Not Legalism but Christ


by Mike Ratliff

6 τοῦτο γινώσκοντες ὅτι ὁ παλαιὸς ἡμῶν ἄνθρωπος συνεσταυρώθη, ἵνα καταργηθῇ τὸ σῶμα τῆς ἁμαρτίας, τοῦ μηκέτι δουλεύειν ἡμᾶς τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ· 7 ὁ γὰρ ἀποθανὼν δεδικαίωται ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας. 8 εἰ δὲ ἀπεθάνομεν σὺν Χριστῷ, πιστεύομεν ὅτι καὶ συζήσομεν αὐτῷ, 9 εἰδότες ὅτι Χριστὸς ἐγερθεὶς ἐκ νεκρῶν οὐκέτι ἀποθνῄσκει, θάνατος αὐτοῦ οὐκέτι κυριεύει. Romans 6:6-9 (NA28)

6 Knowing this that our old humanity was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. Romans 6:6-9 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

As one who has been accused of being a Pharisee bound to legalism more times than I could ever recount, I was very pleased today when I heard a definition for “legalism” that I had never heard before. This definition of “legalism” states that the “legalist” is one who attempts to make legal and binding what is never addressed to be so by God. For instance, I was taught growing up by my well meaning parents that even to take a sip of an alcoholic drink was a sin. I have read the Bible cover to cover many times and I know for certain that there is no such command in scripture that is even close to that admonition. However, I did find several references to not becoming drunk with wine or strong drink. Our Lord turned water into wine at Cana. He drank wine at the Last Supper. Paul counseled Timothy to take a little wine with his food to help his stomach.  Continue reading

Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?


by Mike Ratliff

17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Mark 10:17 (NKJV) 

The natural man cannot conceive of eternal life coming to anyone who does not “earn” or somehow “deserve” it. Jesus’ teaching set the record straight, but many today still do not regard what He said. Even preachers and religious leaders have bent the truth and twisted it in such a way so as to provide a way for professing believers to have a “work” they could point back to that marks them as having done that one thing that enables them to inherit eternal life. The Kingdom of God is not earned by people who somehow elevate themselves higher than others through their good works or their religiosity. No, our Lord used children as examples whom He referred to this way, “For to such belongs the kingdom of God.” Continue reading

Not Legalism but Law and Gospel


by Mike Ratliff

5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.  (Romans 6:5-9 NASB)

As one who has been accused of being a Pharisee bound to legalism more times than I could ever recount, I was very pleased recently when I discovered a more biblical definition for “legalism” which states that the “legalist” is one who attempts to make legal and binding that which is never addressed to be so by God. For instance, I was taught growing up by my well meaning parents that even to take a sip of an alcoholic drink was a sin. I have read the Bible cover to cover many times and I know for certain that there is no such command in scripture that is even close to that admonition. However, I did find several references to not becoming drunk with wine or strong drink. Our Lord turned water into wine at Cana. He drank wine at the Last Supper. Paul counseled Timothy to take a little wine with his food to help his stomach, et cetera. Continue reading

Only One Gospel Part 9


by Mike Ratliff

3 So also we, when we were children, we had been enslaved under the fundamental principles of the world.  4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under law 5 that he might redeem the ones born under law that we might receive adoption as sons.  (Galatians 4:3-5 Possessing the Treasure New Testament v1)

As I shared in our last post, Only One Gospel Part 8, my own pilgrimage or sojourn from my justification to this stage of my sanctification has not been a smooth upward line on a chart. No, in fact, one of the reasons I think I have such a clear understanding of Romans 7 is that I have lived it especially during those dark periods of those fiery trials that seemed to last forever during the 1990’s right up to through 2009 when my seizure disorder, which had been dormant since 1976 reappeared. However, the main element that comes through all of these “elemental principles of the world” is that even though those of us who are in Christ are indeed saved by grace and are new creations all according to the will of God all by his work, we are still in this temporal state in these bodies of flesh in this lost and dying world that neither knows our Lord nor what true joy is. However, even in the midst of a our tests and trials, we can rejoice in our Lord and be full of the joy of the Lord for we know that God is 100% in control and our time to meet him face to face is fixed and our time in our Lord’s presence will be for eternity. Continue reading