It doesn’t even have four letters so it can be called a fourletterword, can it? It’s a little, seemingly harmless three-letter word. “But” is just another conjunction that connects independent clauses together. And, besides, we learned about it in that fun, “Conjunction Junction what’s your function,” song during Saturday morning cartoons. So what could be scary about that, right?
Yet this little three-letter word often stings like a fourletterword.
- Girlfriend to boyfriend, “I’ve had a lot of fun with you, but…”
- Landlord to tenant, “I know you are trying to catch up., but…”
- Boss to employee, “You are doing a great job, but…”
- Doctor to patient, “Some results are looking good, but…”
- Pastor to congregation, “God loves you, but…”
- Husband to wife, “We’ve had a great life together, but…”
"But" is the hinge of the sentence. We were doing good until we got to the “but,” then what precedes it doesn’t matter much since what follows it may change everything.
But what about the instances where “but” changes everything. For the better.
All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.—Ephesians 2:3-5
We all started life as sinners. No matter your personal morality, you know you’ve violated it. You’ve fallen short. The Bible—when measuring our behavior by God’s perfect righteousness—calls our falling short of His standard sin.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.—Romans 6:23
Our sin earns us the wage of death. God offers us the gift of eternal life. That “but” is the hinge that our eternal destiny swings on.
But… because God loves us so much.
But… because God has such great mercy.
But… because God knew we were worth saving.
But… because God wants us to have the gift of eternal life.
I pray Ephesians 2:4 and Romans 6:23 redeem the word “but” for you, but I pray more so that you would be redeemed by Jesus who loves you.