F.M. Sciutto III

By His Free Grace Alone, To Be Treasured Alone, & For His Glory Alone

Posts Tagged ‘belief

Respond in Love

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“The way to be wise is to believe in the God of the Bible and to live faithfully for Christ. Dawkins, Harris, and other atheists love to attack Christians by rehearsing all the terrible things that have been done in the name of Christ. Admittedly, there is plenty for them to criticize, from the Crusades of Europe to Apartheid in South Africa.

“It is tempting to respond by saying that the people who committed these sins were never really Christians to begin with. But maybe it would be better to say that we also believe in the depravity of Christianity. Our claim is not that we are any better than anyone else, but rather that we need as much forgiveness as anyone. We also believe that there is forgiveness for us in Jesus, who died for all the wrong things that Christians have ever done.

“Now we need to live like we believe it, with such sacrificial service to others that whatever else the atheists may say, they will never be able to claim that we do not know how to love. To paraphrase the apostle Peter: “Keep your conduct among the atheists honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:12).”

– Phillip Ryken (Emphasis mine)

Atheism – Reformation21.

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Written by sciuttfm

October 18, 2012 at 11:57 PM

God in Man’s Image?

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Here is an excerpt from an article by Gregory Koukl of Stand to Reason:

Maybe we made a trade-off, some might suggest.  By creating a god who makes demands we surrendered a little autonomy, but we received meaning, significance, and security (or at least the illusion of it) in the swap.  But then there’s a different problem.

If we were to invent a god, what would he be like?  If we fashioned a god of our choosing, would we create a god like the one in the Bible?  A god formed by human hands would mirror human sensibilities and human proclivities.  He would think and act, more or less, like we do.  As our invention, his morality would reflect our desires.  When we erred, he’d cluck his disapproval and then dismiss our frailties with an affectionate kids-will-be-kids shrug.  After all, nobody’s perfect.  And this is the kind of god many religions seem to produce.  Not Christianity, though.

The curious thing about the God of the Bible is how unlike us He is.  His wisdom confuses us; His purity frightens us.  He makes moral demands we can’t live up to, then threatens retribution if we don’t obey.  Instead of being at our beck and call, He defies manipulation.  In His economy, the weak and humble prevail and the last become first.

Is the Christian God just an idea?  Did we invent Him?  Could we invent Him?  Is He the kind of god we would create if left to our own devices?  Or have we seen the true God and trembled–closed our eyes, hid our faces, and turned our backs?

There is no reason to believe that mankind has the capacity or desire to create a god beyond measure and comprehension, yet is personable and sovereign over all things, that demands perfect obedience and is holy, that is love and perfectly just, and then write a book that is so diverse in content and genres, yet so singular in its purpose and theme. The Bible, in of itself, gives us reason to trust that is indeed the Word of God and not some invention of man.

The Bible contains 66 books, written by approximately 40 different writers, over 1600 years, on 3 different continents, in 3 different languages, on thousands of different subjects, yet with one central theme—God’s redemption of mankind from sin won for the whole world by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Faith Facts).

In the Bible, God is the One who desires and receives the glory in all things, which is the opposite of what our flesh desires, namely, our own glory and satisfaction. The entire Bible points to Jesus Christ (He even acknowledged that Himself) as being the crucified, yet resurrected, Messiah that has redeemed mankind and will return to rescue us from this fallen world of which God will eventually restore and bring about the New Heavens and New Earth where all who are His will dwell with the Son for eternity.

Written by sciuttfm

February 9, 2011 at 3:54 PM

“He is coming for His bride, washed and cleansed by the Word, without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish”

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From Rollin Grams of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary:

In 2 Th. 1:11-12, we find the prayer of Paul, Silvanus and Timothy for believers living between Christ’s first and second advent: that God would work powerfully in their lives so that he might (1) count them worthy of his calling and (2) bring to completion their every good purpose and work of faith (vs. 11):

Note, first, that God’s calling is all about what we are called to be: worthy. God chose us to be holy and blameless before him in love (Eph. 1:4).

Second, faith is more than belief: it produces its own work. Faith works itself out in love (Gal. 5:6).

Third, this is God’s work in us. Given the task of working out our salvation in fear and trembling, we discover God at work in us to will and to do his good purpose (Phil. 2:12- 13). The marks of being God’s chosen people are belief in the truth and sanctification by the Spirit (2 Th. 2:13).

When Jesus returns, he is not coming simply for an elect people with faith in him (cf. Mt. 25:14ff). He is coming for his bride, washed and cleansed by the Word, without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:26-27). The gospel is to be obeyed (2 Th. 1:8) so that the name of our Lord Jesus might be glorified in us (vs. 10, 12).

A few thoughts on the new creation

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Whoever may be reading this, please know that I have not abandoned this. I have been busy with school and what not. I hope to have more time soon, so I can continue to write.

Recently, I have finished reading through Galatians while simultaneously reading through John Piper’s sermons on Paul’s respective letter. In the final sermon in his 1983 series, Piper presents a challenge for Christians by showing that Paul’s desire for God’s children was not to give them truths to believe but to show them that they are new creations, have died to the world and the world to them, and are now called to live in the freedom of the cross:

The history of the Christian Church is marred by groups who have ripped the heart out of faith by making it a dry, formal intellectual assent to certain truths. Paul prevents us from doing that by the way he ends his letter. The mindset of the new creation does not just agree that Christ died for sinners; it glories in the cross. It boasts in the wonder of the cross. It cherishes the benefits of the cross. The cross is the pride and joy of the new creation (“Only a New Creation Counts“, 28 August 1983, emphasis mine).

My prayer is that we will have the joy that flows from Christ crucified so that our boast may only be in Him.

I will conclude with an urgent plea from ending of that sermon (emphasis mine):

None of us will be saved because we are perfect or because anything we do earns God’s approval. The peace of God and the mercy of God are free gifts purchased on Calvary for all who walk by this rule—the rule of Christ- exaltation, not self-exaltation. Right standing with God is not merited by works. It is given freely to those who glory in the work of Christ on the cross. Therefore, I urge you to come to the cross. And if you are there, I urge you to glory in the cross. Christ crucified is the basis of all our prayers, the assurance of all God’s love, the certainty of full forgiveness, the ground of all our hope, and the fountain of midnight peace and morning mercies for ever and ever. Amen.

Written by sciuttfm

November 2, 2010 at 4:18 AM

The Slippery Slope of Legalism

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It has been a while since I have posted something original, but I have been busy with life, though I have a couple of drafts and ideas that need finished and developed.

Recently, I have been reading and getting destroyed by Paul’s letter to the Galatians. It amazes me (and even scares me a little) how quickly I shift into legalism and try to work for our own righteousness instead of resting, in faith, on what Jesus did. By relying on the law for our righteousness, we are cursed, but when we rely on Christ’s atonement for our sin, through faith, we are blessed with Christ’s righteousness and the Holy Spirit, who is God dwelling inside us, empowering us to be more Christlike.

John Piper has (again) pointed out a “major battle” that I struggle with it everyday:

“The major battle was the fight of faith. Did I really believe that when Jesus died, all my curse was lifted so that I could say with Scripture, “What can man do to me” (Hebrews 13:6; Romans 8:31–34)? Did I really believe that the death of Jesus is the pledge of God to withhold no good thing from those who trust him (Psalm 84:11; Romans 8:32)? Did I really believe all things would work together for my good (Romans 8:28)? Did I really trust the counsel of Christ when he said, “Do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say; but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit” (Mark 13:11)? This is the struggle of everyday Christian life, and it is your most important work every day: how to keep your day’s activities from becoming works of law, and how to live by faith in the Son of God who loved you and gave himself for you to redeem you from the curse of legalism.” (Christ Redeemed Us from the Curse of the Law: Galatians 3:1-14; April 10, 1983)

If I really believed what Christ accomplished for me on the Cross, why do I worry so much about my reputation and how people treat me? If Jesus is my everything, why do I seek comfort in this world when it will only leave me broken and crushed?

Jesus, help me to treasure You above all things and to see others as in desperate need for You.

Written by sciuttfm

July 19, 2010 at 12:49 AM