F.M. Sciutto III

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

Posts Tagged ‘sovereignty

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

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

“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

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