Saturday, January 10, 2009

But God: Thankful for the "Buts" of Scripture!

Let us be reminded of the many "buts" of the Bible.

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. (Genesis 50:20 ESV) I’d bet ya Joseph’s brothers were thankful to hear this “but!”

And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand. (1 Samuel 23:14 ESV) I’m sure King David was thankful for this “but!”

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26 ESV)

And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” (Acts 9:4-6 ESV) I'm sure Saul was glad to hear this "but!"

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the law and the prophets testify. (Romans 3:20-21 ESV)

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person - though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die - but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8 ESV)

And you were dead in 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 whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:1-5 ESV)

[R]emember 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. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:12-13 ESV)

Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:10 ESV)

I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense - Jesus Christ, the righteous one. (1 John 2:1 ESV)

But for these biblical "buts," were would the people of Israel be? What would have happened to King David? What about Saul/Paul? And where would we as sinners be without his imputed righteousness, atoning death, and grace and mercy?! Perish (pun intended) the thought!

Can you think of a "but" verse (that I may have missed) that has ministered to you? If so, please share it.

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