Two Words that Give Us Hope
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
It is one of the Apostle Paul’s common teaching tools to paint the worst possible picture, to bring us to despair, to make us think that our situation is beyond relief, and then to use these two little words to show us that there is hope: “But God.”
No matter how bad a sinner we may have been, there is still this ray of light: “But God.”
Every true believer was once in the condition Paul described in Ephesians 2. We were dead in trespasses and sins. We walked according to the course of this world. We conducted ourselves in the lusts of the flesh. We fulfilled the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and we were by nature children of wrath, just like everyone else.
“But God.” None of that previous wickedness goes beyond the infinite reaches of God’s mercy. God has more mercy than we have sin. The gospel is not offered to young sinners, or amateur sinners, or part-time sinners only. The gospel is for everyone who will embrace Christ in all of His offices as prophet, priest, and king.
God does not say, “As long as you have only committed this small number of sins, My mercy extends to you.” He says, “Come.”
“But God.” A person may be impoverished in his or her wickedness, but God is rich in mercy.
Let that always be our response to the enemy our souls when he accuses us with our sin. “You are a great sinner!”
And let our response always be, “But God is a greater Savior.”
Dr. Don Kistler