F.M. Sciutto III

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

Posts Tagged ‘joy

Conflict Exercises the Graces

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lettersofjohnnewton“That though afflictions in themselves are not joyous, but grievous, yet in due season they yield the peaceful fruits of righteousness. Various and blessed are the fruits they produce. By affliction prayer is quickened, for our prayers are very apt to grow languid and formal in a time of ease. Affliction greatly helps us to understand the Scriptures, especially the promises; most of which being made to times of trouble, we cannot so well know their fulness, sweetness, and certainty, as when we have been in the situation to which they are suited, have been enabled to trust and plead them, and found them fulfilled in our own case.”

John Newton, Letters of John Newton, p. 185-186

Written by sciuttfm

February 4, 2012 at 2:46 AM

“Boasting Only in the Cross”

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A great man in my life has recently moved him and his family across the country to plant a church. He and his family have many difficulties ahead of them with hoping their house sells, working full-time, and planting a church. However, what is most inspiring and encouraging is his Gospel-saturated view on everything. He is fully aware of the goodness of God and His unfailing mercy towards him. With difficult trials ahead of them, his boast is only in Christ crucified!

With seemingly insurmountable difficulties, he sees that God will work good for those who trust in Him and will make much of Christ even in the midst of suffering .

John Piper explains well how every good and bad thing shows God’s ultimate goodness, and without it, we would have nothing but condemnation:

For redeemed sinners, every good thing -indeed every bad thing that God turns for good – was obtained for us by the cross of Christ. Apart from the death of Christ, sinners get nothing but judgment. Apart from the cross of Christ, there is only condemnation. Therefore, everything that you enjoy in Christ – everything you boast in, everything you exult in – is owing to the death of Christ. And all your exultation in other things is to be an exultation in the cross where all your blessings were purchased for you at the cost of Christ’s life.

Christ died for our sins on the cross and took away the wrath of God from us and secured for us, even though we don’t deserve it, God’s omnipotent grace that works everything together for our good (“Boasting Only in the Cross“, 20 May 2000).

My prayer is that they (and myself) continue to magnify the cross of Christ and that “His death becomes your death and His life becomes your life.” Only by faith in what Christ has done for us can we be crucified to the desires of the world and the desires of the world be crucified to us.

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

Written by sciuttfm

November 14, 2010 at 4:17 PM

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

Our Hope: Righteousness

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“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 ESV)

“For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.” (Galatians 5:5 ESV)

We look back at the death of Christ for us while we were still sinners. We feel again the immensity of his love. Then we turn our eyes to the day’s work and to the uncertainties of the years ahead, and we trust that because of this unfailing love he will not leave us or forsake us. He will work all things together for our good. And so there comes into our lives a freedom from self-protecting anxiety, and a passion to double our joy in God by giving it away to others (John Piper; “Our Hope: Righteousness”; 1 June 1986).

Written by sciuttfm

September 8, 2010 at 1:47 PM