Did you ever notice when you talk about the grace of God there’s always someone who says, “Grace is great, BUT…”
You know why they say that? They think that sin is stronger than grace, that’s why. They don’t trust grace. They think sin is stronger than the Cross of Christ.
The word BUT is never used in connection with grace, ever. It’s always used in connection with sin. For instance:
1) In Romans 1:18-3:20 Paul tells us about the idolatry of the nations and all the evil practices that went with it. Then in 3:21 Paul says, “BUT now…” Then Paul goes on to teach us that we are justified gratuitously in God’s grace through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus. The BUT is used in connection with sin – not Grace. Paul is saying, “Look at all this sin, BUT, don’t worry about it, there’s grace. You can’t out-sin grace!”
2) In Ephesians 2:1-3 Paul tells us about the time when the nations were idolatrous and children of indignation. Then in verse 4 Paul says, “BUT now…” Then Paul goes on to tell us how God loves us in spite of our awful past and he magnifies the “transcendent riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Again, the BUT is used in regards to sin. “Look at all this sin, BUT, don’t worry about it, there’s grace. You can’t out-sin grace!”
3) Then in 1 Timothy 1:13 Paul tells us about his past. He killed believers because of his ignorance and unbelief. Then in verse 14 Paul says, “BUT I was shown mercy, seeing that I do it being ignorant, in unbelief. Yet the grace of our Lord overwhelms, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.” Again, the BUT is used in regards to Paul’s past. His past was needed to magnify grace! Paul was saying, “Look at all my sin, BUT, I don’t worry about it, there’s grace. I can’t out-sin grace!”
So, those who don’t understand grace say, “Grace is great, BUT…” They undervalue the work of Christ.
Those who understand grace say, “Sin is great, BUT Grace took care of it! It’s taken care of. Finished. Over and done. We can’t out-sin grace.” They magnify the work of Christ.
The moral of the story: Keep your self-righteous BUT in your pants. We don’t even want to see plumbers crack! If there’s a BUT, it isn’t grace!