This Week's Focus Passage

‘But God commendeth his own love toward us.’

Focus Passage: Romans 5:8

‘But God commendeth his own love toward us.’

This is one of the most beautiful of all of the ‘but Gods’ to be found in the Holy Scriptures. Indeed, where would any of us be but for God; but for His grace and mercy, undergirded by His everlasting love from before the foundation of the world? Where would the entire world be apart from the mercy of God? When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, rebelling against their sovereign Creator, would it not have been entirely the prerogative of God to take away that life that He had given to them? And apart from the promise of the Seed of the Woman, and God’s gracious faithfulness to every word that comes from Him, would it not have been reasonable of Him to destroy all mankind at the great flood rather than preserving Noah and his family, eight souls that were brought through that horrific and terrifying inundation in order to begin, as it were, a second ‘in the beginning,’ but Noah found favor in the eyes of Jehovah (ASV1901); Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (KJV). This is perhaps the first great ‘but God’ in the Scriptures, although technically speaking it is not ‘but God.’ It is ‘but Noah.’ Yet the favor, or grace, in the eyes of God do certainly constitute a grand ‘but God.’ This grace evolved—sorry—into the Noahic covenant. It may be argued that every ‘but God’ is an evidence of God’s covenant faithfulness to His promises.

Later on in this first book of the Word of God, and in the 31st chapter, we witness Jacob speaking to his wives, Leah and Rachel, the daughters of Laban, about the machinations of their father toward him.

And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, and said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as beforetime; but the God of my father hath been with me. And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.—Genesis 31:4-7.

It matters nothing whether it is a catastrophic upheaval of land with a corresponding flood of water, or a simple conniving relative like Jacob’s father-in-law, Laban. The ‘but God’ recorded for us in Scripture should remind the people of God of both His covenant faithfulness, as well as His sovereign power. He has said it and will He not do it; He is faithful and He is Almighty. If God is for us, who is against us?

This same truth is self-evident in the life of Joseph. Whose life can ever be likened unto the life of Joseph for vicissitudes; calamities and miracles combining from beginning to end, unless it be the life of our Savior Himself? Joseph pointed out God’s preserving grace to his brothers when he was reunited with them in Egypt. He told them in Genesis 45:7-8, reminding them again in Genesis 50:20:

And God sent me before you to preserve you a remnant in the earth, and to save you alive by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God. And as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

And this is iterated by Moses in Deuteronomy 9 when he rehearsed, to the people of Israel, the account of their folly and wickedness when they had made the molten calf, and had turned aside out of the way God had commanded. Moses reminded them of his own response to this provocation against Jehovah:

And I fell down before Jehovah, as at the first, forty days and forty nights; I did neither eat bread nor drink water; because of all your sin which ye sinned, in doing that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah to provoke him to anger. For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith Jehovah was wroth against you to destroy you. But Jehovah hearkened unto me that time also.

Hopefully, this puts immediately into our minds the activity of the Lord Jesus Christ on our behalf. The forty days and forty nights reminds us of our Lord successfully resisting the temptations of the evil one; His going without food or water forty days. The main comparison found in Moses, however, is this pleading with God; it is his intercession on behalf of the people. How often is it recorded of Christ that He was all night in prayer. And now He ever lives to intercede for us. Another ‘but Jehovah’ is found in the book of Isaiah which speaks of the glory of the Christ:

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of Jehovah is risen upon thee. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but Jehovah will rise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And nations shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.—Isaiah 60:1-3

This particular promise from ‘the gospel of Isaiah’ brings us to our focus passage from the ‘gospel of Paul’ in Romans.

Is there not a glorious correspondence between the ‘gospels’ of Isaiah and Paul? The gospel is the evangel; the good news. Isaiah has been inspired to prophesy of the Light of the World that is coming. When the Savior, in fact, did come at His incarnation, faithful old Simeon was constrained to praise God for His faithfulness to His promise by citing that covenant promise from another place in Isaiah, where we read in 42:6, I Jehovah have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thy hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles. Furthermore, His being a light was in to open eyes, to bring prisoners out of the dungeon, to bring those in darkness out of the prison-house. This is due to His shining upon those He came to save through His satisfaction at Golgotha, seeing it is God, that said, Light shall shine out of darkness, who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Is it not the case that we were dead in sin, but God so loved us that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believed on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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