I have a Pastor and a friend named Rob.
The longer I serve at Karis, the more I understand why Rob is the Executive Pastor. This guy has the ability to notice details like no one else, and understands the long-term implications of the seemingly insignificant.
With that in mind, it’s unsurprising that he speaks often about a phrase in the Bible that I never noticed before; “but God”.
He mentions his fondness for these two words pretty often, be it in sermons or casual conversations. It comes up so frequently, that my husband can usually predict when Rob is about to reference a verse with those two words in it.
Out of the thousands of rich passages and verses in the Bible, it seems silly to get so invested in two simple words like “but God”.
Then you listen to Rob talk about it for a while, and the investment makes sense. A phrase like”but God” has the extraordinary ability to tell of the fullness of the Gospel, with the use of only two words.
I once looked up the phrase “But God” in an online search engine, looking for the precise amount of times it was used in the Bible. That exact phrase turned up 44 verses. I could have gotten more results if I had made adjustments. However, 44 verses seemed like more than enough to justify Rob’s appreciation for those two words.
Two words. When breathed out by our God, two words have the power to completely unravel centuries of failure, sin, misery and death.
We are helpless, wayward and fearful. But God fills our hearts with His strength, and His sufficiency consumes the foolish heart.
We’ve lived our lives as murderers, deceivers, covenant breakers, idolaters and enemies of God. But God restores us through his merciful plan, and makes us new.
Our thoughts, words and actions are responsible for the destruction of creation. But God meant our evil actions for good.
Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. It is the apex and crown of the phrase “But God”:
“And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear” -Acts 10:39-40
“But God” is the undoing of all our foolishness.
“But God” is the song of countless redeemed.
‘But God” is the power that rolled the stone away from the grave of a rich man, revealing the resurrection of Christ.
“But God” is the reason we get to carry tomorrow’s Easter praises with us into eternity, rather than perish in Hell.
“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 5:7-8 ESV
He is Risen. We are redeemed. Praise God for the power of two little words.