"And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." Genesis 50:19-20
The phrase "but God" is used 44 times throughout our Bible. I won't go through all of them here ~ but if you want an interesting study take the time to read them sometime.
We are totally depraved sinners who cannot earn or merit in any way, a right relationship with God. Before I became a Christian, I was "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1).
I "walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working in the children of disobedience" (v. 2).
I too lived "in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." (v. 3)
Isn't that an ugly picture? It is, but it is an honest picture of my life before Christ ~ just as it is an honest portrayal of everyon'es life without Chirst.
It is the sad state of every person outside of Christ. We have each failed in the eyes of a holy and righteous God. We are sinners. Our lives do not bring glory to God. Because we are sinners, we cannot please Him with our self-righteousness and religious works, no matter how good our motives or our works.
But wait.....then there are the two simple words ~~ "But God."
Yes, "but God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us" (v. 4).
That same holy and righteous God had "mercy" on us. The word means loving kindness, help in the time of need. It is God’s active intervention to help. He is the Helper of the helpless.
"But God . . . loved us" (John 3:16; Rom. 5:6, 8).
"But God . . . loved us, even when we were dead in sins" (Eph. 2:5).
"But God . . . made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus" (v. 6).
That is grace! We have a completely new relationship with God because of His rich love, mercy and grace.
Dead in transgressions? Dead in sin? YES, WE WERE!!! But God performs resurrections. He reaches down to where ruined, miserable trapped sinners are living, and brings them to spiritual life again. He calls them; and His voice, which quickens the dead brings them running to that which beforehand they both shunned and feared."
No one can take the credit but God alone. It is God’s Sovereign, free grace that makes us right with God.
"But God . . . . That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."(v. 7).
Through out all eternity the redeemed will sing, "Saved by Grace." We are trophies of God’s saving grace and will be to His honor and glory alone through out eternity (Rev. 4:8-11; 5:9-17).
"But God" rich in mercy, loved us, with His great love, saved us by His grace and made us alive with Him, raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in a vital union with Him and "Apart from the quickening voice of God there would be no hope for anyone.
" But God" out of the great love with which He loved us had mercy upon us. We were dead, and dead men do not rise, but God made us alive with Christ.
We were slaves, . . . and powerless, but God has raised us up with Christ and set us at His own right hand, in a position of honor and power."
I cannot take credit for this short devotional above. It was sent to me in an email and the author is unknown ~~ but the words and thought touched my heart. Just to think ~ But for God, where would we be??
My prayer for everone who reads this today is that you have a day filled with the presence of God. Take time today to thanks Him for all He has blessed you with. One thing I always thank Him for ~ my friends in Christ, those I have met - and those I have not....because I will be spending eternity with them all.