Two of the sweetest words in all of the Bible.
We do this. The world is like that. I mess up like this. They’ve made a mess of things here. We’ve gone astray like that.
“But God,” tells us that God still acts in spite of our mistakes, still cleans up our messes in spite of ourselves, still loves us in spite of our running away, still is faithful to his design for us in spite of our best attempts to thwart it. “But God” is another way of saying “grace”: that God acts for us, in us, on our behalf, and in our place as a pure, unfettered, and free gift.
Any time you read “But God,” in the Bible, pay attention to what’s coming.
If you’re reading Ephesians with us right now in our Year of the Bible reading plan, you would have read the following paragraph today. Read it again:
4But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us5even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
Now read it again.
Commit it to memory. Or at least part of it.
Remember “But God” at least.
When you mess up, when you hurt someone you love, when you hurt someone you don’t love, when you hurt yourself, when you wish you could take it back, when you’ve made a mess, when you’ve made the mess messier, when you fail, when you can’t live up, when you don’t want to live up, when you think you’ve lost it all, when you think you’ve lost God’s love, remember: but God.