Because we have been justified by faith we exult in hope of the glory of God


by Mike Ratliff

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2 (NASB) 

What is the difference between faith and hope? Are they the same thing? They are not the same, but they are two sides of the same coin. If I want my old College to win in football against our biggest rival that is hope. On the other hand, if I believe it will happen then it is faith. With this faith, my hope is enhanced. It becomes active. On the other hand, if I have little faith that it will happen then my hope becomes simply wishful thinking. What about our faith through which we are saved by grace? Is this faith simply working up enough belief so that our hope becomes strong, or is there more to it than that?
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Abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit


by Mike Ratliff

13 Ὁ δὲ θεὸς τῆς ἐλπίδος πληρώσαι ὑμᾶς πάσης χαρᾶς καὶ εἰρήνης ἐν τῷ πιστεύειν, εἰς τὸ περισσεύειν ὑμᾶς ἐν τῇ ἐλπίδι ἐν δυνάμει πνεύματος ἁγίου. (Romans 15:13 NA28)

13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing for you to abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

The concept of “hope” as it is viewed in the world today, and, sadly, by much of what calls itself “Christian” is an expression of a wish or a want, such as, “I sure do hope I get…,” or “I sure hope I do not get…” In this, there is no certainty in the usage of the word “hope.” However, in the passage above (Romans 15:13) for example, the Greek noun which is the lexical root for both ἐλπίδος and ἐλπίδι, which is ἐλπίς or elpis speaks of a “desire of some good with expectation of obtaining it.” The Christian concept of our hope in Christ, our blessed hope, is exactly this. We are not hoping, as the world does like football fans that our favorite team will win a game or even the title of conference or whatever. That is not what we base our hope upon. No, our hope is based upon certainty.  Continue reading

Christians’ Blessed Hope


by Mike Ratliff

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:11-14 NASB)

There are false Christians today in the world, there were in the past, there will be in the future. The world is always full of false Christians. As I have been saying for many years, there are more false Christians than true ones. I’m afraid to say there may be more false prophets than true prophets. There are certainly more false representatives of Jesus Christ than true representatives of Christ. But as things get worse, as persecution escalates, the false are going to fall away, they are  going to fall away because our Lord said so.

10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. (Matthew 24:10-12 NASB)

They will hold on to their sin. The world as it moves in this direction is going to get worse and worse and worse. The world’s evil is going to escalate. We are seeing it in our own culture today. And people love their sin and as their sin is legitimized, as their sin is normalized, as their sin is legalized they’re going to cherish their sins more openly and more publicly and they’re not going to be interested in the things of Christ and suffering for the cause of Christ. Continue reading

Christian Hope


by Mike Ratliff

13 Ὁ δὲ θεὸς τῆς ἐλπίδος πληρώσαι ὑμᾶς πάσης χαρᾶς καὶ εἰρήνης ἐν τῷ πιστεύειν, εἰς τὸ περισσεύειν ὑμᾶς ἐν τῇ ἐλπίδι ἐν δυνάμει πνεύματος ἁγίου. (Romans 15:13 NA28)

13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing for you to abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

The concept of “hope” as it is viewed in the world today, and, sadly, by much of what calls itself “Christian” is an expression of a wish or a want, such as, “I sure do hope I get…,” or “I sure hope I do not get…” In this, there is no certainty in its usage. However, in Romans 15:13 (above) for example, the Greek noun which is the lexical root for both ἐλπίδος and ἐλπίδι, which is ἐλπίς or elpis speaks of a “desire of some good with expectation of obtaining it.” The Christian concept of our hope in Christ, our blessed hope, is exactly this. We are not hoping, as the world does like football fans that our favorite team will win a game or even the title of conference or whatever. That is not what we base our hope upon. No, our hope is based upon certainty.  Continue reading

Hope and Despair


by Mike Ratliff

4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4 NASB)

The role of a Christian writer primarily focusing on the growing apostasy in the church is a tough one. As the Lord shows us what is really going on in the “visible church” that is Christian in name only it is easy to become overwhelmed. If we focus on the these things to the exclusion of our devotion to our Lord we will find in short order that these battles take a heavy toll. They cannot be fought in our strength alone. Fortunately, we can remain in the fight in obedience to our Lord as long as we are doing battle while yoked to our Lord. Also, we must never lose sight of our Lord’s own promise to never stop building His Church (Matthew 16:18). Continue reading

Because we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand we rejoice in hope of the glory of God


by Mike Ratliff

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2 ESV)

What is the difference between faith and hope? Are they the same thing? They are not the same, but they are two sides of the same coin. If I want my old College to win in football against our biggest rival that is hope. On the other hand, if I believe it will happen then it is faith. With this faith, my hope is enhanced. It becomes active. On the other hand, if I have little faith that it will happen then my hope becomes simply wishful thinking. What about our faith through which we are saved by grace? Is this faith simply working up enough belief so that our hope becomes strong, or is there more to it than that?
Continue reading

Hope


by Mike Ratliff

13 Ὁ δὲ θεὸς τῆς ἐλπίδος πληρώσαι ὑμᾶς πάσης χαρᾶς καὶ εἰρήνης ἐν τῷ πιστεύειν, εἰς τὸ περισσεύειν ὑμᾶς ἐν τῇ ἐλπίδι ἐν δυνάμει πνεύματος ἁγίου. (Romans 15:13 NA27)

13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing for you to abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

The concept of “hope” as it is viewed in the world today, and, sadly, by much of what calls itself “Christian” is an expression of a wish or a want, such as, “I sure do hope I get…,” or “I sure hope I do not get…” In this, there is no certainty in the usage of the word “hope.” However, in the passage above (Romans 15:13) for example, the Greek noun which is the lexical root for both ἐλπίδος and ἐλπίδι, which is ἐλπίς or elpis speaks of a “desire of some good with expectation of obtaining it.” The Christian concept of our hope in Christ, our blessed hope, is exactly this. We are not hoping, as the world does like football fans that our favorite team will win a game or even the title of conference or whatever. That is not what we base our hope upon. No, our hope is based upon certainty.  Continue reading

The Day of the Lord Will Come


by Mike Ratliff

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:36-44 ESV)

I am no “expert” on eschatology. All I know is that the Jesus and writers of the New Testament say over and over again that the Day of the Lord is coming and we need to be ready, but most will not be ready. If you look at the current trends in the Missional movement, its adherents seem to have abandoned any concrete concept of a Church age that will end with the Lord Jesus returning in judgment against those outside of His Kingdom. To be honest, I grew up with a lot of that eschatology stuff with those very complicated charts with arrows and lines running all over the place and I must admit that I understood them only when those presenting them spoke, but when I read the Word of God for myself, I couldn’t find what they were talking about most of the time. I think they were overcomplicating things. Let’s look at one passage from 2 Peter that deals with this.  Continue reading

Where is your Blessed Hope?


by Mike Ratliff

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11:14 ESV)

The following is a quote from a sermon by John MacArthur titled ‘The Undying Faith of Christians Facing Death’ in the context of Matthew 24.

“There are false Christians today in the world, there were in the past, there will be in the future. The world is always full of false Christians. There are more false Christians than true ones. I’m afraid to say there may be more false prophets than true prophets. They’re certainly more false representatives of Jesus Christ than true representatives of Christ. But as things get worse, as persecution escalates. The false are going to fall away, they’re going to fall away for reasons that He gives us here. “False prophets will lead them astray,” verse 12, “because of iniquity being increased, their love will grow cold,” they’ll hold on to their sin. The world as it moves is going to get worse and worse and worse. The world’s evil is going to escalate and escalate, we’re seeing it in our own culture today. And people love their sin and as their sin is legitimized, as their sin is normalized, as their sin is legalized they’re going to cherish their sins more openly and more publicly and they’re not going to be interested in the things of Christ and suffering for the cause of Christ.”

That statement really shouldn’t have surprised us. It didn’t me. I’m really not very good at this apologist stuff in that I get discouraged very easily as I research the doctrine, sermons, and what is said by false prophets, and so-called christian leaders. Over time, I need to get away from it and rest in my Lord for awhile and get refocused on where my hope really lies. These jokers talk a lot about ‘vision’ and ‘hope’ and ‘transformation’ et cetera, but it doesn’t take very long to see that they are looking for all that from within. They see the potential to be within themselves to do it all. Their hope is in themselves. They may throw God and Jesus around a lot in there sermons, but the focus is all about what they can do and how God has to bless them because they are doing or because they have developed and are pursuing their visionContinue reading

Saving Faith vs. False Faith


by Mike Ratliff

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge– even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you– so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:4-9 ESV)

Being a refugee from the SBC, I began this ministry with a great deal of spiritual baggage that stubbornly clung to me until God subjected me to the cleansing fires of His truth through dealing with tribulation, crises of dealing with bad doctrine within supposed brethren, and outright persecution from people I thought were friends. It was through these fires of tribulation that, even though very painful, I got my focus off of self and onto the Lord. His will became paramount in my heart. His glory became my focus. I am nothing; He is everything. He is my κύριος (Lord); I am His δοῦλος (slave, bondservant). I had a test today and I was not only surprised by my reaction to it, but I also rejoiced when it was over as I looked back on the journey God has thus far taken me as He has peeled away the heretical, self-focused, bad theology, and me-ism that was standard fare in the SBC churches from which I came. Continue reading

The Cross Produces Hope


by John Calvin

Paul makes much the same point, when he writes that from tribulation comes patience, and from patience, test of character (Romans 5:3-4). Believers experience the truth of the Lord’s promise of help in time of trial, when they endure patiently, upheld by his hand – something they could never do in their own strength. Patience thus provides the saints with proof that God supplies his promised help whenever it is needed. By this means, too, they are encouraged to hope, because it would be gross ingratitude to doubt God’s faithfulness in the future, when in the past they have found him firm and immutable.  Continue reading

Our Heavenly Dwelling and the Ministry of Reconciliation


by Mike Ratliff

For we know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened–not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (2 Corinthians 5:1-4 ESV)

About two weeks ago I was in Oklahoma visiting my daughter and son-in-law. I did some landscaping for them as well as some general lawn care. Sometime during all that I picked up a very bad case of Poison Ivy. My arms and legs are the worst, however it is also on my cheek and upper lip. The medication that I am on is no picnic either. During all of this I have reflected much on what God is doing within this trial or test. I have no doubt that I need to be humbled and this test is spot-on for that. I am beginning to understand Job sitting on the ash heap scraping his skin with broken piece of pottery. Seriously though, I do know one thing that God is definitely doing in my heart through this. I believe the Lord is attacking my “pride of life.”

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Hope


by Mike Ratliff

4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4 ESV)

The role of a Christian writer primarily focusing on the growing apostasy in the church is a tough one. As the Lord shows us what is really going on in the church that is Christian in name only it is easy to become overwhelmed. If we focus on the these things to the exclusion of our devotion to our Lord we will find in short order that these battles take a heavy toll. They cannot be fought in our strength alone. Fortunately, we can remain in the fight in obedience to our Lord as long as we are doing battle while yoked to our Lord. Continue reading

Faith and Hope


by Mike Ratliff

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2 ESV)

What is the difference between faith and hope? Are they the same thing? They are not the same, but they are two sides of the same coin. If I want my old College to win in football against our biggest rival that is hope. On the other hand, if I believe it will happen then it is faith. With this faith, my hope is enhanced. It becomes active. On the other hand, if I have little faith that it will happen then my hope becomes simply wishful thinking. What about our faith through which we are saved by grace? Is this faith simply working up enough belief so that our hope becomes strong, or is there more to it than that?
Continue reading