The previous three articles of Sharing the Word examined passages in which the conjunction “but” contrasts two profound truths with emphasis on the latter being a statement of divine action on behalf of the individuals who are recipients of God’s grace. Some passages cited were from the Old Testament, but equally profound statements are found in the gospels and epistles.
Divine intervention and guidance is revealed throughout the Scriptures as God moves to implement His plan. Man devises his plans as… The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD” (Prov 16:33 NIV). Luck is not a valid Biblical concept, for with God there are no accidents in life.
The believer in Christ is encouraged knowing that ... “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Luke 12:6-7 NIV). The prophet Isaiah encouraged his people who were threatened with destruction by the Assyrians … “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you” (Isa 46:3-4 NIV).
Jeremiah prophesied that the nation of Judah would enter seventy years of deserved captivity for its disobedience to divine commands, but God gave the people His assurance that He would not forsake them … “This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile” (Jer 29:10-14 NIV).
Repeatedly throughout Scripture is seen the wonderful truth … “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy…” (Eph 2:4a NIV). That truth applied to Israel, His chosen people, but it also applies to every member of the human race and to those who have placed their faith in Christ as Savior. Humanity was subject from birth to the bondage of the sin principle residing within mankind … “But now that you [Christian] have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:22-23 NIV).
Concerning the believer’s new position and spiritual walk … “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you” (Rom 8:9-11 NIV). God introduces magnificent truths in simplicity i.e.” but,” so that all may understand His indescribable love and grace.