Ephesians 2: “But God…”

Hey, Wait a Minute…

Like most high school guys, I took a shop class in high school. Actually is was a drafting class with an added element of building what you were drafting. Actually… there were times when we just sat at the computers and played a racing game while the teacher waited for someone to take the initiative. I remember my teacher Mr. Garrison always saying, “you’re only waisting your time.” Followed by, “All I got is time.” So that’s what we did, wasted time. Until one day I was tired of wasting time, and wanted to design and build stuff. I loved being in the shop! In fact, I had a reputation of making some of the best bongs and bowls in the entire school (it was high school, don’t judge me. Besides, I made them, not used them).

I finally went to Mr. Garrison and started to ask him to teach me how to draft. It was awesome! I would draft a project, then I would take them to the shop to build. There was really two types of students in the class; those who wanted to be there, and those who were just wasting time. At one point Mr. Garrison had to get on the group who was just messing around. He said, “You knuckle heads haven’t done anything for this class! All you do is sit hear and waste your own time! Look at Steve! If he can do this stuff, anyone can. I remember thinking, uh… thank you? Truth is, he was right.

The shop was a safe place, a place where I didn’t have to worry about trying to cover up a learning disability. You see, the very fact I went to college, received a Masters, and am pastoring a church is evidence of God’s grace… and that miracles do happen. Trust me, it’s not lost on me the number of times I feel God pointing to me and saying, “If I can use Steve, I can use anyone.”

This is exactly what Paul is saying here in Ephesians 2:7 (NLT) 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

When we read this we first think: Wow, what a great God we serve. But then when we let all that we just read from the beginning of the chapter sink in, we think: Hey, wait a minute… It’s kinda like God’s saying, Look at how broken, messed up, distorted this person is. They are standing here, redeemed, because of my incredible wealth of grace and kindness. Truth is, God’s right.

But God…

My Admin shared in staff meeting once the powerful truth she learned from one of her pastors along her journey. The simple phrase is, “But God.” Everything’s going to Hades in a hand-basket, but God… Life seems pretty tough and the world is crashing in around you, but God…

Ephesians 2:1-6 9 (NLT) 2 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

4 But God… is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.

Everyday is a day when we get to experience the simple, but compelling truth, But God…