show them a few verses that say, “but God.” I can reassure them that Holiness is not the way to Jesus; it is Jesus Who is the way to holiness, so one of the most powerful things I can tell them is “but God.” For example:

Once we were dead in our sin, but God made us alive!

Once we were held captive by Satan, but God made us free!

Once we were children of wrath, but God has promised to spend eternity un-wrapping the riches of his glorious grace in kindness toward us!

Dead But Now Alive

In Ephesians 2:1-9 the Apostle Paul says, “And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. Among these we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of body and mind, and so we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God-not because of works, lest any man should boast.”

Separated But Now Joined

In Ephesians 2:12, the Apostle Paul wants us to “remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world,” so we were once dead in our sins, but God made us alive with Christ. We were once held captive by the prince of the power of the air and enslaved to the course of this world (2 Cor 4:3-4), but God raised us up with Christ and made us sit with him in the heavenly places. Once, we were the children of wrath and deserving of an eternity of the torments of hell, but instead of pouring out His wrath on us, He poured it out on Jesus, so that God will spend eternity showing the immeasurable riches of his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. We were all doomed, dead, and hell-bent, but for God!

CHildren in Sunday school

But for God’s Mercy

Once again, the Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 2:4-7, “But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Read that again! We were dead in sins, but God made us alive with Christ. We were captives of the prince of the power of the air and enslaved to the course of this world, but God raised us with Christ and made us sit with him in the heavenly places. We were once children of wrath and deserving of an eternity in the torments of hell, but God poured out His wrath upon Jesus. Consider now what the Word of God says concerning those who trust in him. Here is the way we will handle the text in Ephesians 2.

Let’s put verse 3 over against verse 7. We were children of wrath, but God promises endless kindness.

We will put verse 2 over against verse 6: We were enslaved to the spirit of this age, but God freed us to sit with Christ in the heavenly places.

And we will put verses 1 over against verse 5 and 6. We were dead in sins, but God made us alive with Christ.

Brothers and sisters, this is not just good news! It is the best of news. It is impossible for us to have a relationship with God, but Jesus reconciled man to God by giving His own life, so through Christ, nothing is impossible for us because of those two little words; “but God!” That’s because with God, nothing is Impossible (Matt 19:26).

But God Verses

In Genesis 50:20, Joseph told his brothers who had done evil to him, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” In Acts 10:28, the Apostle Peter “said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” In Psalm 49, the psalmist writes, “Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol; death shall be their shepherd, and the upright shall rule over them in the morning. Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell. But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me” (Psalm 49:14-15). In Acts 13:29-30 it says “when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead. Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead.” Paul also wrote, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:7-8), and later Paul writes, “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 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” (1 Cor 1:26-27). Even in evangelism, Paul wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (1 Cor 3:6-7). Even in our temptations, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor 10:13).

Conclusion

“But God” are two of the most wonderful and powerful words in the Bible because holiness is not the way to Jesus, Jesus is the way to holiness. Just do a simple word search on any online Bible site or app and you’ll find that good news always follows after “but God,” so you can see how the impossible becomes possible. For us, it is impossible, but for God…nothing is impossible.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • pud

    “But” you can’t demonstrate the truth of a single thing you claim! You subscribe to a BOOK! A primitive STORY BOOK whose authors you either don’t even know or know next to nothing about! You promote a doomsday cult built upon the VISIONS of ancient religious lunatics! How credulous and gullible must one be to fashion his life around a BOOK with hundreds of contradictions, impossible events, supporting a psychotic deity mass murderer written exactly like a fantasy BOOK? LOL!

    “Nothing is impossible” eh? Except showing up in person rather than a vision, dream or BURNING BUSH!, demonstrating his existence, proving a miracle claim, not killing someone every other chapter and ending suffering, disease, war, pain and violence….”he” clearly finds those things IMPOSSIBLE! ..or…if not IMPOSSIBLE clearly desired! Either way your invisible deity is one psychotic sick thing! Which makes you equally sick and psychotic!

    You are an infant…a grown man with a diseased mind. As gullible, credulous, irrational, delusional an individual as I’ve ever known. And your infatuation with human sacrifice,invisible creatures, non existent realms, blood and death is very disturbing to say the least

  • Jean Camille

    Your suggestion was deceptively simple, Jack. Bible Gateway gave me 624 results for “but God”!

    Their first reference is Eve’s misquote of God, and it points to one of my favourite Bible contrasts. We chose the tree of knowing good and evil, but God connects us to the tree of life. That has been amazingly freeing for me.

    There are so many worthy causes, so much desperate need, that I easily become burdened and burned out. A lot of it is merely depressing. Instead, I have learned where to say, “No.” I favour where there is a lift in my spirit. I end up more in my skill areas, with more confidence and more satisfaction.

    So, yes, I will dip into those 624 references, and I look forward to reading other people’s favourite “but God”s.

    Blessings,

    • pud

      No..it was deceptively simple minded.

      Tell me…who took the dictation of “eve” speaking?

      Lunatic

      • Jean Camille

        Does your evidenced based thinking demand that kind of literalism?

        Curious: do you ever use induction?

        • pud

          Inductive reasoning (as opposed to deductive reasoning or abductive reasoning) is a method of reasoning in which the premises are viewed as supplying strong evidence for the truth of the conclusion.

          If you can’t show it, you don’t know it

          • Jean Camille

            So, do you use inductive reasoning?

          • pud

            No

          • Jean Camille

            I find that hard to believe. Any degree of generalization rests on induction, and you make many generalizations about Christianity.

            But I can imagine you would give it a good try. Once, I mentioned theories of afterlife, you replied: “There are NO “theories” about afterlife. A theory is a body of evidence including facts that offer a comprehensive explanation of a given phenomenon.”

            That definition of “theory” focuses entirely on evidence. Does it still ring true to you?

          • pud

            What I say about your delusional cult is demonstrable.

            Theories are probability models derived from a body of FACTS. They are entirely evidence based

            Understanding probability is not the same as inductive reasoning in that no absolute claims are made.

          • Jean Camille

            I cannot see how inductive reasoning entails absolute claims. That is a nonsensical extreme.

            But, I did compare your idea of “theory” with that of another evidence based endeavor, Merriam-Webster.

            The most general and frequently used definitions of “theory” are:
            1: the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another
            2: abstract thought: speculation

            May I point out a legitimate element of subjectivity here. We can analyse anything we understand as “fact”. Further, even nonsense can be subject to abstract thought and speculation.

            So, according to common usage—the social consensus—indeed, there can be theories of afterlife. If you deny this, you are being merely perverse.

            The closest to your interpretation is down where we find technical and restricted meanings.
            5: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena [eg] the wave theory of light

            Expressed categorically, a theory [idea] consists of principle(s) [idea(s)] to explain phenomena [facts].

            According to your definition, a theory [idea] consists of evidence [collection of facts] that includes facts [a sub-set of the other facts?] to explain a phenomenon [fact].

            Observe that the dictionary defines the theory idea as a subset of ideas where you define the theory idea as a subset of facts. Your materialistic dogma left you with a garbled and inaccurate definition.

            Your current iteration at least has the same structure as the dictionary definition.
            “Theories[idea(s)] are probability models[idea(s)] derived from a body of FACTS[facts].”

            However, the direction is reversed. They see a theory as projected onto facts to explain them; you see the facts as presenting an inherent pattern that will continue predictably.

            When I check the accepted meanings of “probable” and “probability”, it turns out your sense of precision and objectivity is an illusion. There is an inherent level of “presumption” and a precise mathematical probability depends on an “exhaustive” set of outcomes. The best we usually get is a representative sample, in the real world.

            For all that you desire a life based on fact, in reality, you cannot avoid interpreting the facts. And that involves subjectivity. Welcome to the human race.

          • pud

            NO. I do not care in the least for the “colloquial” use of words.

            “Theory” is a scientific term that entails the construction of probability models based upon observable and testable FACTS.

            There is NO evidence, facts, hints, clues or otherwise of any “afterlife”

            Probability is fluid. Too bad. That’s how the universe works. This is the BEST model of reality we have. Everything else is nonsense

            We do not run with the colloquial version of “theory” to describe reality we use the scientific definition. Everything else is unsupported nonsense

          • Jean Camille

            I am not talking about the best model of reality.

            I am saying your decision is based not on the facts but on your interpretation of the facts. Even what you decide as fact depends on your working paradigm.

            With different assumptions and values, others include different experiences as fact. You are no more realistic than they merely for excluding some experiences from consideration.

            In part, Jack’s article is for people who can question their current paradigm. He is saying there is a more nuanced and comprehensive reality available.

            It is about our level of engagement. They say our words (and thus, our reasoning) convey about 10% of communication. The rest of our connectedness comes through non-verbal experience, the non-rational part of us.

            Jack is talking about an explosive expansion of our awareness.

            If your past prevents you from examining that possibility, then be realistic enough to accept it. But, please, do not be so foolish as to believe your narrow world of facts and figures is the only option. It may not even be the best one.

          • pud

            No…FACTS are not subject to interpretation at the whim of the casual observer. We don’t arrive at FACTS via “assumptions” and “experiences” Only you religious lunatics walk that delusional insane road.

            Jack is a parasite. He makes his living lying to children pretending to know things he cannot know. He’s about the lowest form of human life there is. Jack cares NOTHING for reality, fact, truth, inquiry, evidence or any other reality based mindset…he is wed to a BOOK! A superstitious demonstrably wrong Bronze and Iron Age book written by no name authors who knew NOTHING of the universe they occupied.

            My world view is based on REALITY not fiction, not story, not mystery, not a book or a fable.

          • Jean Camille

            Yes! Especially the careful, scientific observer always interprets facts. How we form paradigms and worldviews is of immense interest to researchers. We have considered carefully what counts as a fact. You must be aware of the work done in establishing the neurological and psychological substrates of observation.

            You seem to have a very personal animosity towards Jack. Seriously, that has been going on too long to be healthy. Do something about it.

            And the “lying to children” trope, it really stands out.

            My toddler daughter was having an injection, “Will it hurt?”

            Someone said, “No, it won’t hurt.”

            I was outraged. “Yes, it will hurt, but you can handle it.” How dare they destroy a child’s trust in supposedly caring adults with their casual lies! I don’t know why, but I have a gut-level hatred for lies.

            But I do know that intense reactions like yours arise from our beliefs more than from any facts. You have heard of Cognitive Therapy. It is one of the most thoroughly researched counseling systems around. Their ABC is that Activities are mediated through our Beliefs to produce Consequences in our emotions.

            I have to go now. Chat another day.

          • pud

            Lying about a flu jab isn’t the same as indoctrinating a mind before it has the ability to critically think into a sick death cult that is religion. You clearly have no sense of scale.

            I don’t have “beliefs”

            “Beliefs” are for idiots incapable of critical thought.

          • Jean Camille

            You claim to live by evidence. So, I presented Aaron Beck, a researcher with impeccable credentials.

            His core finding was that our beliefs govern our reactions more than the events do. Almost all evidence-based counsellors rely on his finding.

            But not you, Pud. You say, “I don’t have ‘beliefs’.”

            If science is not good enough for you, perhaps logic is.

            You either believe what you said or you don’t. If you believe what you said, then you have at least this one belief. If you do not believe what you said, then you do not believe that you “don’t have’beliefs’.” So, either way, you have beliefs.

            This irrational outburst reflects the inner contradiction of your current mindset.

            All this bitterness toward Christianity is a smoke screen over something in your own mind. You need to address that before the anger destroys you.

            Seriously, until you can deal with these facts, you have no stable future.

          • pud

            Gee thanks for the ridiculous psychoanalysis and fortune telling!

            I’ve made it 6 decades without my “anger” destroying me. LOL

            It is NOT irrational to hold you and your wicked apocalyptic death cult in contempt..it is totally rational and just! Your cult and those like it have done NOTHING but divide humanity, suppress understanding, corrupt young childrens minds, instill guilt and shame all while doing nothing but offering false promises of magical lands and eternal gobblygook!

            I do not “believe” anything…I provisionally accept things based upon evidence. “Belief” and “faith” are the province of imbeciles and those of low IQ

          • Jean Camille

            The man who believes he has no beliefs. And you cannot see the contradiction in that. Sorry fella, you have no credibility.. For someone of six decades one would expect more maturity and insight.

          • pud

            I don’t “believe” I KNOW.

            Shouldn’t your mature self be mumbling requests to the invisible friend who lives inside your head for which you can demonstrate zero evidence?

            And you speak of “insight” LOL

            Good day lunatic

          • Jean Camille

            Your insecurity is showing. A team plays the man when they can’t win the ball. Personal abuse and ridicule show you do not really believe your case.

          • pud

            Thanks for the further highly researched psychoanalysis! Was it divinely inspired?

          • Jean Camille

            Sarcasm is a poor substitute for insight. You are the one rejecting both science and logic when it does not fit your grandiose claims.

          • pud

            More LOL!

            Let’s compare our “grandiose claims” shall we?

            List mine….oh, nothing!

            List yours….invisible deities, invisible realms, invisible demons, dead men rising…etc etc etc etc

            While you’re busy composing your lengthy list perhaps as a bonus you’ll share the science behind speaking a universe into existence from nothing…miracles….souls…angels….demons….etc

            LOLOLOL!

          • Jean Camille

            No, let’s stay focused on your situation.

            On one side, Paul’s letter to the Roman congregation says, “ ..since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

            By contrast, you have chosen the convenience of believing there is nothing beyond facts you can observe, convenient because it allows you the illusion of being free of accountability to any other.

            And you seem proud to be closed to any re-evaluation of your position. It appears you like to feel superior to other people and ranting at Christians lets you feed that desire.

            The evidence accrued in psychology indicates we all have matters within us to process mentally. You, however, show no capacity for self-criticism and that leaves you vulnerable to a crash.

            You like having the last word in these discussions, but one day soon, circumstances will back you into a tight place. Then you may see finally that projecting your concerns onto other people is a waste of effort. Like all of us, you will profit only by addressing the conflicts from within yourself first.

            I have asked that the Father show you his presence in a way you can recognize.

            But, if you insist on “LOLling” around as you do now, then I am glad I will not be there to see the consequences.

            Gotta go. Cheers

          • pud

            I don’t have a “situation” you do.

            “paul” was a raving lunatic murderer psychotic who had visions. You know nothing more and yet you devote your entire world view to the rantings of an ancient nut case. I rest my case here.

            Thanks for your continuous professional psychoanalysis and concern for my mental state.

            Put in a good word for me with the invisible “father” that you have absolutely no evidence for…I’ll drop a line to Zeus on your behalf!

            LOL…oh no!! consequences!! Believe nonsense or be tortured forever!!!!!! LOL~!

          • Jean Camille

            BTW, you keep mentioning psychoanalysis, That is a system derived from the fantasies of Freud and Jung, not what I am doing.

            My responses to you arise from my observations and experiences. These include psychology, the systematic study of human behaviour, as you will know. So, please keep that distinction in mind.

            Your confronting behaviour is common in people who have been rejected decisively at some stage. It is paradoxical that, when we have been rejected, we set up confrontations that invite more rejection.

            The rationale seems to be that, if we set up the confronting scenario often enough, at some stage we will break through and overcome that primal sense of rejection.

            But that strategy fails. Behind it, there are unbidden impulses to seek out that rejection, giving it a life of its own. We can effectively lose control of the impulse, to the detriment of all our relationships.

            You have been crippled to provide a safe boundary. There is paradox in that as well.

          • pud

            The “christian crier” is a blog about your delusional wicked religious cult not me.

            Thanks for the analysis anyway! LOL

          • Jean Camille

            Why so disingenuous? We both know, whatever you write, it is always all about you. LOL 😉