F.M. Sciutto III

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

Posts Tagged ‘sin

Confession and Mercy in Psalm 25

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[1] To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
[2] O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
[3] Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

[4] Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
teach me your paths.
[5] Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.

[6] Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
[7] Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!

[8] Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
[9] He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
[10] All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

[11] For your name’s sake, O LORD,
pardon my guilt, for it is great.
[12] Who is the man who fears the LORD?
Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
[13] His soul shall abide in well-being,
and his offspring shall inherit the land.
[14] The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him,
and he makes known to them his covenant.
[15] My eyes are ever toward the LORD,
for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
[16] Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
[17] The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
bring me out of my distresses.
[18] Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.

[19] Consider how many are my foes,
and with what violent hatred they hate me.
[20] Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!
Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
[21] May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for you.

[22] Redeem Israel, O God,
out of all his troubles.
(Psalm 25 ESV, emphasis mine)

Written by sciuttfm

April 10, 2011 at 1:54 AM

Psalm 19:12-14

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[12] Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.

[13] Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.

[14] Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Written by sciuttfm

March 15, 2011 at 2:31 PM

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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

More Than Just a Birthday Celebration

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While on break, an older woman with whom I work was talking to me about a Christmas tradition that her and her family do each year. She explained how she has a nativity scene, which was described as a nativity scene you could find in the majority of American homes around this time of year. However, the only piece missing in the scene is Jesus in the manger. He is left out until Christmas Eve, which then one her grandchildren carries Him out and places Him between Mary and Joseph.

So far, none of this sounds strange or out of the ordinary, does it? That is because it is not strange or out of the ordinary. Well, not yet anyway.

After Jesus is placed into the scene, she proceeded to tell me that her and her family then begin to sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. That is what struck me as very odd. A song that is usually song during a child’s birthday celebration is sung at the time the celebration of the birth of Jesus takes place. After that, I just nodded my head and smiled. I had nothing to say to that. I was perplexed just as much as I was shocked.

Now, this is not a rant against the traditions that one may preform during Christmastime. My hope is to have people reflect on what they are celebrating during this time of the year and why. Christmas with no attention to the God who sent His Son into this fallen world to be an atoning sacrifice is shallow and, frankly, meaningless.

Christmas is more than just a birthday celebration for Jesus (considering He probably was not even born around this time of the year). A lot more. Yes, Christmas is a time in which family and friends are brought closer together, and those things are great, but that is not the reason and purpose of Christmas.

We should not forget the reason why we even celebrate Christmas in the first place. It is because God the Father, in eternity past, made a plan with God the Son to redeem His fallen creation by taking on flesh because of His immense grace and love toward His creation. The Son then took on flesh by being conceived by God the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. Being born of a virgin, a sin-nature was never passed to Jesus, and being conceived by the Holy Spirit, God the Son took on flesh. Jesus had to remain sinless in order to accomplish full atonement for His people’s sin by sacrificing Himself on the cross for His people’ sin; raising from the dead, thereby defeating sin and death; delivering His people from the bondage of sin, death, and hell; and presenting them as righteous before the Father. We must remember how the glory of the incarnation of the Son leads to the glorious cross where our innocent Savior was crucified for our crimes against God’s holiness, and then praise God for it!

We should not forget the purpose of Christmas, which is to look forward to Christ’s second-coming to Earth, His judgment and redemption of this fallen world, and when we, who are His, dwell with Him in the New Heavens and New Earth for an infinitely joyful eternity.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

(2 Peter 3:8-13 ESV)

It can be so easy to get swallowed up in the consumerism of the holiday and forget about the God who sent His Son to save us. We need to be deliberate in how we celebrate during Christmastime.

Praise God for sending His Son to satisfy God’s just wrath against our sin! Praise God for promising to send Christ again to finally bring His sons and daughters to glory and have them dwell with Him forever!

This Christmas, we need to share the wonderful Truth of the Gospel by presenting it with our words and deeds to our family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

Written by sciuttfm

December 24, 2010 at 2:12 AM

There’s a Point to the Law? – Part 1

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For the longest time, I thought the law was just a bunch rules given to the Jews that had to be followed until Jesus came, and then He replaced the law, which gave anyone the opportunity to become a part of God’s family if the trusted in Him. Obviously, I was young, wrong, and ignorant about the “whole of Scripture.” Throughout junior high and high school, I just ignored the law and anything Old Testament because I though it was, well, old, out-dated, and not “relevant” to our modern times. My ignorance was a result of my own laziness and lack of desire to dig deeper into God’s Word and study what the purpose of the law really was.

It is only by God’s grace that have I been shown the wondrous beauty of His Word and sovereign grace through discussions, sermons, and books by great men who continue to influence me.

So, now, to answer that question I swept under the rug for all those years: what is the point on the law?

In this first entry, I want to show why learning the “why” of the law is important in the first place, which is fairly easy. It is legalism. The misuse of God’s law by attempting to earn God’s favor by obeying His commandments instead of relying on Him through faith. Without understanding that we so often misuse the law to produce our own righteousness, we will continue relying on ourselves to do what only God can do.

In his sermon, “Why Then the Law?” John Piper discusses how “legalism is a greater menace to the church than alcoholism”:

“Alcoholics are in a tragic bondage. And we must do all we can to help. But legalism is more subtle and more pervasive and, in the end, more destructive. Satan clothes himself as an angel of light and makes the very commandments of God his base of operations. And the human heart is so inveterately proud and unsubmissive that it often uses religion and morality to express its rebellion. As Romans 10:3 says, “In seeking to establish their own righteousness, they would not submit to the righteousness of God.” The pursuit of righteousness can lead to perdition. So Galatians admonishes us: Know why the law was given and don’t be bewitched into pursuing it in a way that leads to death, but only in a way that leads to life.”

Legalism is rooted in the misunderstanding of the purpose of the law, which is why the Judaizers (Jewish professing “Christians”) in Paul’s letter to the Galatians are attempting to tell others they have to follow the Jewish laws after believing in Jesus in order to earn salvation. However, Paul responds by explaining to them God’s purpose of the law and how it correlates to Jesus’ coming to earth, living a sinless life, dying for our sin on the cross, and rising again, defeating death and sin in order for us to be counted as righteous before God. Now, that shows the love of God for us! A god who just gives rules for his creation to follow displays no love or real hope and, thereby, cannot be a just and holy god if he just accepts anyone who “tried hard enough” because he would be neither just nor holy.

Piper summarizes in his sermon the danger of misunderstanding the law by stating, “If we don’t understand why it was given, we can kill ourselves with it,” which echoes Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” Living in legalism is living in bondage to sin because you are relying on self, instead of Christ’s righteousness, for salvation.

Hopefully, one can now see and understand the dangers of misusing the law that God has given His creation for their own righteousness by means of legalism. The following entry will then answer the question that Paul, too, asks: “why then the law?”

Written by sciuttfm

July 25, 2010 at 6:12 PM

“Because of me”

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Because of me – Ray Ortlund.

“Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say to us, ‘I am here because of you.  It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.’  Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross.  All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary.  It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.”

John R. W. Stott, The Message of Galatians (London, 1968), page 179.

I hope to post more “original” material on here, but I will more than likely post a lot of things I come across through my own listening and reading.

Written by sciuttfm

May 31, 2010 at 12:37 AM

Remember the Gospel

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I wrote this a month or so ago and posted it on my Tumblr account and in our Crazy Love discussion board on Facebook. I liked it enough to want to have it posted on here as well. It is just a reflection I wrote while I had been reading Richard Phillips’ What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace? The little book is great, and I recommend it. This reflection is just a personal reaction to what I have read in that book, conversations I have had over the past couple months, and my own Scripture reading. I hope it makes you glorify God for all He is.

Remember our lives are meant for glorifying God in all we do. He has provided us with everything: life, the church, family and friends, and, most of all, salvation.

Our hearts were deceitful and turned away from God. Our wills were totally against God, and without His grace and love through Jesus, we would not have even sought Him (Romans 3:10-18).

By God, the Creator of everything, sending His only Son, then sacrificing Him on a cross, though He was innocent and sinless, for our own sins, each and every one of them, how can we not give the God, who gave us His all, everything we have? How can we not give Him our anxieties? Our worries? Our time? Our money? Our thoughts? Our attention? Our hearts? Our desires? Our love? Our security? Our safety? Our joy?

He loves us so much! We cannot even comprehend it! Why would God, the Creator of everything, after being sinned against by mankind for thousands of years, choose to redeem His Creation? Why would He deem us worthy us saving? We hated Him (Romans 1:28-31).

But He loved us and showed us immeasurable grace! The Father sent His Son to absorb the wrath we deserved for our sins on the cross. In our place, He stood a condemned man. He would have been just in sending everyone to hell, but He chose not to. “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). His love for us, shown by His grace for us, brings us to Him.

Sending Jesus Christ to live a perfect sinless life, endure God’s wrath for mans’ own sin, and be resurrected was necessary for our salvation because without Jesus paying the penalty for our sins, we would be unable to do anything to earn justification from God, and we would be damned by the Holy and Just God (Romans 3:21-26). God had to crucify His own Son in order for us to be justified before Him. His own Son! No one can comprehend that amount of love nor can anyone replicate such love for another.

God chose us before the foundations the world to be justified in Him (Ephesians 1:4), which is why the Gospel is so amazing. It requires nothing of us. God does it all. He seeks us out, He calls upon us, He regenerates us, He gives us faith, He rescues us, and He works in us throughout our lives, sanctifying us until our glorification when we finally meet Him face-to-face. Everything is in His hands. We have no reason to continue in our sin of counting ourselves as worth more than our Savior; we have been rescued from sin’s hold and brought from death in sin to life in Christ.

Reflect on His Gospel and what it should mean to us. This is something to dwell on and live your life. We need to show this world that there is a love greater than anyone of us can comprehend and tell them of His great love through Jesus: our Savior!

Written by sciuttfm

April 7, 2010 at 9:24 PM