Christianity Where the Rubber Meets the Road

by Mike Ratliff

20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” 22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. (Job 1:20-22 ESV)

It’s one thing to say one believes the gospel and is part of the Kingdom of God, be part of a local church, worship our Lord on His day, pray and serve Him when our lives have sense of normalcy about them. However, it is quite another thing to worship our Lord when the bottom falls out of our lives as Job did in Job 1:20-22 (above) after hearing of the death of his children and the loss of all of his wealth. Things have not changed in our time. God still allows our enemy to touch our lives to cause us pain in an attempt to cause us to curse God. However, this test is used by God to validate our faith. Genuine faith is not a product of man, but is of God. 

My brethren, God is sovereign. He supernaturally intervenes. He is both immanent in the world and transcendent above it. This must be true because He created everything. Miracles are supernatural interventions by God into His creation and this includes salvation. Yes, salvation, the new birth, is a miracle. Why? Since Genesis 3 and the fall of Adam, all human beings have been corrupted in their human nature and all freely and willfully sin from the time of their birth. The whole human race died spiritually in Adam and inherit a total corruption of their human nature or being directly from Adam. Thus, only the supernatural rebirth or regeneration from above can bring individual people to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

This difference between the gospel and salvation by works is so great that only the God-man, Jesus Christ, could live a completely sinless life for us, die for us on the cross, and bear the divine wrath of God against us in our place. Even our sanctification is imperfect because the corruption of Adam remains in our human nature even after God has justified us by faith alone. The process of sanctification is as much a supernatural gift of God as is our regeneration. God regenerates us and then we believe (John 3:3-8; 3:16-18; 3:36; 5:24; 6:44; 6:65). Never forget my brethren, salvation is all of God and is His monergistic work in us and not something we cooperate with as if God does His part and then we do our part. God is not our co-pilot. God is our all, He is our King, He is our all! (Philippians 2:11-13)

There are some “preachers” in our time who lie and say things like, “God wants you to be full and rich and happy all the time!” Well, He does supernaturally provide for us through the secondary means of providence in this world. He gives us all that we have—including our jobs and our homes and our food on the table. For this we ought to give continual thanks. I had a meeting today in the last hour at work in which my new boss actually threatened all of us with some sort of retribution if we did not start providing him with the “accountability” documents he wanted to prove to him that we were doing our jobs. I have been working from home because of my seizure disorder and have lately been going in a couple of days a week. He is threatening to take away all of our flexible hours, et cetera. I told him, politely, that I and the other two DBAs did our jobs, proactively, that is, in such a way that we would minimize downtime, et cetera instead of just simply watching the systems run. He acted offended and asked if his attitude suggested that he did not believe that. Well, actually, that is exactly what his attitude reflected. So how do you answer a question like that? I told my wife later that it appeared to some of us that they might be trying to anger some of us so much that we will simply leave so they can relocate our data center from the KC area to Denver without having to pay severance pay. With that on my heart this evening, I said grace over our meal. It is at times like that that you see how silly it is to take for granted all that God has given us in this life.

When I finish this race, it will not be because I endured in my own abilities or strength, but because God Himself gave me all I needed to get there (2 Timothy 4:7). Our part in this pilgrimage is not cooperation, but of trusting God to do it all. God does not help those who help themselves. God gives us faith and everything else. Salvation is truly all of God and we contribute absolutely nothing no matter how holy we think we are. God could justly cut my life short but I trust in His promises for His eternal salvation through the covenant of grace established in Genesis 3:13 and Genesis 17:1-7.

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:28-32 ESV)

Soli Deo Gloria!

11 thoughts on “Christianity Where the Rubber Meets the Road

  1. I have been enjoying the articles even tho’ I do not comment everyday. In the last few years, My brother and father have died, Our pastor died, we lost our fellowship to “hostile take-over”. Our son also left all semblance of “christian” living. We suspected he was not saved and he has proved it. AND my husband was laid off from his job a year ago January. The only available work for him in our area was temp work, very low pay. We were absolutely AMAZED at the Lord’s provision, in every area!!! Never a bill that was not paid, never lascking in any physical need this was a MIRACLE! We know it would not add up on paper.
    We still have so much more than Job….. And we can say with the Psalmist,

    I know , O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.”

    Oh, how thankful I am NOW that the Lord brought all these things to pass in my life,,,how it HURT then…it tears at your soul and some days “the waves go over me”. Yet God is always faithful to us. PRAISE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!!
    It is ALL of him, many days we cried out to the Lord, “we cannot do this, you have to help us.” Our pastor told us we should all be beggars, every minute of every day, begging the Lord to give us of himself. And that He would; “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
    STILL BEGGING

  2. This post has surely spoken to my heart and Stella’s writing speaks to me also. It is one thing to give thanks when all is going well, quite another when the bottom seems to be falling out. I have dealt with health issues for 50 of my 62 years and the problems have worsened as I get older. Rather than ‘curse God and die’ I choose to tell my doctors “Just add that to my list and let’s find out how to treat this thing” and go on from there. Thankfully we’ve not had a job loss (my husband is retired), but we took a huge cut in pay when he did retire. But as Stella said, bills have been paid … on time and we give faithfully to our church. We’ve simply learned to make do on much less and it can be done. I feel for Stella … both our sons don’t attend church … they profess to know God but don’t serve Him. I only know to pray for them and trust that God in His great mercy will call them to Himself one day. That is my constant prayer.
    Mike, thank you so much for this avenue of learning and sharing what’s on our hearts. I will lift your name to our Father and ask Him to meet all your needs according to His riches in glory.
    Blessings my friend.

  3. “So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning…”

    We have been given everything we need in Christ and our ‘latter end’ is better than our beggining. We were dead and now made alive! He alone is the Good and the Just One who is our everything!
    Isa 25:4 For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones [is] as a storm [against] the wall.

  4. “…for your heavenly Father knoweth…”
    AMEN right?

    I think the heat from the corporation ( lack of profit because the corp is only for profit ) comes down the ladder and each person has thier own fears ( IE: What will I do if I get fired or things change ) so then those fears are passed on to each rung of the ladder to be the ‘scape goats’ if there is going to be some ‘cuts’ of people to make more money for the corp.

    So with all this said and going through it daily:

    Matthew 6:27-34 (King James Version)

    27Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

    28And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

    29And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

    30Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

    31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

    32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

    33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

    34Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

  5. Thank you Mike in Christ for sharing the joy of His kingdom in your writings while we walk through this time in waiting for the Day! Thanks for being such a small and great well in the desert of this world where the ‘broken cisterns’ that have no fresh water are abundant.
    ‘your heavanly father knoweth’. Yet over and over I find myself the ‘O ye of little faith’ in this passage.
    That is what bothers me personally the most… knowing who He is, yet having such little faith and then when He shows Himself as the wall against the storm… I feel so ashamed.

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