I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.


by Mike Ratliff

13 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, 14 but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.'” (1 Chronicles 17:13-14 ESV)

God is Sovereign. He is at no one’s beck and call. He is not subject to anyone. Men may indeed insist that God must follow their ideas of who He is and what He will or won’t do, but these things come from flawed Human reason. Men are arrogant creatures who have been trying to usurp God’s place on His throne since the fall in Genesis 3. Most people do not correctly understand God’s revelation of Himself that we find in the Sacred Scripture, therefore, their doctrines are more man based than God centered.

One of the most important teachings about our Lord Jesus Christ that is missed by so many professing Christians and their leaders is that all of creation is really all about Him. He created it for Himself, that He would be glorified in it. After His resurrection just prior to His ascension He told His disciples and us something we would best not forget.

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (Matthew 28:18 ESV)

Continue reading

Does Jesus Know You?


by Mike Ratliff

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? ’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)

This life here and now on planet Earth is only a small fragment of reality. I once encountered a fellow who tried to shut this blog down with his hateful attack on me and everyone who commented here. One of his attacks was that we are paying way too much attention to eternity. In his “theology” we needed to forget all about that and treat it as a myth because this life is what its all about. Even though most professing Christians would not agree with that statement they actually appear to live out their life here and now as if what that fellow said was true. For instance, some “church services” appear to be little more than rock concerts these days in an attempt to make a select group of people happy and keep them coming back each Sunday.

Continue reading

What Is A Reprobate Mind?


by Mike Ratliff<

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32 ESV)

28 Καὶ καθὼς οὐκ ἐδοκίμασαν τὸν θεὸν ἔχειν ἐν ἐπιγνώσει, παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς εἰς ἀδόκιμον νοῦν, ποιεῖν τὰ μὴ καθήκοντα, 29 πεπληρωμένους πάσῃ ἀδικίᾳ πονηρίᾳ πλεονεξίᾳ κακίᾳ, μεστοὺς φθόνου φόνου ἔριδος δόλου κακοηθείας, ψιθυριστὰς 30 καταλάλους θεοστυγεῖς ὑβριστὰς ὑπερηφάνους ἀλαζόνας, ἐφευρετὰς κακῶν, γονεῦσιν ἀπειθεῖς, 31 ἀσυνέτους ἀσυνθέτους ἀστόργους ἀνελεήμονας· 32 οἵτινες τὸ δικαίωμα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπιγνόντες ὅτι οἱ τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντες ἄξιοι θανάτου εἰσίν, οὐ μόνον αὐτὰ ποιοῦσιν ἀλλὰ καὶ συνευδοκοῦσιν τοῖς πράσσουσιν. (Romans 1:28-32 NA28)

The word translated as “debased” in the ESV rendering of Romans 1:28 is the Greek word ἀδόκιμον. This anarthrous adjective means, “unapproved, unworthy, spurious, or worthless.” In the context of Romans 1:28 it is speaking of those who do not have a sense of pending judgment. They have a reprobate, abominable mind that is abhorred by God and men who do know God’s truth. The word “mind” here is νοῦν. This anarthrous noun is the intellectual faculty of the natural man, applicable to God or Christ (Romans 11:34; 1 Corinthians 2:16), employed in practical judgment, capable of being good or evil, and of being regenerated, the mind, the reason, the reasoning faculty. Continue reading

Acknowledging Christ Before Men and Blasphemy of The Holy Spirit


by Mike Ratliff

22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house. 28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” — 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3:22-30 ESV)

Several years ago, about the time that Rob Bell’s book Love Wins came out, I got into a comment and email exchange with a fellow who insisted that God will not condemn anyone to an eternity in hell. He said that it is only a temporary place that will be emptied when all things are reconciled to God in eternity. It did no good to use clear scripture references to show him that he was ignoring a great deal God’s truth even though I tried. One thing that struck me was his stance that Romans 5 was blasphemous in reference to the doctrine of Original Sin and condemnation for all men by it, but there is justification and life for ‘the many’ (Romans 5:12-17). Was this a case of ‘blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?’ Continue reading

To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us.


by Mike Ratliff

1 To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
2 Behold, as the eyes of servants
look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant
to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
till he has mercy upon us.
3 Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.
4 Our soul has had more than enough
of the scorn of those who are at ease,
of the contempt of the proud.
(Psalms 123:1-4 ESV)

The vast majority of people on planet Earth want nothing to do with the real Jesus. Many love and hold dear “another Jesus,” but he is one made up by people who don’t know the one who is real. Also their Jesus is “different” because they do not particularly like the one who is revealed to mankind in God’s Word. Tragically, the numbers of professing Christians are growing continually who are also following “another Jesus” who does not resemble in the least the one found in Sacred Scripture. Those who hold dear the real Jesus are those who are entirely reliant upon the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Undoubtedly there are immature Christians who whose faith is not strong. However, there are also huge numbers of “religious”  Christians who live as if their “decision for Christ” many years ago is their fire insurance. Some of these are quite religious while others are simply calling themselves Christian as if it is some sort of family trait, these being “cultural Christians.” Those who are completely reliant upon God, whose focus is His glory in all things are those who know the real Jesus and are known by Him. These are the believers whose eyes look to the Lord their God. They look unto God because this brings them knowledge of His countenance. Christians know God by interacting with Him in prayer, Bible Study, obedience and repentance and, of course, by partaking of the means of grace. They are able to do these things with Him as they look unto Him, fully trusting Him to work out the details for His glory. Continue reading

True Christian Liberty


by Mike Ratliff

25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:25 ESV)

Liberty – ἐλευθερία – eleutheria – freedom, generosity, independence. Freedom is presented as a distinctive blessing of the economy of grace which, in contrast with the OT economy, is represented as including independence from legal restrictions and rules of life (1 Corinthians 10:29; Galatians 2:4; 5:1, 13). In contrast to the present subjection of the creature to the bondage of corruption, freedom represents the future state of the children of God (Romans 8:21; see also vv. 20, 23). The perfect law of freedom (referred to in James 1:25 [above]) is the freedom of generosity, seen exclusively in James 2:12, 13, when the Judge shows his generosity in proportion to the mercifulness of the believers on earth.

Slavery or bondage – δουλεία – douleia – servitude, dependence; the state of a δοῦλος or doulos, a slave. That state of man in which he is prevented from freely possessing and enjoying his life; a state opposed to liberty. In NT used only figuratively (Romans 8:15, 21; Galatians 4:24; 5:1; Hebrews 2:15).

1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 ESV)

Galatians 5:1 is often used by some to teach a version of Christian liberty that is not biblical. There are some who teach that this liberty, which is for all genuine Christians, is a freedom to ignore God’s moral Law. This is a form of antinomianism. Those who teach this are giving license to believers to sin. This is not what Paul and James were talking about when they spoke of freedom in Christ and the law of liberty. Continue reading

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the founder of salvation


by Mike Ratliff

10 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. (Hebrews 2:10 ESV)

Adherents to any man-focused religion that call themselves Christian place the onus of salvation on the person and make God a passive entity who will not or cannot interfere with Man’s free will. This is not Biblical. It is philosophical. When we debate those who elevate free will above God and His sovereignty using Sacred Scripture their response is never in kind. That is because we are actually contending against a philosophy that is based on Man’s conceptions and understandings not on Biblical exegesis. Let us look at the founder of our salvation from the source our God gave us. Through this, He will make His truth apparent to our hearts by the working of the Holy Spirit as we study His Word. Continue reading

How Vital Is It that We Have Full, Precise, Thorough, And Correct Knowledge Of God?


by Mike Ratliff

15 Διὰ τοῦτο κἀγὼ ἀκούσας τὴν καθʼ ὑμᾶς πίστιν ἐν τῷ κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην τὴν εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους 16 οὐ παύομαι εὐχαριστῶν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν μνείαν ποιούμενος ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχῶν μου, 17 ἵνα ὁ θεὸς τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ πατὴρ τῆς δόξης, δώῃ ὑμῖν πνεῦμα σοφίας καὶ ἀποκαλύψεως ἐν ἐπιγνώσει αὐτοῦ, (Ephesians 1:15-17 NA28)

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, (Ephesians 1:15-17 ESV)

Post-modernism has as one of its tenets “relativism” that, of course, leads to ambiguity not revelation nor precision in our understanding of the truth. In fact, I have been rebuked more times than I can count by those who hold to that false religion called the “Emergent Church” that I was full of pride and not humble because I declared that I knew truth revealed to us by God in His Word as absolute truth, authoritative and without error. The liberal insists that to be humble we must declare that we do not know the truth nor are able to know God or understand His Word. Continue reading

And do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may discern the will of God, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect


by Mike Ratliff

17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ! — 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:17-24 ESV)

The writers of the New Testament had no concept of a Christian whom many today would call a “Carnal Christian.” All believers still sin in this life and there will be times when they struggle with certain sins as if in a deadly battle, which they perceive as one they are losing. However, God will not leave His children this way. There will be no peace in the heart of a genuine Christian who is actively indulging his or her flesh. Instead, there will be heartache, self-loathing, and a deep desire to get the victory and draw closer to the Saviour much as David did when finally confronted about his horrible sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. There is no true peace in the heart of Christian who is hiding his or her sin. Those around them may not know what is going on, but God does  and so do those hiding their sin. It is not a spiritually healthy situation.

Continue reading

Is the Bible the Word of God and Does it Have Authority?


by Mike Ratliff

12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (Proverbs 14:12 ESV)

Just a few days ago I posted “Is there a war going on between God and His forces on one side and Satan and his forces on the other?” In that post I mentioned a link sent to me by a friend to a post on another blog called The Emergent Village. On that blog I could not help noticing a link to another post by another writer there titled “The Bible is NOT the WORD OF GOD: a polemic against Christendom“. What that fellow had to say is the centerpiece of “Christian Liberalism.” Denying The Bible as the Word of God, a gift from God to His people is the first step into apostasy. Once that step is taken all other truths are no longer held as absolute.

Without that God-given anchor into His absolute truth all else is up for grabs. Those like the fellow who wrote that article and those who agree with him are those who also have a problem with what Orthodox Christianity holds as the gospel, the sovereignty of God, election, the exclusivity of genuine discipleship, et cetera. Because of this “liberalism” they also force a man-centered perspective on God’s Word in one form or another. These same people lean towards a form of Christianity that is almost all experiential. Since their view of how the gospel works and how God works with Man is wrongly focused and the Word of God contains clear teachings about the sovereignty of God, these people conceive of their entire “Christian” paradigm from a philosophical and existential base rather than on the authority of Sacred Scripture. They have to do this since they deny that what we call Sacred Scripture has any authority.

Continue reading

Is there a war going on between God and His forces on one side and Satan and his forces on the other?


by Mike Ratliff

1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” (Zechariah 3:1-2 ESV)

Today I was sent this link. It brought back a lot of memories of some very serious battles from about 5 to 6 years ago between many of us at CRN and those who proclaimed allegiance to “The Emergent Village.” The fight got ugly at times, but from it it became more and more apparent that the Emergent or Emergence movement was just another form of the “Liberal Christianity” that Charles Spurgeon faced during the Great Downgrade Controversy in his time and what J. Gresham Machen stood against in his ministry and wrote of in his fine book Christianity and Liberalism. In that book Machen proved that what was called progressive or Liberal Christianity was a different religion from genuine or Orthodox Christianity. It was a good thing that my friend sent me that link and it was also a good thing that I read what was going on there and thought back on those days and those fights. Why? It is imperative to know the enemy and how he works. To have an enemy implies that there is a conflict of some kind. Is there a war going on between God and His forces on one side and Satan and his forces on the other?

Continue reading

Are You Seeking The Bread Or The One Who Breaks The Bread?


by Mike Ratliff

28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” (John 6:28 ESV)

Genuine Christians will be very interested in getting the answer to the question posed to Jesus from John 6:28. If a professing Christian is not interested in that answer then there’s a problem. On the other hand, there are many professing Christians who have answered that question without reading Jesus’ response to it. Instead, they have jumped head foremost into “religous” work that they believe pleases God and is earning them bonus points in eternity. Their “works” may look good to most people, but are they what Jesus tells us are the genuine works of God? Let’s look at this passage in context. Continue reading

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live


by Mike Ratliff

13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13 ESV)

God is Holy. God is Righteous. God is Just. God is Sovereign. Yehōwāh (יהוה) our Adhōnāy (אדן    אדון), God our sovereign one, our Lord, our Kύριος or Kyrios, is also Love, Mercy, and Grace. We must not have a view of God that emphasizes His love, mercy, or grace over His Holiness. We are commanded to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phlippians 2:12). We are commaded to delight in God and come boldly to His throne of Grace, yet we must never take His Holiness for granted. This is why we have so much exhortation in Bible to put to death the deeds of the flesh and then become Spirit-filled thereby walking in repentance.

Continue reading

But My Righteous One Shall Live By Faith


by Mike Ratliff

4 “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4 ESV)

17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17 ESV)

11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11 ESV)

37 For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; 38 but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” (Hebrews 10:37-38 ESV)

The real author of Sacred Scripture is the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit of God frequently repeats Himself, He thereby appeals for special attention. Look closely at Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:37-38. Since the right doctrine comes from the Holy Spirit and He has declared that the righteous shall live by faith so often we must discern that this is doctrine and it is of highest importance. Also, these truths, this doctrine, must be preached and taught to believers as much as possible. Since all genuine believers have the Holy Spirit they should unhesitatingly receive this doctrine by their regenerated faith.

Continue reading