Who is Responsible for a Believer’s Salvation?


by Mike Ratliff

30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 1 Corinthians 1:30 (ESV) 

There are so many who want to attack the teachings I post with their extra-biblical arguments, which are mostly based in tradition. There are many topics where the numbers of those doing this drop drastically, but when it comes to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and how it relates to what is hot in the visible church “right now” my spam bucket seems to fill up fast.  Continue reading

It is not of yourself


by Mike Ratliff

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB 2020) 

I have learned to never be surprised when I teach a group of believers about our Justification that no matter how mature most of them are, there is still various misunderstandings about it. I used to be surprised, but have come to understand that the famine of solid discipleship has been neglected in our churches for a very long time. Even in those churches that are very solid when it comes to preaching the gospel the emphasis has been heavy on evangelism and light on discipleship. I have heard way too many younger preachers say to their congregations that focus on “doctrine” can cause division so they will just preach the Word. Well, how do you do that? Continue reading

The Lord is the Strength of His People


by Mike Ratliff

8 The LORD is their strength,
And He is a saving defense to His anointed.
9 Save Your people and bless Your inheritance;
Be their shepherd also, and carry them forever. Psalms 28:8-9 (NASB) 

The Genuine Christian walk is actually part of a war. Each believer’s walk is a battle or skirmish in that war. As we see in Ephesians 6:10-20, this war is not specifically against other people. Even if heretics or apostates rant and rave against us or terrorists from some pagan religion threaten our lives, our war is against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. The people who attack us are in some way controlled by these evil forces. Continue reading

God will not Forsake His Saints


by Mike Ratliff

34 Wait for the LORD and keep His way,
And He will exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you will see it. Psalms 37:34 (NASB) 

Several years ago The Discovery Channel released a movie that supposedly showed a grave from an archaeological dig in Israel that contained the bones of Jesus, Mary, and other members of that family. Before people actually saw it the hype certainly caused many interesting responses from people. I remember reading responses that I agreed completely with which were obviously based from the foundation of faith. I mean either we believe God or we believe men. However, I read responses from some professing Christians who were distraught about this “news” as if it would somehow destroy Christianity. I pitied them. Their faith seemed to be based entirely on sight. Now here we are in 2021 and the unbelieving Main Stream Media still does this sort of thing it seems annually. Their goal seems to be an attempt to destroy our faith. Of course, they never get anything right about our Lord Jesus because they don’t know Him because they are ignorant of the Truth. Those professing believers who have angst about these things show that their faith is not genuine by how they react to the lies.  Continue reading

I and the Father Are One


by Mike Ratliff

9 I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; 10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. 12 While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. John 17:9-12 (NASB) 

In this post we will look at the sovereignty of God through the exposition of John 10:22-42. There is much here. In this passage, we not only have our Saviour’s claim of deity and equality with God, but that He also assumed His complete sovereignty over all things. This is why I find it so strange when professing Christians have a mindset similar to that of the Jews of the 1st Century, that what they believed, did, did not do, et cetera, determined everything. I have actually had more than a few fellows tell me plainly that it did not matter how clear I showed them the truth, they did not believe it so that settled it. From that I backed away and like our Lord in Mark 6:6, I marveled at their unbelief.  Continue reading

Those Who Love Jesus Keep His Commandments


by Mike Ratliff

15 Ἐὰν ἀγαπᾶτέ με, τὰς ἐντολὰς τὰς ἐμὰς τηρήσετε· John 14:15 (NA28)

15 “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments;” John 14:15 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In this post we will look at John 14:15-31, which is last part of the dialogue between our Lord and His disciples in the upper room after the Passover Feast just prior to His arrest in the garden on the other side of the Kidron Valley from Jerusalem (John 18). Never forget my brethren, our Lord did not come to bring all people together. His message was one of division. That was what He said. Also, His ministry was to reveal the Father (John 1:14, 18), to bring glory to Him. In this post we will see that our Lord even further defines who are truly His. Continue reading

Providence and God’s Inheritance


by Mike Ratliff

11 Ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἐκληρώθημεν προορισθέντες κατὰ πρόθεσιν τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐνεργοῦντος κατὰ τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ 12 εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης αὐτοῦ τοὺς προηλπικότας ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ. Ephesians 1:11-12 (NA28)

11 In whom also we were made an inheritance, having been predestined according to the plan of the one working all things according to the counsel of His will. 12 For us to be to the praise of His glory, having previously hoped in Christ. Ephesians 1:11-12 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Most modern Bible translations undoubtedly render v11 a bit differently than I did above. The words “we were made an inheritance” translates one verb, ἐκληρώθημεν, which is the Aorist tense, Indicative mood, Passive voice of κληρόω (klēroō), “obtain an inheritance. The passive voice is the key. Paul is saying that Christians are made an inheritance by God for God. One of the great misconceptions of our salvation, which is made by so many, is that it is the result of something we do, but how anyone could believe that after reading Ephesians 1 and 2 is beyond me.  Continue reading

John 3:16 in context


by Mike Ratliff

16 οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλʼ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον. (John 3:16 NA28)

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only son that everyone believing in Him should not perish but have life eternal. (John 3:16 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

The first verse I memorized in Sunday School as a child was John 3:16 from the King James Bible. This must have been sometime around 1956-1957 since I did not learn to read until the 1st grade. My mother even had a plaque made with that verse on it and put it on the wall over my bed. I still have the little white New Testament I got for memorizing the most verses in my class that year. So what? When I look back on my life from that point to the time God had mercy on me in 1986, I am truly amazed that He did at all. Since the time I came to know Christ, I have known much of both of the tender mercies of our Lord as well as His flail of tribulation. My brethren, the school of the cross is the school of light, it discovers the world’s vanity, baseness, and wickedness, and lets us see more of God’s mind. Out of dark affliction comes a spiritual light. With that, let us look at John 3:16-21.  Continue reading

I Am the Good Shepherd


by Mike Ratliff

1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. John 10:1-2 (NASB) 

Just because a person claims to be a Christian does not mean that he or she is Regenerate, Justified, Sanctified, or Adopted into God’s family. Many base their standing as a Christian on religious acts they have done. Others claim salvation based upon their good words plus their religion. Tragically, there are also many, and more each day it seems, “Christian leaders” who preach and teach things that they portray as the Good News, but are, instead, only the result of marketing techniques. Continue reading

The Son of Man is the Good Shepherd


by Mike Ratliff

35 Ἤκουσεν Ἰησοῦς ὅτι ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν ἔξω καὶ εὑρὼν αὐτὸν εἶπεν · σὺ πιστεύεις εἰς τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου; 36 ἀπεκρίθη ἐκεῖνος καὶ εἶπεν· καὶ τίς ἐστιν, κύριε, ἵνα πιστεύσω εἰς αὐτόν; 37 εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· καὶ ἑώρακας αὐτὸν καὶ ὁ λαλῶν μετὰ σοῦ ἐκεῖνός ἐστιν. 38 ὁ δὲ ἔφη· πιστεύω, κύριε· καὶ προσεκύνησεν αὐτῷ.
39 Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς· εἰς κρίμα ἐγὼ εἰς τὸν κόσμον τοῦτον ἦλθον, ἵνα οἱ μὴ βλέποντες βλέπωσιν καὶ οἱ βλέποντες τυφλοὶ γένωνται. John 9:35-39 (NA28)

35 Jesus heard that they threw him out and having found him said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 The man answered and said, “And who is He Sir, that I may believe in Him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen Him and and He is the One speaking with you.” 38 And he said, “I believe Lord.” And he worshiped Him.
39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world that the ones who do not see may see and the ones who see may become blind.” John 9:35-39 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In the Word of God, light is associated God’s way, His truth, what is right, et cetera. Darkness is the antithesis of light in this sense. While those who walk in God’s light walk in His truth, those who walk in darkness, walk in ignorance of His truth and His ways. Those who are of God’s light are growing in the knowledge of Christ while those who walk in darkness continue in their ignorance. In John 1:4-5 , the Apostle John said, “ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων· καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.” Or, “In Him was life and the life was the light of men; and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” Jesus as the “light” brings to the dark world true knowledge, moral purity, and the light that shows the very presence of God. The darkness of this fallen world cannot comprehend, grasp, or overcome the light of our Lord.  Continue reading

The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up


by Mike Ratliff

31 νῦν κρίσις ἐστὶν τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, νῦν ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου ἐκβληθήσεται ἔξω· 32 κἀγὼ ἐὰν ὑψωθῶ ἐκ τῆς γῆς, πάντας ἑλκύσω πρὸς ἐμαυτόν. 33 τοῦτο δὲ ἔλεγεν σημαίνων ποίῳ θανάτῳ ἤμελλεν ἀποθνῄσκειν. John 12:31-33 (NA28)

31 “Now judgment is upon this world. Now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.” 33 And in this saying, He was signifying by what kind of death He was about to die. John 12:31-33 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In this post we will look at the interaction between our Lord Jesus, His disciples, and those following Him during that six-day period leading up to our Lord’s last Passover feast. Of course, we know that He was also crucified just prior to the Sabbath of this week so in these last few days our Lord is done with the confrontational stands against the Jewish religious leaders. Now, He is preparing His disciples for what is coming. They still do not get it. Remember, we look at our Lord’s words of His sovereignty, His deity, and joyful submission to the authority to the Father who, in turn, joyfully gives Him all authority throughout creation because of His obedience. Yes, we see this, but remember, He had not yet gone to the Cross nor had He been resurrected. What is so puzzling to those of us who take God’s good doctrines to heart and defend His Gospel with our all is why there are so many wolves in sheep’s clothing in our time with their huge churches and/or ministries running amuck in the visible church causing, seemingly, much damage. What we must never forget my brethren is that our Lord has all this under control. We must stay the course in our obedience and submission to the Lordship of Christ in all things. Those who are in our Lord’s sheepfold are in no danger of being snatched away. Those falling away into apostasy were never in His sheepfold to begin with. Continue reading

Therefore They Could Not Believe


by Mike Ratliff

35 So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36 While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.”
These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them. 37 But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?” 39 For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40 “HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.” John 12:35-40 (NASB) 

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 9 He said, “Go, and tell this people:
‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
Keep on looking, but do not understand.’
10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.” Isaiah 6:8-10 (NASB) 

God is Sovereign. In John 12:40 the Apostle quoted Isaiah 6:8-10. I placed both passages in context at the top of this post. Notice John 12:39, “For this reason they could not believe” This is the NASB rendering. The NA28 Greek text for this part of v39 is, διὰ τοῦτο οὐκ ἠδύναντο πιστεύειν. Here is my rendering, “Through this they were not able to believe.” The word translated here as “not” is οὐκ (ouk), which is an absolute negative. Therefore what it is defining is absolutely negated and that verb is ἠδύναντο, which is the 3rd person, imperfect tense, indicative mood, middle voice form of δύναμαι (dunamai), which means “to be able, either intrinsically and absolutely, which the ordinary signification; or, for specific reasons.” The third part of this is the word “believe” which is a translation of the verb πιστεύειν the present tense, infinitive mood, active voice form of πιστεύω (pisteuō), “to have faith.” The way this is structured my brethren it is plainly a work of God that these people were not able “to have faith.” Continue reading

The Devil is the Father of Those Who Cannot Bear to Hear Jesus’ Word


by Mike Ratliff

43 διὰ τί τὴν λαλιὰν τὴν ἐμὴν οὐ γινώσκετε; ὅτι οὐ δύνασθε ἀκούειν τὸν λόγον τὸν ἐμόν. 44 ὑμεῖς ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς τοῦ διαβόλου ἐστὲ καὶ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν θέλετε ποιεῖν. ἐκεῖνος ἀνθρωποκτόνος ἦν ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ οὐκ ἔστηκεν, ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν αὐτῷ. ὅταν λαλῇ τὸ ψεῦδος, ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων λαλεῖ, ὅτι ψεύστης ἐστὶν καὶ ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ. John 8:43-44 (NA28)

43 “Why do you not understand what I say? Because you are not able to hear my words. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and the truth is not in him. When he speaks a lie it is from his own character, because he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:43-44 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Christianity, true Christianity, is not about feelings or experiences as “proof” of its veracity. No, read the accounts given to us in the book of Acts and in the rest of the New Testament. It is all about real events that happened that were witnessed by real people. Jesus was a real person who walked and ministered. He was illegally arrested, tried, and executed. However, He was resurrected after three days and nights in the tomb. Real people witnessed all of these things. No one has ever been able to provide evidence to refute any of it. Paul said that Jesus’ resurrection is the key to our hope and if it is not true then our religion is false. The reason we can know that it was true is that we have the proof of eyewitness accounts of it in the Word of God. Therefore, when so called “christian leaders” in our time write books or give interviews or whatever in which they attempt to refute the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, His deity, or the fact of the His resurrection or even they try to simply cast doubt on any of it, we must understand that those we are listening to have a different spiritual father than genuine Christians.  Continue reading

Jesus and the Father are One


by Mike Ratliff

30 ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν. John 10:30 (NA28)

30 “I and the Father are one.” John 10:30 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

I read the following paragraph from one of my devotions the other day, “Visible disunity in the church is the worst it has ever been, but we must take care not to think that God’s people were once fully and visibly united on all matters of Christian living. Christians may have the Holy Spirit, but they are not free from sin in this life, and living in community with other believers always leads to disagreements…” Please notice that I am not writing this in defense of those certain so-called “Christian leaders” who “tweet” unbiblical and misleading things such as, “Spirit-led people can emphasize interpret & things differently. See FOUR Gospels! Your opinion isn’t the only Christian one.” My brethren, yes, there are four Gospels, but they are not four different “Christian opinions” nor are they in any way doctrinally opposed. That devotional that I quoted above went on to say that genuine Christians may indeed differ on many things, but not when it comes to true doctrinal issues such as the deity of Christ, the Gospel, our Lord’s Resurrection, Salvation by Faith through Grace alone, et cetera. As always, we must keep things in context. That passage I quoted above (John 10:30) seems enigmatic to some and I am sure some heretics have abused it, therefore, let us look at John 10:22-42.  Continue reading