From Suffering to Glory


by Mike Ratliff

For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:15-18 ESV)

Religion, if it is worth anything, is worth everything; but it is worth little if it is not worth suffering for. – Matthew Henry

There has been such a long drought of the Word of God being rightly divided by true shepherds of the flock in so much of the visible Church that the spiritually weak and immature believers make up the vast majority. Their understanding of God is not well developed. When suffering comes upon them they react in a complete misinterpretation of what is going on. It is as if they expect everyone to love them and their problems will be over simply because they are now Christians. The Bible is very clear, genuine believers are the ones who endure to the end and they will suffer for Jesus’ sake.  Continue reading

New Look

Those familiar with Possessing the Treasure have, I am sure, noticed the new look. I have opted for a new template that has all of the functionality of my old template, but with the added feature of having a flexible width.This means that if you have a wide profile monitor then this blog will widen to match that display. I use one and I think it makes a huge difference in reading.

I have also tried to make the text darker and more intense for better contrast and easier reading. Please let me know if this does not work for you. I have found that what looks good in Safari may not look so good in Firefox and, of course, the opposite is true as well. 🙂

If you are interested in trying out Safari here is the download link. I use an Apple Macintosh running OS X Leopard at home and a Toshiba Laptop running Windows XP at work. I use Safari as my default browser on both. It is the fastest and best looking browser I have used. I also have FireFox, IE, and Camino browsers, but Safari beats them all. The only time I have to resort to FireFox or IE is for some very specific websites like that of my bank or some .NET application servers at work. However, for JAVA based apps Safari works great.

What do you think? 😎



by Mike Ratliff

When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” (Genesis 17:1-2 ESV)

In these last days it is imperative that God’s people have a more complete knowledge of God. So, in light of this, let us look at one of the names of God that speaks much about His power and provision. God keeps His part of the covenants He makes and it is this name, El-Shaddai, that God used for Himself that gives us much comfort as we come to understand that He helps and blesses His people. El-Shaddai (   אל שׁדּי  ) – We must never forget that in Hebrew we read from right to left and this name of God is two separate words,  Ēl( אל), meaning, “might,”  and Shaddai  (שׁדּי, meaning , “the Almighty, the Powerful One, or the Mighty One.” As a combined name of God, El Shaddai, which occurs seven times in Sacred Scripture, was the covenant name for God to the Patriarchs until the time of Moses. The Jewish rabbis believed  that the term meant the “One who is self-sufficient.” God’s covenant was moral and ethical in character, not ritualistic or orgiastic. 

Continue reading

Please Pray for my friend Jon


by Mike Ratliff

My friend and dear brother in the Lord Jon Cardwell has ALS. He is a preacher of the Word of God and one who earnestly contends for the faith. God is working in and through Jon for His glory and our edification. Here is a link to his latest, and possibly last, sermon, Preaching the Kingdom of God.  Please read the following “letter” from Jon then I pray that you will also pray for Jon and his family that they be encouraged and strengthened in the Lord.  Continue reading

Reformed or Fundamentalist?


by Mike Ratliff

In one week not long ago I was called a fundamentalist twice. The first time it was meant as an insult by one person commenting on Possessing the Treasure. The second time it was actually contained in a question by a friend at church asking if I considered myself to be a fundamentalist. This person did not use that word the same way the first person did. In fact, I am positive that he meant it in a positive way. The more I have pondered this, the more I have come to understand that these two people had a completely different concept of what it means to be a fundamentalist. This word is used in the news media in a negative context to describe religious people who commit acts of terrorism or retreat from society into cultic communes. The emergents’ view fundamentalists with anger and resentment. They view them as backward and mired in dead religiosity. However, is that what fundamentalism is? Continue reading

A Short Response to the Arminian Doctrine of Prevenient Grace …

by John Hendryx

The term “prevenient grace” – a distinctly Arminian doctrine – refers to a universal grace which precedes and enables the first stirrings of a good will or inclination toward God and it explains the extent or degree to which the Holy Spirit influences a person prior to their coming to faith in Christ. The Arminian, together with the Calvinist, affirms total human moral inability and utter helplessness of the natural man in spiritual matters and the absolute necessity for supernatural prevenient grace if there is to be any right response to the gospel. Like Calvinists, Arminians agree that, apart from an act of grace on God’s part, no one would willingly come to Christ. This point is important to distinguish so as to not confuse Classical Arminianism with either Finneyism or Semi-Pelagianism, which both reject the need for prevenient grace. So Christ’s redemption is universal in a provisional sense but conditional as to its application to any individual, i.e. those who do not resist the grace offered to them through the cross and the gospel. Prevenient grace, according to Arminians, convicts, calls (outwardly), enlightens and enables before conversion and makes conversion and faith possible. While Calvinists believe the inward call to the elect is irrevocable and effectually brings sinners to faith in Christ, the Arminian, on the other hand understand God’s grace as ultimately resistible. In short, they affirm that prevenient grace, which is given to all men at some point in their life, temporarily brings the sinner out of his/her condition of total depravity and puts them in a neutral state of free will wherein the natural man can either accept or reject Christ. Continue reading

Death in Adam, Life in Christ


by Mike Ratliff

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17 ESV)

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:1-6 ESV)

“By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19 ESV)

The doctrine of original sin is a vital part of genuine Christian orthodoxy. For a long time I didn’t really appreciate how important it is in our concept of the depths of our guilt before our Sovereign and thrice Holy God. However, as I have become involved in ‘discussions’ with those who reject this doctrine, God has revealed to me, through my studying His Word in order to answer certain ‘arguments,’ that when this doctrine is not part of one’s theology then their concept of their salvation is more self-centered and, in some cases, is understood that one is a Christian based solely on religious acts they have done. Let’s look again at the Apostle Paul’s thesis on our salvation, which none of us deserve. Continue reading

Does the Bible teach Prevenient Grace?

by R. C. Sproul

As the name suggests, prevenient grace is grace that “comes before” something. It is normally defined as a work that God does for everybody. He gives all people enough grace to respond to Jesus. That is, it is enough grace to make it possible for people to choose Christ. Those who cooperate with and assent to this grace are “elect.” Those who refuse to cooperate with this grace are lost. The strength of this view is that it recognizes that fallen man’s spiritual condition is severe enough that it requires God’s grace to save him. The weakness of the position may be seen in two ways. If this prevenient grace is merely external to man, then it fails in the same manner that the medicine and the life preserver analogies fail. What good is prevenient grace if offered outwardly to spiritually dead creatures? Continue reading

Jesus, Thank You

Jesus, Thank You

Words and music by Pat Sczebel
As recorded on Worship God Live


The mystery of the cross I cannot comprehend
The agonies of Calvary
You the perfect Holy One, crushed Your Son
Who drank the bitter cup reserved for me

Your blood has washed away my sin
Jesus, thank You
The Father’s wrath completely satisfied
Jesus, thank You
Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table
Jesus, thank You

By Your perfect sacrifice I’ve been brought near
Your enemy You’ve made Your friend
Pouring out the riches of Your glorious grace
Your mercy and Your kindness know no end

Lover of my soul
I want to live for You

© 2003 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (ASCAP)/Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).

Identity Theft


by Mike Ratliff

If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. (1 Timothy 6:3-5 ESV)

I received an email from Ken Silva today suggesting that I navigate over to a certain blog that exists solely to shadow Christian Research Network, Apprising Ministries and Slice of Laodicea to read through the discussion thread of a certain post. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, but several were discussing their plans to have various law suits filed against Ken and even having him investigated by the IRS. My brethren, is this how Christians treat other Christians, even if they disagree with them? I didn’t stay long. I posted the following passage:

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12 ESV)

I then stated that as Christians we should take the high road. It was as if these words, the very words of our Saviour, were shrugged off and meant nothing.  Like I said, I didn’t stay long so I don’t know what happened after that, but I am certain I would have heard about it if any there had actually been any impacted by that gentle rebuke. You see, the Word of God will have an eternal impact on everyone who hears it. Some will hear and obey. Sadly, most will hear and reject it. Continue reading

Preach the Word


by Mike Ratliff

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

As I write this I am listening to my Keith Green collection. I can’t seem to get past his song, “A Billion Starving People,” which is not about people physically starving, but about the vast numbers of people in the world who do not know God. In this song he sings about his drive to “preach the word” to all even if only one is brought to the Father. While the seeker-sensitive advocates proclaim that they have this same vision, they make a mistake in eliminating the meat of the Gospel so the ‘unchurched’ won’t be offended by the truth that all are dead in their trespasses and sins and cannot be reconciled to God outside of coming to the bloody cross to die and be reborn as slaves of Jesus Christ as their Lord. The offense of the cross is eliminated from this “easy-believism” version of the Gospel.  Continue reading

The Glory of the Cross

The Glory of the Cross

Words and music by Bob Kauflin
As recorded on Songs for the Cross Centered Life


What wisdom once devised the plan
Where all our sin and pride
Was placed upon the perfect Lamb
Who suffered, bled, and died?
The wisdom of a Sovereign God
Whose greatness will be shown
When those who crucified Your Son
Rejoice around Your throne

And, oh, the glory of the cross
That You would send Your Son for us
I gladly count my life as loss
That I might come to know
The glory of, the glory of the cross

What righteousness was there revealed
That sets the guilty free
That justifies ungodly men
And calls the filthy clean?
A righteousness that proved to all
Your justice has been met
And holy wrath is satisfied
Through one atoning death

What mercy now has been proclaimed
For those who would believe
A love incomprehensible
Our minds could not conceive?
A mercy that forgives my sin
Then makes me like Your Son
And now I’m loved forevermore
Because of what You’ve done

© 2000 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).

Abiding in Christ with Cheerful Endurance


by Mike Ratliff

τοιγαρουν και ημεις τοσουτον εχοντες περικειμενον ημιν νεφος μαρτυρων ογκον αποθεμενοι παντα και την ευπεριστατον αμαρτιαν δι υπομονης τρεχωμεν τον προκειμενον ημιν αγωνα  αφορωντες εις τον της πιστεως αρχηγον και τελειωτην ιησουν ος αντι της προκειμενης αυτω χαρας υπεμεινεν σταυρον αισχυνης καταφρονησας εν δεξια τε του θρονου του θεου εκαθισεν (Hebrews 12:1-2 from the Textus Receptus)

The US agencies responsible for detecting counterfeit currency do not train their agents by having them study fake money. No, they train them by having them study genuine currency. They become intimately familiar with the genuine article so that when they encounter the counterfeit they have no trouble “judging” that it is not genuine. Over the last several posts we have been looking at what makes up genuine “orthodox Christian faith.” The purpose of this is to expose the hearts of the readers to these truths knowing that the Holy Spirit will work through the expounding of the Word of God to confirm these things there.  Continue reading

The Intolerance of Liberal (emergent) Christianity


by Mike Ratliff

Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. (Psalms 119:89 ESV)

Truth is not relative. If truth were then it couldn’t be truth for what would be true for one could be considered a fallacy by another. Therefore, it is utter foolishness to make assertions that truth is just a matter of opinion and we must be tolerant of other’s views on the Gospel and all of the vital aspects of our faith. On the other hand, I am perfectly willing to call another Christian my brother or sister in Christ even though we may disagree on things about our faith that are not barriers to orthodoxy. I find the discussions about these things with them to be wonderful opportunities of iron sharping iron. However, that is not the same thing as joining in fellowship with those who have serious issues with vital parts of doctrine that are non-negotiable. What do I mean? I have no problem loving and having fellowship with a Christian who is not Reformed in their Theology as I am. However, I draw the line and, as God leads,   contend with those who, for example, deny the deity of Christ or add works as a requirement for salvation or deny the inerrancy of the Bible or teach that Biblical Truth is inherently unknowable, therefore, we cannot hold to solid doctrinal truths. Continue reading