The Offense of the Cross


by Mike Ratliff

What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”  (Romans 9:30-33 ESV)

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ must always be offensive to the unregenerate. It is that offense that makes it clear to people that they have nothing with which to bargain with God. They are sinners lost with nothing to offer the one condemning them. The Gospel, the real Gospel preached with the Law, makes it clear that there is none righteous, no not one, but the Gospel shows that there is one and only one way to be reconciled to God, to be justified before Him. This is the Good News and that one way is via the Lord Jesus Christ alone. No one can work to earn or deserve salvation. No, this salvation is by God’s grace alone according to His divine election, according to His way alone. This is offensive. Let us look at Galatians 5:7-12 in which Paul makes the argument very clear to believers at Galatia who were being victimized by Judiazers making the claim that true salvation was not by Grace alone, but through Grace plus keeping the Jewish law.  Continue reading

The Glorious Gospel Worthy of Our Suffering


by Mike Ratliff

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but suffer together in the Gospel by the power of God, the one having saved us and having called us to a holy calling, not by our works, but by His own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began (a personal translation of 2 Timothy 1:8,9 from the Greek text)

The Apostle Paul’s understanding of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and that of most of what we refer to as the visible church in our time is quite different. I’m not talking about Reformed Theology as opposed to Arminianism or Semi-Pelagianism or even Pelagianism here. No, I am talking about the Good News itself and its impact on the believer and all those whom God touches through it as it preached and shared by obedient disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, the real, un-doctored Gospel must contain the offense of the Cross. It must be offensive in that it addresses the fact that each and every one of us is hopelessly lost and and on our way to an eternity separated from God in judgment because we are sinners who can do nothing to save ourselves from God’s Wrath which must come upon on all sin with no exceptions. That is why the Gospel is “Good News” and glorious my brethren.  Continue reading

A Biblical View of Sin


by Mike Ratliff

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5 ESV)

Those who have a problem with the Doctrine of Original Sin and the Wrath of God against all sin attempt to paint the God of Reformation Theology as some sort of ogre full of anger with very little love manifest except in the case of a chosen few. In their examples of how God operates in saving people, sin is never the issue. They portray God as loving everyone to the maximum and even if their sin amounted open rebellion against Him on their part. In their theology He just looks the other way and attempts to save everyone, but the point of contention is that the God in their example is unable to save anyone. The salvation of people is only made a possibility with those actually being saved being those who hear the Gospel and respond by exercising their sovereign Free Will. On the other hand, the God of the Bible is not anything like this. He is Sovereign. He saves those whom He has elected or chosen unto eternal life. No one limits Him in any way. Man’s will is in no way a barrier to God fulfilling His Will. From these two vastly different understandings of theology comes to very different understandings of sin.  Let’s look at a biblical view of sin and I invite you to compare your own understanding of it to what we unpack here. If your’s is different, I suggest to you that the Bible is not in error…  Continue reading

A 15-Year Retrospective on the Lordship Controversy


The following article was written by John MacArthur at the 15th anniversary of the publication if the first edition of The Gospel According to Jesus, which was released in 1988. However, with the new and continual attacks on the genuine Gospel, as there always will be, it is good to continually focus on the clear stream of water that is God’s truth instead of the muddy waters clouded by our enemy’s use of misinformation and misapplied zeal of those whom he using in his attacks upon the Good News as well as our Lord’s faithful servants. Enjoy and be blessed – Mike Ratliff

John MacArthur

It has now been 15 years since The Gospel According to Jesus was first published and the lordship of Christ became a matter of intense debate among evangelicals. That book stood for the simple proposition that the gospel is a call to surrender to the lordship of Christ in humble, repentant faith.

My publisher originally assigned The Gospel According to Jesus to their academic division. They had high expectations for the book from the start and initially thought it might sell as many as 30,000 copies–an unusually high number for an academic book of that sort. But it surpassed 100,000 in sales in a few months, and within a couple of years it had reached the quarter-million mark. There are now about half a million copies in circulation, and the book is still in print. That is almost unprecedented for a polemic book dealing with a theological issue. Continue reading

Christian Assurance


by Mike Ratliff

Symeon Peter slave and apostle of Jesus Christ to those equal in standing to us having obtained faith in righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, may grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. (a personal translation of 2 Peter 1,2)

God is good. I closed yesterday’s post with the following statement, “My brethren, some confuse being genuinely saved with the assurance of salvation. I hope to cover that assurance in the next post, God willing.” He is obviously willing because all I had thrown up to me all day today was how unworthy and sinful I am yet how marvelous His grace is and how awesome it is that I have obtained faith in righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ even though all I deserve is His wrath. When I look at how well I keep the commandments like “Love your neighbor as yourself” I know that I am a selfish, self-centered, prideful, self-loving person who is a total failure at this. I have never kept this commandment by trying to do so. The only time I have ever done so is as I have humbled myself before my Lord as He worked through me as I served in ministry and I found myself loving and serving people in ways that I cannot do no matter how hard I try. On the other hand, as I walk (and drive) through each day with me in control with my focus on me and what I want, that is most certainly not the case.  Continue reading

A Response to an Antinomian


by Mike Ratliff

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? (James 2:17-20 ESV)

I have rules for commenting on Possessing the Treasure that are assiduously enforced. However, there are some who absolutely refuse to abide by them then act offended when their comments never show up. One rule that I rigidly enforce is this one in which I require Biblical support for any argument challenging any of my teachings. The emphasis is that I teach from God’s Word and any quotes I give to support what I teach will be from another Bible teacher or if I am contrasting the Bible with a worldly or anti-Biblical source then I will quote them. This rule was put into place to force certain people to cease attempting to hijack this ministry via attacks using bullying tactics. I analyzed their attacks and they absolutely never used exegetically sound Biblical arguments to support their claims. When I put this rule into place almost all of it stopped. However, every now and then certain people attempt to derail what I have taught with man-centered arguments right out of some “seeker-sensitive” seminar.  Continue reading

The Lordship of Christ Concerning Genuine Saving Faith


by Mike Ratliff

First indeed I give good grace to my God through Jesus Christ concerning all of you that your faith is broadly declared throughout the whole world. (a personal translation of Romans 1:8 from the Greek text)

In these broadly apostate days of the visible church the good biblical words such as ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ are thrown around and used in such a loose way that it is important for us dig into what God’s Word says about πιστεύω or pisteuō, “to have faith in, trust; particularly, to be firmly, persuaded as to something” and πιστός or pistos, an adjective meaning “faithful, trustworthy, reliable, dependable” instead of relying on what our modern translations give us for these words, for if we do not “dig” we remain in a shallow understanding of these things. On the other hand, God will use our hard work in these things to teach us, train us, and grow us into more mature Christians who do glorify God in our walks and perhaps other disciples will marvel and report to others and then our faith will be “broadly declared throughout the whole world.” You see, for Paul to make that statement about the Romans’ faith meant that there must have been something remarkable about it. What was it?  Continue reading

The Wrath of God


by Mike Ratliff

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (Romans 1:18 ESV)

The wrath of God is something that is never part of a seeker-sensitive, emergent, or pop-culturally relevant type of church. Nor is it ever part of those who have abandoned the Word of God as being the authoritative, infallible, inerrant, and complete Word of God. In other words, any form of liberal leaning religious group that calls itself Christian, but who is on the road to apostasy also, through their unbelief, has a total misunderstanding of the Wrath of God. Lest we forget, in God’s economy, just calling oneself a Christian does not make you one. Those who say they are but really are not believers are unregenerate and are just as lost as those who openly reject Gospel and Christ Jesus as Saviour.  Continue reading

Strangers Aliens Fellow Citizens Sojourners and Exiles


by Mike Ratliff

For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18-22 ESV)

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:11-12 ESV)

When a Christian is born of God into His Kingdom he or she also undergoes a change in status not only there, but in the kingdom of darkness, the world, from which they came. Carefully read the two passages I placed at the top of this post from the Apostles Paul and Peter. Sadly so much of what we hear in what pretends to be Christianity these days emphasizes the exact opposite focus. They push agendas of political reform and social change rather than in truly discipling their flocks to prepare them to be sojourners (pilgrims) just passing through a very hostile world on the way to their real home.  Continue reading

Practical Implications of Calvinism


by Albert Martin

The Experience of God

B. B. Warfield describes Calvinism as ‘that sight of the majesty of God that pervades all of life and all of experience’. In particular as it relates to the doctrine of salvation its glad confession is summarized in those three pregnant words, God saves sinners. Now whenever we are confronted with great doctrinal statements in Holy Scripture, God does not leave us merely with the statement of doctrine. The end of God’s truth set before the minds of God’s people is that, understanding it, they might know its effect in their own personal experience. So the grand doctrinal themes of Ephesians, chapters 1, 2 and 3 are followed by the application of those doctrines to practical life and experience in Ephesians, chapters 4, 5 and 6. The end for which God gave his truth was not so much the instruction of our minds as the transformation of our lives. But a person cannot come directly to the life and experience, he must come mediately through the mind. And so God’s truth is addressed to the understanding and the Spirit of God operates in the understanding as the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge. He does not illuminate the mind simply that the file drawers of the mental study may be crammed full of information. The end for which God instructs the mind is that he might transform the life. Continue reading