The Consequences of Obedience

by Mike Ratliff

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” (Hebrews 2:10-12 ESV)

The last few days have been pretty rough. However, as most of you are aware, prior to writing those posts on profanity and coarse language, I wrote several posts on humility and boldness. Part of being that humble believer who boldly stands in the gap, sword drawn, and fighting the good fight is taking the hits from fiery darts and blows to the shield, helmet and armor. I know that I am far from perfect. I know, unless I am Spirit-filled, I will be involved in fleshly pursuits that are sin.

I counsel each of you reading this to stay out of the battle unless you prepare first. The spiritual oppression and resulting deception that inhabit these battles is very real and can cause much doubt and heartache unless we remain on our knees and obedient. The enemy will tell you that the battle we were in these last few days was simply what words are okay to say what words aren’t okay for Christians. That was not what this battle was about at all. This battle was about the veracity of the Spirit-filled life as taught in scripture. What does it mean to be conformed to this world or not? What does it mean to be holy as God is holy? Are we regenerate and, therefore, a new creation as scripture teaches, or are we simply religious people who can live any way we want? Is Jesus Lord or not?

How do we become holy, as God is holy? The answer is found in Ephesians 5:17-18.

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, (Ephesians 5:17-18 ESV)

People not controlled by the Holy Spirit are living in foolishness and darkness. Whom does the Holy Spirit control? The Holy Spirit controls the Spirit-filled believer not those bound to their flesh. Please notice that this is a command for us to be filled with the Spirit. This being so, what are the consequences if we are obedient? We find the answer to that in vv19-21.

addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:19-21 ESV)

When God’s Spirit controls us He will put a song in our hearts and on our lips, give us thankfulness to God, and make us submissive to others. The song here is not some secular music or even those hymns or other Christian songs that we may like. This song is a new song that only the Spirit-filled know. The Spirit-filled life produces music that submits the heart to God and glorifies Him. This produces a level of joy in the Spirit-filled believer that manifests itself in this godly music that also guides us into praying continually and submitting to those God puts in our lives. Will the believer who obediently becomes Spirit-filled by letting the Word control them, pursuing pure lives, confessing all known sin, dying to self, surrendering to God’s will, and depending on His power in all things be those who shake their fists at those who preach repentance unto personal holiness?

The Spirit-filled believer lives a life that is meant to glorify God in all of its parts. He or she does this through their worshipful, thankful, and music-filled heart. The Spirit-filled believer is always thankful. He or she recognizes God’s control over their lives in every detail as He seeks to conform them unto the image of His Son. For what do they give thanks? They thank Him for all things because all they can give to Him is simply grateful recognition that all they have is from Him. They thank God in the name of Jesus Christ to give thanks consistent with who He is and what He has done. They thank the Father for all things because even those things that come through others come from God.

Spirit-filled believers will submit to fellow believers. The filling and control of the Holy Spirit will lead us to a spirit of humility. As we submit to the control of the Holy Spirit he will give us the desire to seek the welfare of others before our own and be mutually submissive.

Now, what about rebuke of false teachers and apostasy and heresy? How does a Spirit-filled believer tackle those things, or are they to do so at all? Are we to fellowship with everyone who calls himself or herself Christian even though they are obviously in the deceit of false religion, human reason, and darkness? No, we don’t submit to them. We remain humble and non-compromising. We put our armor on and obey our Lord in telling the truth. Those that hear may very well have their hearts opened by God and then repent and come into the light. Those that refuse to hear are in the Lord’s hands. He may very well use us in their judgment.

What are the consequences of obedience compared the consequences of disobedience? The consequences of not becoming Spirit-filled are to be foolish, remaining in darkness and in bondage to the flesh. Sadly, most professing believers are in disobedience to this command and are, therefore, completely enslaved to their flesh. They are not humble, but are eaten up with pride, arrogance, and deceit. They do not walk in victory. On the other hand, the Spirit-filled believer will walk with God’s hand upon him or her. They may suffer abuse. They may be persecuted for their uncompromising stand of obedience. They may be looked at by those in the deceit of their spiritual darkness as hypocrites or judgmental. However, they are upheld by their Lord and rejoice in their suffering because their Lord is glorified in them because the Holy Spirit controls them.

Soli Deo Gloria

28 thoughts on “The Consequences of Obedience

  1. Mike,
    It turned out for the good. I for one wasn’t even aware of how compromising those guys really are. They have really shown us their true colors. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. God is good!

  2. Spot on!!

    This case was profane language, I have been dealing with a similiar situation only someone deep in sexual sin who claims to be a brother in Christ.

    He has asked how he can grow and deepen his faith as he feels God is distant. I told him first he must deal with the sexual sin he is entertaining in his life first as God cannot bless you and work through you as He would like as long as you are involved in this sin.

    His reply was well, I don’t think God would want us to be unhappy and that He would understand my desires and situation. I said He understands, but not in the manner you want Him to.

    Long story short, he still continues to live in sexual sin and still wonders why God doesn’t work in his life. Why he is not or does not feel the presence of God or the nearness of God.

    Living a life unholy! Simply put.

    Stay the course, keep your armor on and the sword of the spirit at hand!

    Bryan

  3. Bryan,

    Yes, that is the same sort of thing. It is a case of being self-deceived. Never stop praying for that person and never stop telling them the truth unless they repent. It will take a miracle by God to bring that about but he will use you and your faithfulness in it.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  4. Until a couple of days ago, I commented often on the blog in question. I was always told that I mis-interpreted, missed the point, mis-understood nearly everything I am commenting on. I have never been so frustrated in discussing Christian issues with a group of people. These people remind me of the Jesuits with their system of casuistry and their de-construction of any biblical belief. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casuistry

    It seems like lay-people (like me) would get ripped apart there for they always say the original language(s) of the Bible really means something other than what we think it means. Lay-people in general do not do study of original languages of the Bible because of time-constraints or lack of ability to learn them. Even with accurate meaning, we get it wrong hermeneutically, according to them.

    It appears they assume that our use of past Godly men’s writings such as Spurgeon, Calvin, John MacArthur, etc. is idolatry. We know that use of other peoples’ work in study of the Bible doesn’t mean they are on the level of scriptures but they throw it in our face because they think we believe so.

    It got to the point where I called a person an “insane clown” and “moron”. Another one I called him a d*** fool and said he wasn’t a Christian for his very occasional use of obfuscating language in his posts. I consider that Jesuit tactics to avoid accountability or serious understanding of his beliefs.

    Be as it may though, did I got out of hand? I don’t know. I prayed for conviction of heart if I went too far but so far I haven’t been convicted. Perhaps God will bring it about later. I’m open to any words of wisdom.

  5. Paul compares being filled with the Spirit with drunkeness. A drunk will do and say things that he would not do normally. A Spirit filled believer will do and say things that he would not normally do.

    He will show boldness when he normally is timid; he will be humble when he has reason for pride; he will exhibit love when his flesh wants to hate; and he will not retaliate when attacked. In short, he is controlled by the Spirit to exhibit the life of Jesus. Death to self.

  6. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
    (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

    Timothy Bell,
    Speaking for myself, if I get so frustrated that I can not patiently endure evil, I then follow this advice from Proverbs 14:7. Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.

  7. Timothy,what you said about getting out of hand and not being convicted is how I feel after my last comment over “there”. Did I get out of hand? One commentor said I did. So I prayed and reread my last comment and felt no conviction. I am praying for all of those who post and comment. And that if I owe that apology, God will convict me and I will do it. I’m pretty good at that. Well, Mike, some points to ponder were made in this post so I am going to put this one in my favorites, too, for quick access. If this keeps up, I will have to make a new folder named Ratliff Posts Worth the Reread! Thanks again! God bless.

  8. Timothy and Mike,

    This is exactly what I’ve been trying to say. Tim, your argument is absolutely straw-man with no shred of proof, or evidence, and for this, I do not think your comment should be posted. And neither should this one I’m writing right now, but it’s quicker than an email, and I know Mike will see both comments, and decide.

    The only thing you have succeeded in proving brother, is that you used foul language and slandered other Christians, thus making your argument not very credible. I personally saw what you wrote on CRN.info, and it was not in love. In fact, some of the things you said were much worse than what you just posted here, I will not repeat them, but you know what they were. They didn’t treat you as you treated them. I pray you’ll be convicted about what you said. I do consider you a brother, don’t think I don’t. But think for a second guys, by some of the standards we’ve been using lately, poor Tim here would have just ‘proved’ himself unregenerate. That is obviously not the case though..

    This subject is kind of getting ridiculous now, so we should just let it go as it’s becoming unfruitful.

    Mike, if you deleted many comments recently on lesser grounds than what Tim has just posted, I would hope you would delete his comment as well.

    In Love,

    Joe

  9. The consequences of obedience may be harsh in this world but his ‘well done good and faithful servant’ more than makes up for it. (I know… easy to say when you’re not being spit upon by the ‘tolerant’ emergent hordes)

    Keep up the good fight Mike.

  10. Timothy Bell,

    Any response to antagonism that results in using foul language and a elevation in the anger and blood pressure, etc. is not responding in the Spirit. It is of the flesh.From the tone of your comment I discern that you are very sorry for your reaction and are desiring to repent. Those fellows over there are in darkness, but we don’t have to be in the darkness to do battle. We must not resort to their tactics. In fact, we are to forgive them. I read the Lord’s Prayer today and used it in my quiet time this morning. That part about asking God to forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us blows out of any conception that we can hold grudges and be unforgiving. Let us respond in Love, but never compromise.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  11. Sherry C, Yes, we must always repent of what we do in the flesh. This is why God gives us time away from the battle so we can evaluate our actions and thoughts, etc. Through that God will do much good work in our hearts as we confess and repent of those things.

  12. Joe,

    Yes, you are right about any response in the flesh being wrong. I believe Tim sees this and you and I need to pray for him to repent of that. I also pray for you and I to seek peace with each other.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  13. Good article Mike – very encouraging. So often we can dragged into these debates about words and semantics which lead absolutely no where at all. There is definitely a spiritual battle going on. I was reminded of Paul’s numerous warnings to Timothy to avoid debate and strifes about words that have no profit.

  14. I have recently deleted all the blogs that can cause my blood pressure to rise. If I should cause others to sin by my own passionate replies, whether they be from sinful or noble motives, I will be held accountable for it. For the sake of the journey to blameless living I have removed those temptations. I need not defend the truth for it will always remain truth. But I will defend the faith in that truth and help, as well as listen, when the deceptions threaten the faith in that truth. We must remember that patiece is asked of us in teaching and teaching is what we do when we are trying to lead others to the scriptures as authority. The wrath of man does not glorify God.

  15. You’re right about that Mike. Cussing isn’t just words, it’s how we speak to others, and how use the words to cut and kill, rather than build up. “You jerk!” is just as bad in intent and heart as a filthy word is. We need to be careful, pray, and repent of doing those things. Of course I seek peace with you Mike, and I think we met on common ground amicably, in our fight for Truth, so thank you for that. And Tim, I wasn’t trying to be harsh, but to remind you to use evidence in arguments, not just make claims about people, and then show yourself to be what you claimed they were. I’m glad you see this is wrong, and I’ve been guilty of it too. We all have a lot of praying, reading, and thinking to do for sure! Y’all have a great week.

    Love,

    Joe

  16. Like with Sherry C., I have deleted such blogs – for they are not bringing glory to the Lord. I regret participating, I fear that I may have been misunderstood and not brought glory to my Father as I intended. But praise God He knows and understands this weak heart of mine.

    I am thankful for this blog – - you guys are so wonderful and I am truly blessed by Mike’s writings and your comments. Mike, continue to stay strong and courageous in the LORD!

    In Christ,
    Sherry

  17. Hi all, This world has been loud in the past, but these days it seems to be extremly loud. Things keep getting worse which makes it stressful on us all. Its not easy to stay away from our flesh today. Our trials and tribulations are getting tougher. Which is precisely why we need to be on our knees more praying to the only One who can get us through the mess. Its not easy to be ‘loving and forgiving’. I for one need help all the time in this area because it seems like the bad have gone from bad to worse. I look forward to our Lords return also Mike…….

  18. Thank you, Henry, Dec, Joe C, Sherry C, and Mike for your comments. I appreciate the Bible verses shared and they helped me to get perspective.

    Joe C, at first I didn’t know what you were referring to as to me saying some worse things at CRNinfo blog than what I shared here. Then I remembered about praying to God against Iggy. Iggy replied that I was doing a Wiccan curse act. I guess that is what you were referring to? This praying against your enemies was something what I was taught from my Christian Reconstruction/preterist days- imprecatory prayers. I have re-examined my Christian Reconstruction beliefs several years back but I still need to re-examine imprecatory prayers. Here is an article on this issue: http://forerunner.com/puritan/PS.Prayer.html

    However, I only mention imprecatory prayers to give the reason for praying against Iggy, not to give an excuse for doing so.

    In my first post above (#5), I explained why I got angry and said some words. One lesson I learned from this is you must pick your “fights” to match your level of “skill”. I’m not proficient at original Biblical languages. I currently am going through recommended materials on Bible study and interpretation but I do not have academic experience in Bible education. Tim Reed and others on the other blog are pastors for a number of years or have some degree of higher education in Bible education. So, as a layman, I was out-classed in any case.

    This is not about who has the right theology but about my lack of ability to convey my thoughts at a higher level of conversation and my resulting anger that lashed out at others on that blog. So, I do believe I owe Tim Reed and Iggy and others at Chris L’s blog an apology for my conduct there. But tonight I need to pray more about right attitude and repentance.

  19. Tim,

    That’s great you’ve figured this out by God’s Spirit. I encourage you highly down this path. I think it would be wonderful if you apologized to them, and I think this would be a very good step towards reconciling. Even if they’re wrong, we’re to forgive and make ammends. If you’ve felt they’ve hurt you, ask them to apologize as well, and make sure you ask for their forgiveness too. I’m very encouraged by this. You’ve given me things to reflect on as well, thanks.

    Joe

  20. I have not been posting on these articles Mike, but please know that I am praying for you……..wisdom and strenth and humility from the Holy Spirit is the key to getting the truth out there. Stand strong and say true

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