The Last Days and Godlessness

by Mike Ratliff

16 These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. 17 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. Jude 1:16-19 (NKJV)

If we do a serious study of the sad state of the Church in these last days it should be apparent to anyone who is not spiritually blind that it is very sick. The gap between genuine Christianity and what is false is becoming more and more defined. In the not too distant past, counterfeit and genuine Christianity could only be discerned with a deep investigation. Now, however, the counterfeit church has become so closely associated with the ways of the world, even to the point that the world sees it as harmless and maybe even fun, that the difference is clearly discernible.

On the other hand, the genuine Church, a remnant, remains faithful and is still hated by the world. The Church should never be a friend of the world. It must be separate. Therefore, we learn that one of the main indications that a church is not genuine, being only a religious segment of the world, is how worldly its leadership and members are. How tolerant are they of unrepentant sin? How much do they adhere to the doctrines of our faith? Carefully read the following passage and ask yourself if we are seeing the encroachment of this into the “church.”

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. 2 Timothy 3:1-9 (NKJV) 

We are in the last days. The church is in huge difficulty. The opponents of Biblical Orthodoxy, which includes the doctrines of grace, are all contaminated by pride. They are lovers of self. Since they are without the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, they seek fulfillment in what the world has to offer. What is that? They are allured with what money can buy so they love money. Their pride breeds arrogance. Within that “attitude,” they become abusive towards those who they see as mired in orthodoxy. Their natural man mindset cannot grasp the veracity of the Biblical truth that doesn’t fit in their “doctrine,” which is largely made up within their natural man mindset.

They use their mindset’s reasoning parameters to try to understand doctrine, but without the illumination of the Holy Spirit they cannot grasp the truth. Therefore, they reject sound Biblical doctrine because it makes no sense to them. They may be very religious and even leaders in their churches so they have a form of godliness, but their religion is all man-based since their doctrines deny the sovereignty of God and Lordship of Christ. These men see salvation as a work. When confronted with passages such as Ephesians 1 and Ephesians 2:8,9 and John 6:44 and Romans 9 they turn a blind eye and refuse to respond. This does not change them since they are in rebellion and their hearts are hard because of their unbelief.

Again, these people are very religious and even study their Bibles, but even in their learning they are never able to arrive at knowledge of the truth. What is the only hope for such people? Just like those of us who do know the truth, it is a work of the Holy Spirit that opens the heart through regeneration and circumcision that breaks through the callous layers of the heart so that God’s truth can penetrate. I remember very well how God did this in my heart.

Before He did this, my doctrine was one that I had accumulated and stored up since I was a child. It was not based on anything solid in the Bible. It was as I was doing research for a book that I “stumbled upon” several websites that dealt with the ongoing debate between those who held the doctrines of grace and those who despised them. I confess that I had no idea what each side really believed. I had never heard of Armianism. I had heard of Calvinism, but did not know what it really held as the truth. I studied both sides of this debate for many weeks. It seemed that each week saw another point of the 5 points of Calvinism take hold in my heart. As the last one fell, I was truly amazed because suddenly God became huge in my heart. His sovereignty became apparent to my heart and my utter dependence upon Him for my salvation and spiritual growth made it clear how awesome He is.

I reexamined my salvation and my walk since. It soon became very clear that God did it all. He drew me unto Himself. He was, and still is, working in my heart continually to grow me unto Christlikeness.

Therefore, are those mired in godlessness that is man’s version of Christianity hopelessly lost? I think not. I believe God can rescue them just as He did me. However, that does not mean that we stop telling the truth about the churches and leaders of those churches that are off the rails and ate up with the world and its ways. No, we must take a stand against that as we pray for God to break through the lies there and save His people.

Soli Deo Gloria!

7 thoughts on “The Last Days and Godlessness

  1. Mike – what is your counsel regarding belonging to a church where the preacher is a typical SBC type with the advice to ask Jesus into one’s heart, with invitations, and so forth? I’ve been in the men’s Sunday School class wherein the Word is studied/discussed and some of the men appear to think that God authors salvation. The preacher is part of this class (he does not teach it).

    We want to belong to a local fellowship. Need some friends. Yet I can be silent on some things.

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  2. I made a decision about 18 months ago to rejoin our old church that we left in 2000 when we moved from here to Tulsa. I really had mixed feelings about it. I knew that the way the Gospel was handled would be as you said in your comment, but the rest of the church would not be hopping down every bunny trail seeking relevancy with the world. The reason I decided to go back was that we had so many friends there from the days that I was a deacon there and we had raised our kids there from grade school to when they left home to go to college. In any case what you said is exactly the same thing I do. I tolerate the SBC stuff and go to deeper Bible Study classes and do my best there to dig deep into the Word with people. It has been noticed. The other day during one of our lessons I was setting at the end of the table with my best friend and we were talking about the Greek syntax of a certain word in a certain verse and the Church Elder who hosts the study made a comment that I and a few others in the group went way deeper into the Word than God ever intended. I just smiled and asked, “Are you sure?”

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  3. Church. This word conjures up all kinds of images in my mind, none of which come remotely close to the biblical Greek word “ekklesia”. The KJV of the Holy Bible uses church about 120 times each of which is Strong’s word # 1577, ekklesia, meaning “the called out”. I don’t know any Greek at all but only go by my Strong’s Concordance. It seems to me that the “called out” are a people chosen from out of the mass of humanity upon whom He has bestowed His grace and mercy to forgive them their sins, to justify them, to redeem them, to sanctify them that they should be holy and consecrated to Him.

    When I look at “church” in our day it bears no resemblance to this early redeemed people. Instead we have an abundance of very human, man-made institutions, organizations semi-political entities which are more concerned with their own glorification and that of their leaders.

    Sheparding in those early days was not a glamour job. I think the early pastoring done by faithful men was not a glamorous position either but I believe they were truly concerned with the souls of those early believers. When Jesus was training his apostles and they thought they were going to be big shots in His kingdom, He told them how the religious rulers of their day love the honour and prestige and the titles and their authority over the people. “However,” He told them, “it shall not be so with you!” “Do not be called rabbi, or teacher or father or leader for only God holds that honour,” “for you are all brothers.” See Matthew 23:1-12; 20:25-28. They were all equals. They were not to lord over one another human being.

    Now look at today. Every “pastor” out there LOVES being called pastor, preacher, teacher, reverend, bishop, pope, whatever. They LOVE their authority over their fellow human being. I find it amazing that Jesus, who has all authority in heaven and on earth, never used that authority over people. So when Jesus told them these things was this a command or maybe just a suggestion? Every “pastor” today has set aside the word of God for their own traditions of men.

    The “church” system of today is a set up to perpetuate that power structure, to enhance their glory above all their minions. It has nothing in common with the “called out” of God. They are two separate distinct entities. Now, I agree that there are those few “called out” ones within these man-made institutionalized churches who are faithfully serving God and are being shepherded by faithful leaders and I thank God our Saviour for them but it seems to me that most of the churches that I’ve attended in over 60 years were more concerned with self glorification and promoting their own agenda than obeying the Christ of God.

    As you said Mike and as Scripture tells us it’s going to get worse not better. If you recognize the fact you are caught up in an idolatrous man-made, self-serving “church,” you need to come out from her. Seek to obey God, to walk in His way, draw close to Him and He will draw close to you. He has promised that.

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  4. Mike, I appreciate your studies in the Word. Thank you very much. Correct me if I’m misinterpreting what you wrote, but in the third from the last paragraph, you wrote that you came to 5 point Calvinism. Then in the last paragraph it sounds like you said everything else is man’s version. So, clear it up for me – would you say that 5 point Calvinism is the only truth of salvation and anything else is false doctrine and will put people in hell ?? Thanks for clarifying this for me. I’m trying to learn.

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  5. What you asked would imply Hyper-Calvinism, which I do not believe. I was not a Calvinist when I was saved. God saves His people when they believe after being drawn to the Son by the Father. They believe because the Holy Spirit has regenerated them giving them the gift of faith. 5 point Calvinism is just an answer to the 5 points of Arminianism. I know many people on FB who believe that only those who believe the Calvinist Gospel are saved, but I don’t believe that. What I do believe this that God is Sovereign. He saves His people, the elect, and these saved people may or may not understand their truths of how this came to be, but over time He will draw them into His truth. Some of us will surrender to His truth more than others. Sadly, many show their true colors and refuse to do so and become almost violent in their rejection of their version of the Free Will gospel, which I consider a man-centered, watered-down, and vacuous form of the Gospel. I know this because I was in several churches that preached it until God drew me out of that confusion in 2004-2006. Do I have Christian friends who are not Calvinists? Yes, our church is full of them. My Pastor is a fence sitter for instance. Our elders are too. They are terrified that if they take a stand on it they will offend someone. Well, I have prayed a great deal about this and it is either not go to church or simply not say anything about stuff like this and have fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ while in Bible Study classes I show them the truth. 🙂

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  6. I have enjoyed many of your articles but was disheartened somewhat to read you’re a 5 point Calvinist.

    I would disagree with the statement that “5 point Calvinism is just an answer to the 5 points of Arminianism.” Quite the other way round to my mind as Arminius was at first a Calvinist who was asked to write a defense of Calvinism but upon further study of it changed to the more demonstrably biblical position. The Five Points of Calvinism were not formulated by Calvin but by the Synod of Dort. Also it wasn’t Arminius who developed the five points of Arminianism, but the Remonstrants who did so after Arminius died in 1609.

    I find it interesting that you state “I was not a Calvinist when I was saved.” Which would imply to me your ability to understand the requirements to be saved by reading your Bible (or having the simple Gospel preached to you) without any prior regeneration required. A free choice you made to believe what you read and/or heard I’m sure. I am also sure it was God who made the opportunity for you to hear or read it.

    I would humbly ask that you read What Love is This? By Dave Hunt. Publish by The Berean Call, if you haven’t already. I have not found a more Biblically supportable case for the refutation of Calvinism than this book.

    May God bless your continued studies of His Word.

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  7. Robert, I debated with myself whether to post your comment or not. I usually do not post these types of comments, but I will in your case. Sir, are you serious? Do you honestly think that you can throw Dave Hunt’s vacuous book out there and suggest that it would somehow alter my firm belief that God is Sovereign? Sir, He is Sovereign over all of creation. He is Sovereign over all or He is not sovereign at all. I laugh at so called amateur theologians who try to twist scripture to suggest that God has limited His Sovereignty to give man’s Free Will Sovereignty. What nonsense! You suggested I read Dave Hunt??? Okay, you should read John Owen’s The Death of Death in the Death of Jesus Christ, Boice and Ryken’s The Doctines of Grace, Pink’s The Sovereignty of God, R.C. Sproul’s Chosen by God, R.C. Sprouls’s The Holiness of God, William Tyndale’s Obedience of the Christian Man, Luther’s The Bondage of the Will and Jonathan Edwards’ The Freedom of the Will. You see, I read all these between 2003 and 2007 or so and many others like the biography of John Bunyan and his masterpiece Pilgrim’s Progress. When you suggested Dave Hunt’s book which has been shot to pieces by Dr. James White and I compare that with the list I just shared I have to wonder… In any case, most of what I know about the Sovereignty of God comes from studying Scripture, learning the original languages, and then doing my own translations thereby knowing exactly what the original authors were saying. I find that most who little about Theology never get past their English translations. In any case, I know the history of Jacob Arminius and it is regrettable that you see him as heroic. I certainly do not. I pray that God will draw you into His light for He is merciful. – Mike Ratliff

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