It is Finished


by Mike Ratliff

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 ESV)

As we have seen in the last two posts in our examination of the Word-Faith movement, one of the teachings from their leadership is that Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross was insufficient to accomplish the salvation of His people. They teach that Jesus then had to go to Hell to suffer as a lost person by being tormented by Satan. If that were true then what did Jesus mean when He said, “It is finished”? (John 19:30) Continue reading

The Word Our Only Rule


by John Calvin

Unto the pure all things are pure; but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him: being abominable and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. – Titus 1:15-16

St. Paul hath shown us that we must be ruled by the Word of God, and hold the commandments of men as vain and foolish; for holiness and perfection of life belongeth not to them. He condemneth some of their commandments, as when they forbid certain meats, and will not suffer us to use that liberty which God giveth the faithful. Those who troubled the church in St. Paul’s time, by setting forth such traditions, used the commandments of the law as a shield. These were but men’s inventions: because the temple was to be abolished at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Those in the church of Christ, who hold this superstition, to have certain meats forbidden, have not the authority of God, for it was against His mind and purpose that the Christian should be subject to such ceremonies. Continue reading

The Work of the Trinity in Monergism


The Shepherd Knows His Sheep by Name
by John Hendryx

Monergism: The view that the Holy Spirit is the only agent who effects regeneration of Christians. It is on contrast with synergism, the view that there is a cooperation between the divine and the human in the regeneration process. (Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms)

God the Father made a pretemporal covenant with the Eternal Son (Psalm 110; John 6:38, 17:2; Eph 1:3, 4; Heb. 6:16-17; Heb 10:5) to enter into human history and redeem a people for Himself through His blood. Among the redemptive blessings that flow from the finished work of the cross are the effectually calling and supernaturally drawing of those same people to Himself (John 6:37, 44, 63-65; 15:16, Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4). Christ himself was chosen to be our Savior before the creation of the world (1 Pet. 1:20; Ephesians 1:4) and accomplishes this for His people in last times by taking on their flesh, fulfilling the demands of the law for them in His life, death and physical resurrection. Through human means of preaching the gospel, the Holy Spirit applies the life-giving work of the Son to the same by raising them from spiritual death, opening their blind eyes, unplugging their deaf ears, disarming their natural hostility and granting them new spiritual affections which see the truth, beauty and excellency of Christ (Ezek 36:26; Rom 10:17; 12:3; 1 Cor. 12:3; 2 Cor 4:13; Eph 6:23; Phil 1:29; 1 Thess 2:13; Heb 12:2). He then counts the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto those united to Him by the Holy Spirit through faith. Continue reading

Jesus and Nicodemus


by J.C. Ryle

I. REGENERATION

“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

“The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

“Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”—John 3:1–8.

The conversation between Christ and Nicodemus, which begins with these verses, is one of the most important passages in the Bible. Nowhere else do we find stronger statements about those two mighty subjects: the new birth and salvation by faith in the Son of God. Continue reading

Freedom of the Will


by R.C. Sproul

Does God’s foreknowledge eliminate human freedom? Does the immutability of God and the omniscience of God mean the end of all human freedom?

  • If free human actions were not known in advance by God, then when He learned of them, He would undergo a change in His knowledge; He would learn something new. Here both immutability and omniscience would be compromised.

If human actions are known by God in advance, is it not certain that they will come to pass exactly as God has foreknown them? If God knows today what I will do tomorrow, then there is no doubt that when tomorrow comes, I will do what God already knows I will do. With respect to the mind of God my future behavior is absolutely certain. But, does that mean that my future actions are absolutely determined or coerced by God? Continue reading

A 15-Year Retrospective on the Lordship Controversy


We are in a deadly battle. The church is becoming a horrible shipwreck. Why? The bar has been lowered. We are in the final stages of what Charles Spurgeon called the Great Downgrade Controversy. The church’s situation can be quite discouraging if we forget that God is still Sovereign and there are still pockets of believers, a remnant if you will, that has not bowed the knee to Baal. The visible church is ate up with idolatry and the biggest idol it worships is self. These folks decry the need for any doctrine as long as what they do in their churches continues to draw crowds. Of course, what they are doing is seeking cultural relevance including a version of the gospel that threatens no one with the reality of eternal death and the wrath God against all sins that have not been atoned for. Continue reading

What Is the Will of God and How Do We Know It?


by John Piper

Romans 12:1-2

I appeal to you therefore, brothers,by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

The aim of Romans 12:1-2 is that all of life would become “spiritual worship.” Verse 1: “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” The aim of all human life in God’s eyes is that Christ would be made to look as valuable as he is. Worship means using our minds and hearts and bodies to express the worth of God and all he is for us in Jesus. There is a way to live—a way to love—that does that. There is a way to do your job that expresses the true value of God. If you can’t find it, that may mean you should change jobs. Or it might mean that verse 2 is not happening to the degree it should. Continue reading

Walking in Wisdom


by Mike Ratliff

Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:5-6 ESV)

There are really only two mindsets. There is the natural man mindset that we were all born with then there is the transformed mindset that comes as a result of being transformed by the renewal of our minds as a way of life and walking before the face of God. (Romans 12:1-2) The natural man mindset sees things of God as foolishness or unfairness while the transformed mindset is in the process of learning to see things as God sees them.

Continue reading

The Transformed Mindset


by Mike Ratliff

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18 ESV)

On Friday the 19th of October, my wife and I celebrated our anniversary. Prior to making it home from work, I had one of those days I would just as soon forget. I was confronted with unreasonable people all day in just about every aspect I could. Perhaps it was just my perception and this stuff goes on all the time, however, I was definitely being tested. One of these tests was a set of comments on this blog from a person whose theology would best be understood as Pelagian. In other words, he did not believe in the doctrine of original sin. He accused me of not knowing my Bible and of blindly following the doctrines of men. I prayed about it then simply sent emails to this person explaining that I was not going to post his comments.

Continue reading

Repost of Oh Lord, be Glorified in Me!


The following was originally posted on January 10, 2006. Enjoy and be blessed!

 

by Mike Ratliff

I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. (Isaiah 42:8)Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD has said, ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.'” And Aaron held his peace. (Leviticus 10:3)

God is far more serious about His glory than anyone else. Does it feel wrong to you that our God demands that we be humble before Him while also demanding that His creation exist solely to glorify Him? (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:10; 2 Timothy 2:4; John 8:29; Romans 8:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; Ephesians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 5:9) If that concept rankles within your soul then it is imperative for you do some self-examination. Continue reading

Repost of What is Joy?


This is a repost of “What is Joy?” that was originally posted January 10, 2006. I pray that you will be edified as you read it.

by Mike Ratliff

When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalms 73:21-26)

Undoubtedly, there is much confusion about that little three-letter word “joy.” Is it simply a deeper form of happiness? Is it the opposite of sadness or depression? The secular perception of joy is “lasting happiness.” However, the Bible interprets joy very differently. In fact, God commands His people to be full of joy. (Psalms 37:4; Philippians 4:4)

If joy were an emotion based upon circumstances then that command would seem rather harsh and unrealistic. However, coming from a Reformed Theological perspective, we do know that God commands many things for His people to do that they could never do within their own capabilities. Beginning with salvation itself, we see that our believing unto salvation came through God’s supernatural regenerative work in our Hearts. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Being spirit-filled (Ephesians 5:18), walking in the spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25), praying unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and loving our enemies (Matthew 5:43-45) are only a few commands for believers obedience to actions which they could never do within their own abilities. Continue reading

My Desire by Jeremy Camp


You want to be real
You want to be empty inside
You want to be someone laying down your pride
You want to be someone someday
Then lay it all down before the King
You want to be whole
You want to have purpose inside
You want to have virtue and purify your mind
You want to be set free today then lay it all down before the King

Chorus:
This is my desire
This is my return
This is my desire to be used by you

You want to be real
You want to be emptied inside
And I know my heart is to feel you near
And I know my life
It’s to do your will
It’s to do your will

(Chorus)

All my life I have seen where you’ve taken me
Beyond all I have hoped and there’s more left unseen
There’s not much I can do to repay all you’ve done so I give my hands to use

(Chorus)

Damaged Goods


by Mike Ratliff

There is a push in the United States to make it illegal to preach the truth from God’s Word where it pertains to the sin of homosexuality. Of course the emphasis of those laws or initiatives is to protect the rights of certain people based on their sexual preference, which is also called gay rights. They say that to preach what the Bible says about homosexuality is to foment hate; therefore, the laws are placed under the umbrella of hate crimes.

On the other hand, some who preach against certain sins are also guilty of trying to force morality upon the unregenerate. How can an unregenerate person stop sinning? When Christians focus on sins that are abhorrent to God that should be just as abhorrent to believers, the focus should be on cleansing those sins from the Church itself. At the same time, we must never shut our doors to the lost, no matter what sins are consuming them. God saves sinners. Continue reading