Life in the Spirit


by Mike Ratliff

1 Οὐδὲν ἄρα νῦν κατάκριμα τοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. (Romans 8:1 NA27)

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to the ones in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

 Romans 8 is best understood after reading the Apostle Paul’s exposition of his own “wretched man” trapped in a “body of death” in Romans 7:14-25. 

            [14] For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, [w]sold under sin. [15] For I do not understand my own actions. For [x]I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. [16] Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with [y]the law, that it is good. [17] So now [z]it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. [18] For I know that nothing good dwells [a]in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. [19] [b]For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. [20] Now if I do what I do not want, [c]it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

            [21] So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. [22] For [d]I delight in the law of God, [e]in my inner being, [23] but I see in my members [f]another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. [24] Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from [g]this body of death? [25] Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.           

(Romans 7:14-25 ESV) 

[Cross References]

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[w] 1 Kgs. 21:20, 25; 2 Kgs. 17:17; Isa. 50:1; 52:3

[x] ver. 18, 19; [Gal. 5:17]

[y] 1 Tim. 1:8; [ver. 12]

[z] ver. 20

[a] Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Job 14:4; 15:14; Ps. 51:5

[b] ver. 15

[c] ver. 17

[d] Ps. 1:2; 112:1; 119:35

[e] 2 Cor. 4:16; Eph. 3:16; [1 Pet. 3:4]

[f] Gal. 5:17; [James 4:1]

[g] [ch. 6:6; 8:23]

There are some who teach from this passage saying that it describes Paul’s life before Christ citing that this description is contrary to his own account or description of true believers in Romans 6 (cf. vv. 2,6,7,11,17,18,22) . However, as we read this passage it is obvious that this is a believer because he desires to obey God’s law and hates his sin. He is humble, recognizing that nothing good dwells in his humanness. He sees sin in himself, but not as all that there is, and he serves Jesus Christ with his mind. This very struggle was my desperate struggle for a couple of decades and I get private emails from many readers in the same boat, doubting the veracity of their salvation because they are in the same battle. Why are they in despair? Why was I in despair for so long? The churches, the religious systems of which we were part of told us in their pragmatism that there would be some point when we would outgrow this and reach some level of maturity and would no longer struggle like this. If that did not happen either we were very immature or not Christians at all. Continue reading

Effectual and Fruitful in the Knowledge of Our Lord Jesus Christ


by Mike Ratliff

[8] For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:8 ESV) 

The Doctrine of Imputation is a wonderful blessing for the Christian. Christ’s Righteousness and perfect obedience to the Law were both imputed to the account of every believer at their justification. That means, in God’s sight, each and every one of us in Christ are as blameless in his eyes as Christ himself. I was asked on Thanksgiving before our meal to “briefly” state that for which I was most thankful. How can I separate the atonement and all the eternal blessings that await all of us in Christ and just single out one thing? I knew that it would be very confusing for some of those in attendance to talk about the doctrine of imputation so I simply said I was most thankful for God’s Grace.  Continue reading

Justified Without Charge


by Mike Ratliff

23 πάντες γὰρ ἥμαρτον καὶ ὑστεροῦνται τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ 24 δικαιούμενοι δωρεὰν τῇ αὐτοῦ χάριτι διὰ τῆς ἀπολυτρώσεως τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ· 25 ὃν προέθετο ὁ θεὸς ἱλαστήριον διὰ [τῆς] πίστεως ἐν τῷ αὐτοῦ αἵματι εἰς ἔνδειξιν τῆς δικαιοσύνης αὐτοῦ διὰ τὴν πάρεσιν τῶν προγεγονότων ἁμαρτημάτων 26 ἐν τῇ ἀνοχῇ τοῦ θεοῦ, πρὸς τὴν ἔνδειξιν τῆς δικαιοσύνης αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ, εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν δίκαιον καὶ δικαιοῦντα τὸν ἐκ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ. (Romans 3:23-26 NA27)

23 for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption of Christ Jesus, 25 whom God displayed as a propitiation by his blood received through faith. This was in order to display his righteousness because in his divine forbearance, he passed over previously occurred sins. 26 This was to display his righteousness in the present time, for him to be just and the justifier of the one having faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:23-26 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1) 

As I got ready to “attend Church” this morning with my wife, I spent some time in prayer as the coffee brewed. I write down what I pray as this helps me focus. There is nothing legalistic in this. There is nothing mystical about it. This just helps me pray. It is also gives me a record of what I pray, which is pretty cool when God answers one of those requests. Part of my prayer this morning was. “…I pray for your glory in and through me this day. I pray for your kingdom to come into fulfillment soon. I pray for you to be glorified in my worship of you this day in church and in my walk and service. Use me as you will. I pray for wisdom and discernment…” There was more of course, but as the worship service began, there was something different. We noticed that we were going to have Communion today because the “Elements” were on the Communion Table. Also, there was a Cello on the stage. When the pastor, Rick Holland, spoke, he said that we would be led in worship by part of the Christian Worship band “Enfield.” The leader and his wife were in town for a wedding. It turned out that the Cellist was the bride. In any case, the music was all Christ glorifying and incredibly edifying. By the time we took communion, I had tears rolling down my face. Did God answer my prayer? Who can worship God like that? It is only those who are justified without charge, the ones justified freely by his grace through the redemption of Christ Jesus. Continue reading

Born Again to a Living Hope and Called to be Holy


by Mike Ratliff

6 ἐν ᾧ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, ὀλίγον ἄρτι εἰ δέον [ἐστὶν] λυπηθέντες ἐν ποικίλοις πειρασμοῖς, 7 ἵνα τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως πολυτιμότερον χρυσίου τοῦ ἀπολλυμένου διὰ πυρὸς δὲ δοκιμαζομένου, εὑρεθῇ εἰς ἔπαινον καὶ δόξαν καὶ τιμὴν ἐν ἀποκαλύψει Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ· (1 Peter 1:6,7 NA27)

6 In this you greatly rejoice, for a little while now, if it is necessary, having been grieved by various trials, 7 that the tested genuineness of you faith—infinitely more valuable than gold that perishes even though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6.7 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

A few weeks ago we looked at the doctrine of the imputation and what that means to the believer and what implications it has on both how we handle the gospel and how we live this Christian life. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I did have to deal with several objections both in the comment sections and offline to these precious doctrines. I was puzzled by this at first. Why would anyone want to deny that both Christ’s Righteousness and his active obedience is imputed to the believer at their justification? Then I remembered why I started that series. It was to answer something Rick Warren had said in a Tweet implying that the doctrine of imputation created passive Christians and God wanted us to be active and cooperative with him, et cetera. In last night’s post, I pointed you to a broadcast of the White Horse Inn about the discussion of The New Covenant. It was during that discussion that one of the commentators quoted John Wesley in reference to the doctrine of imputation saying, “The doctrine of imputation saws off the leg of holiness…” I hope I got that right. In any case, I am bringing this up in this post because I am convinced that it is men like Rick Warren and those who follow him are revealing their Pelagian roots by insisting that people must “work” in order to be right with God and that the doctrine of imputation is something made up by the Reformers like Calvin. Continue reading

In Defense of the Imputation of the Active Obedience of Christ


by Mike Ratliff

21 τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν, ἵνα ἡμεῖς γενώμεθα δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ
(2 Corinthians 5:21 NA28)

21 The one who knew no sin, on our behalf, was made sin that we might become the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21 translated from the NA28 Greek text)  

Mirrored in the YRR movement and probably overlapping it quite a bit is something called New Covenant Theology. Especially amongst Reformed Baptists who grew up ignorant of it (like me), but who are now enthusiastically grasping its depth and how Reformation Theology’s strengths are all found in how it is rooted in Biblical exegesis rather than the philosophies of men, most are determined “to get it right.” Unfortunately, within New Covenant Theology is a determined attack on what many call “Calvinistic sacred cows” within Reformation Theology. One of these “sacred cows” is “The Covenant of Works,” which includes the double imputation of both Christ’s active and passive obedience to the Christian at their justification. Why would they attack these things?  Continue reading

The Active Obedience of Christ – No Hope Without It!


On September 8th I posted Is the Christian’s Hope in Christ’s Active Obedience or Their Own Works in response to something Rick Warren had said in a Tweet against the doctrine of Imputation. The intent of that article was not to do an in-depth presentation of the doctrine of the Imputation of Christ’s righteousness at the time of new believer’s justification, but to contrast what the Bible clearly teaches about it with what Rick Warren said. I have been requested to give more of my understanding of the Reformation doctrines that are closely associated with Justification, especially in Imputation of Christ’s active obedience and why it is essential. As I researched this, I ran across an  article I had read about five years ago over at RefomationTheology.com.

Continue reading

Is the Christian’s Hope in Christ’s Active Obedience or Their Own Works


by Mike Ratliff

ὥσπερ γὰρ διὰ τῆς παρακοῆς τοῦ ἑνὸς ἀνθρώπου ἁμαρτωλοὶ κατεστάθησαν οἱ πολλοί, οὕτως καὶ διὰ τῆς ὑπακοῆς τοῦ ἑνὸς δίκαιοι κατασταθήσονται οἱ πολλοί. (Romans 5:19 NA27)

For as through the disobedience of one man, many were man sinners, so also through one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1) 

John Gresham Machen (July 28, 1881 – January 1, 1937), on the day before he died, wrote a note to his friend John Murray saying, “I’m so thankful for the active obedience of Christ; no hope without it.” A study of Machen’s other writings make it clear that for him “the active obedience of Christ” refers to Christ’s perfect obedience to the Father during his time on earth which is imputed to all believers who trust in him for salvation. This is the righteousness the Father sees when he looks upon those in “the Body” rather than as we are in this temporal state of being declared righteous, but having to live in this in-between state of being sanctified. The Christian’s hope in their stand before the Father is not in how well they do in this process of sanctification, but rather in the finished work of Christ and his perfect obedience which has been imputed to their account. On the other hand, many so-called Christian leaders who are drenched in pragmatism and whose “gospel” is totally “man-centered” reject this as being “passive” as per Rick Warren’s Tweet on September 6th.

@RickWarren

Rick Warren

Imputation is 1sided but fellowship with Christ is 2sided.Koinonia means PARTICIPATION! God want your passion,not passivity

6 Sep via web

Here is the link to the “Tweet” above. Continue reading