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