Do you know what God hates most? One of the things he hates most is boasting by sinful men and women who want people to notice how well they are doing spiritually. Moreover, he says that one reason why he does things the way he does is that he does not want us boasting in his presence. If God did not receive us entirely apart from whatever ability or credentials we might be able to present, but if instead he looked for those who had made some achievements in life, even though he saved them by grace, adding much to that little bit they had already done–there would be boasting in heaven.
Years ago, Donald Barnhouse wrote an interesting little pamphlet called How God Uses Little Things. It was excellent. In that pamphlet he went through the Bible from beginning to end, listing all the things that God uses. He began with Genesis, asking, "What did God use when He made man?" It was not plutonium. It was not gold. It was not steel, or any of the many other things we would consider valuable. It was dust, one of the most useless things there is. But what happened? God breathed into the dust so that man became a living soul.
If we look at Ephesians 2:1-10 (nkjv), we find some important adjectives that describe us. They are not at all complimentary. Paul said that we "were dead in trespasses and sins," that is, that we were corpses, spiritually speaking. Then he added that we were, however, not inactive corpses–ones just lying there–but, rather, active ones; ones that were always up to some mischief. He said, "…You followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air." And then he brought God’s judgment into the picture and he said, "And you were children of wrath." When we hear those adjectives, we say, well, is there nothing good to be said? Paul’s probable reply to us would be: "Yes, in time, in time; but look, there are just a few more things that I want you to hear first. And here they are: just remember that in God’s sight you are also foolish, and weak, and ignoble."
First Corinthians 1:26-29 is one of the most important passages with the words "But God–" in the Scriptures. Quite a few verses that begin with the words "But God–" come from the first epistle to the Corinthians, probably because Paul looked upon the situation as he found it in Corinth and then thought of all that God is able to do to the contrary.
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