Connecting People to Jesus



“Significant Semantics”


Prayer:  Lord of all creation, God of the universe, we are amazed that You have gone to such incredible lengths to love and forgive us in the life and death and resurrection of Your Son Jesus.  We pray Lord that You would have mercy on us, and grant us the eyes and ears of faith to hear Your answers, Your Word, and that You would grant us the courage and strength of faith to walk in Your will and the ways You set before us.  In Jesus name, Amen.


Scripture: Romans 5:17

17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.


Devotional – “Significant Semantics”

The words “supra” and “super” are two words that not only look alike and sound alike, but also share very similar and sometimes indistinguishable meaning.  Technically speaking, if you were to look up these words in a dictionary, you would find that the Latin word “super” means “above and/or beyond”, and the Latin word “supra” means “above and/or beyond”.  The difference between them mainly exists in that “super” means something is above and beyond other things in comparison to other things, and “supra” means that something is above and beyond other things in order, time, relation (in other words, transcendent).

According to the grammar website Grammarist, “Some confusion arises because super and supra can be used as adjectives without being prefixes. Supra is rare, but it means to be mentioned above or earlier in the text. Super means exactly the same as its prefix form, bigger or better or greater in some way.”  Source Citation

Well, when it comes to God, the choice between using supra or super to describe Him is easy, because no choice is need.  God is both!  He is our super-God, who as the Creator of all things, is bigger and better than anything or anyone of anytime and anywhere.  Psalm 145:7 says, “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.”  Jeremiah 10:10 declares, “The Lord is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation.”

He is also our supra-God.  Psalm 90:2 says, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”  God Himself declares in Revelation 1:8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Now, although like most pastors I am fascinated by words, study them, work with them, and believe they are the most powerful force on the planet, I am certainly not just splitting hairs or just playing word games by saying that we have a “Supra-Super God!”

Perhaps one of the most common questions I get as a pastor is the question, “Why is God doing this?  Why is He letting this happen to me?”

We see repeatedly throughout Scripture God exercising His both His supra power (above and beyond and that transcends His created world) and His super power (over and against and through this sinful world of our own making).  God created the natural order of things, both in the physical world and in the spiritual world, and He most often works His supra natural power into our lives through supernatural ways.  In other words, our God who sees all and knows all and is above and beyond all, because He is before all, works that transcendent spiritual power in our lives in a super natural way.  This doesn’t mean that God’s work in our life is always visibly miraculous.  Most often, and because God created this world in order to work in and through it as He created it, God’s supranatural work in our life (His work that transcends this world)  is supernatural;  He works above and beyond this world, in this world, as He ordered it and created it to be.

Maybe a few examples are in order here.  Consider how God worked freedom for the Israelites enslaved by Pharaoh in Egypt.  Even knowing that Pharaoh would persist in hardening his own heart, God still worked through Moses and through His creation in order to deal justly with Pharaoh and bring about salvation for Israel.  Or, consider how God allowed Himself to be negotiated with by Abraham before bringing destruction upon Sodom and Gomorrah.  This was not an exercise in futility or an episode where God wasn’t sure what to do.  God desired communion with Abraham and was inviting him be a participant with God in the history of salvation.  2 Peter 1:4 says that God, “has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

In a third example, we see how God works His grace and power through even the less than desirable consequences of sin when He used a physical ailment to minister to and strengthen the Apostle Paul’s faith, even after Paul had prayed and begged God 3 times for healing.  Paul recounts in 2 Corinthians 12:9 how God answered his prayers and said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” “Therefore,” Paul says, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Over and over again, we see God working His supranatural power in and through, above and beyond the natural world He created, supernaturally.  Ultimately, this supra-super work of God’s grace and power, is seen in God working salvation in and through, above and beyond, the brokenness and sinfulness of men by becoming man Himself in Jesus Christ, dying without sin, for sin, and rising again to that place above all from which He came.  We see how in Christ God used even the corrupt institutions of man-made religion and government, submitting Himself to the horrors of our wickedness; allowing Himself to be unjustly tried, convicted and sentenced to a horrible death on the cross.  Indeed, the love of God is more powerful than the wickedness of men.

God displays His supra-super power, not by eradicating evil and all the negative consequences of sin, but working above and beyond the sinfulness of men and the brokenness of this world to bring about His redemption and restoration.

God may not will for someone to get sick, but He may allow the consequence of sin on our bodies and on creation to run its course in order to work out salvation on a personal level.  God certainly does not will or create evil, but as with Pharaoh and the Exodus from Egypt, God will use even evil against itself to accomplish His loving, merciful and saving will and work.  God does not wish that anyone should perish, have to die, suffer or go to hell, but God is not a puppet master.  The dice are not loaded and the deck of cards we are dealt in life are not all pre-determined in such a way that resigns us to fatalism.  God is so mighty, so powerful and so loving that He redeems what sin has destroyed.  He takes the broken, shattered pieces of our life to bring about a new and eternal creation by His supra-super grace, and through faith in Jesus Christ.

Thanks for joining me for another daily devotion in God’s Word, and remember that God has forgiven yesterday, is with you today, and has already taken care of tomorrow.  Amen.