A Biblical View of Sin

by Mike Ratliff

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:1-5 (NASB) 

Those who have a problem with the Doctrine of Original Sin and the Wrath of God against all sin attempt to paint the God of Reformation Theology as some sort of ogre full of anger with very little love manifest except in the case of a chosen few. In their examples of how God operates in saving people, sin is never the issue. They portray God as loving everyone to the maximum and even if their sin amounted open rebellion against Him on their part. In their theology He just looks the other way and attempts to save everyone, but the point of contention is that the God in their example is unable to save anyone. The salvation of people is only made a possibility with those actually being saved being those who hear the Gospel and respond by exercising their sovereign Free Will. On the other hand, the God of the Bible is not anything like this. He is Sovereign. He saves those whom He has elected or chosen unto eternal life. No one limits Him in any way. Man’s will is in no way a barrier to God fulfilling His Will. From these two vastly different understandings of theology comes to very different understandings of sin.  Let’s look at a biblical view of sin and I invite you to compare your own understanding of it to what we unpack here. If your’s is different, I suggest to you that the Bible is not in error…  Continue reading

To Contend For The Faith Delivered Once For All To The Saints

by Mike Ratliff

3 Ἀγαπητοί, πᾶσαν σπουδὴν ποιούμενος γράφειν ὑμῖν περὶ τῆς κοινῆς ἡμῶν σωτηρίας ἀνάγκην ἔσχον γράψαι ὑμῖν παρακαλῶν ἐπαγωνίζεσθαι τῇ ἅπαξ παραδοθείσῃ τοῖς ἁγίοις πίστει. Jude 1:3 (NA28)

3 Beloved, being extremely eager to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you encouraging you to contend for the faith delivered once for all to the saints. Jude 1:3 (translated from the NA28 Greek text) 

Currently there is a very large scandal concerning the new SBC President, Ed Litton. It appears that he has plagiarized  many sermons from J.D. Greear whom he replaced as President. However, as investigators dug into this the “muck” became even uglier. Not only had Litton, been plagiarizing  J.D. Greear’s sermons, he had not developed any of his own sermons for quite some time, but had a team of 8 other men at his church do it for him. Then it goes even deeper. The sermon that Litton was preaching on the video I saw then was compared to the one that J.D. Greear was preaching was compared to a Q & A that Tim Keller gave. Greear obviously stole Keller’s comment, made it look like his own, then Litton or his 8 man team put it in his sermon. What made all that “muck” even more terrible was that the original comment from Keller was in response to a question. The question was, “Does homosexuality cause a person to go to Hell?” Keller’s response was horrible. He replied, “I know that homosexulality does not cause a person to go to Hell because I also know that heterosexuality does not cause a person to go to Heaven.” Yes, he said that. J.D. Greear took that stupid, statement that he obviously liked and preached it as if it was his own then Litton copied him. Many of us are bringing these things out and the backlash is that as we do this we are being too harsh and judgmental as we use the Word of God as the basis for what is truth and upright and the standard for pastors as they handle God’s Word to preach it to their congregations . What these men are doing is not up to Biblical standards. If we do that are we contending for the faith delivered once for all to the saints?  Continue reading

We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

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) 

My dear brethren in Christ, I have been doing so much research and posting lately about the absolute wickedness that is overtaking the visible church in our time that I came to believe that it was time for a bit of encouragement. Yes, that whole Wokeism, CRT, Intersectionality, Social Justice paradigm that is being propagated by the apostates at the elite level of our denominations and seminaries is connected directly to the CRT that has consumed Big Tech and other major corporations in the U.S. and Europe. And, yes, when CRT interfaces with religion as in the SBC and other denominations it is nothing more than a form of paganism. Those behind it are absolute apostates. They may use the same Biblical language and doctrinal terms we use, but they do not mean the same things. Things may look very bad if we look at things from the perspective that is not eternal. However, those of us who are in Christ must fight this battle with eternal, spiritual weapons, not temporal, fleshly weapons. That also means that our focus must be on our Lord and His will all the while lining up what we do and say with Him. How do we start?

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The New Religion and the Need for Resolution

by Mike Ratliff

I have been attempting for last several years to get a handle on the slippery fish of Woke-ism, CRT, Intersectionality, and Social Justice and how those in Christian circles who have “adhered” to those things seemed to be “outside” of Orthodox Christianity. Oh, for a long time they looked and acted like they were Orthodox, but then as CRT became a force in our secular culture these people “changed.” I had been fighting for years a very odd and ugly battle with those liberals behind the Purpose Driven paradigm and the emergent movement, but then as Woke-ism seemed to take over all our seminaries and denominations I began to see things in Christianity here in the U.S. as if we were on a tilting table with all of churches about to fall into an abyss and the church leaders were acting as if everything was normal. I just could not understand why professing Christians could act like that or would even want to. Continue reading

Called as saints

by Mike Ratliff

1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;
7 to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:1-7 (NASB) 

As I have mentioned many times on this blog, I grew up going to church. The churches our family attended as I grew up were all SBC churches. None of them would qualify as “liberal.” Some people might say that they leaned somewhat toward “fundamentalism.” The Gospel was preached but so was repentance as well as exclusion from parts of our culture that was considered “worldly.” In my formative years my hometown had a very large Roman Catholic church and school. Our home was built only a block away from that campus. I had many Roman Catholic friends. We hardly ever discussed religion. But one thing that we could never agree on was the terms “saints” and “sainthood.” These Roman Catholic kids were educated very early that “saints” were men and women who’s lives were exceptionally holy. We weren’t taught that at all. In fact, we would refer to the Apostle Paul as “Paul” for instance while the Roman Catholics would reverently refer to him as Saint Paul. What does the Bible teach us about this?

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Sanctification begins in Regeneration

by Mike Ratliff

13 But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. John 17:13-19 (NASB)

I have read and heard countless arguments about our sanctification. Some say that we are sanctified by our religion. Some say that we are sanctified by God and we have nothing to do with it. Some say that while our Justification is Monergistic (all of God) our Sanctification is Synergistic (us working with God). I used to have fellowship with a very likable young man on Facebook who actually teamed up with me in several debates then something changed. He suddendly dropped out of all of my discussion groups. Then a few weeks later he came back, but he had changed. He had become part of the Hebrews Roots movement. I don’t know all their precepts, but I do know that one of their requirements is that Christians must keep the Law. I contacted my friend about this and referred him to the Apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. It was to no avail. He told me flat out that in the Hebrew Roots movement that the keeping of the Law is the source of their Sanctifcation. I have had no contact with him since. So which is it?

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The cost of taking God’s Grace and Mercy for granted

by Mike Ratliff

1 Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream, and behold, he was standing by the Nile. 2 And lo, from the Nile there came up seven cows, sleek and fat; and they grazed in the marsh grass. 3 Then behold, seven other cows came up after them from the Nile, ugly and gaunt, and they stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. 4 The ugly and gaunt cows ate up the seven sleek and fat cows. Then Pharaoh awoke. 5 He fell asleep and dreamed a second time; and behold, seven ears of grain came up on a single stalk, plump and good. 6 Then behold, seven ears, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up after them. 7 The thin ears swallowed up the seven plump and full ears. Then Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Genesis 41:1-7 (NASB) 

My walk with the Lord since He had mercy on my back in January, 1986 has not been a continual upward climb along the straight path to the celestial hills that are close unto the celestial city. Yes, I have had wonderful times of close, intimate worship and times in the Word, but I have also had times where I have become distracted. I have always regretted the outcome of those times and have, of course, repented. However, I would dearly love to be able to go back to those times and tell myself to get back on track, to not take what I have in Christ for granted. C.H. Spurgeon fully understood this. Continue reading

The Blessed State of the Righteous

In Psalm 112 the prophet praiseth the felicities of those that fear God and condemeth the cursed state of those who contend with God.

Psalm 112
1 Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man, that (a) feareth the Lord, and delighteth greatly in his commandments.
2 His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the righteous shall be blessed.
3 (b) Riches and treasures shall be in his house, and his righteousness endureth forever.
4 Unto the (c) righteous ariseth light in darkness: he is merciful and full of compassion and righteous.
5 A good man is merciful and (d) lendeth, and will measure his affairs by judgment.
6 Surely he shall never be moved: but the righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance.
7 He will not be afraid of evil tidings: for his heart is fixed, and believeth in the Lord.
8 His heart is established: therefore he will not fear, until he see his desire upon his enemies.
9 He hath (e) distributed and given to ye poor: his righteousness remaineth forever: his (f) horn shall be exalted with glory.
10 The wicked shall see it and be angry: he shall gnash with his teeth, and (g) consume away: the desire of the wicked shall perish. (Geneva Bible Psalm 112)

(a) He means that reverent fear which is in the children of God, which causes them to delight only in the word of God.
(b) The godly will have abundance and contentment, because their heart is satisfied in God alone.
(c) The faithful in all their adversities know that all will go well with them for God will be merciful and just.
(d) He shows what the fruit of mercy is, to lend freely and not for gain, and so to measure his doings that he may be able to help where need requires and not to bestow all on himself.
(e) The godly are not stingy, but distribute liberally, as the need of the poor requires and as his power is able.
(f) His power and prosperous estate.
(g) The blessings of God on his children will cause the wicked to die for envy.

The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom

In Psalm 111, the prophet giveth thanks to the Lord for His merciful works toward His Church. He also declareth wherein true wisdom and right knowledge consistith.

Psalm 111
1 Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart in the assembly and Congregation of the just.
2 The works of the Lord are great, and ought to be sought out of all them that love them.
3 His work is beautiful and glorious, and his righteousness endureth forever.
4 He hath made his wonderful works to be had in remembrance: the Lord is merciful and full of compassion.
5 He hath given a portion unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.
6 He hath shewed to his people the power of his works in giving unto them the heritage of the heathen.
7 The works of his hands are truth and judgment: all his statutes are true.
8 They are established forever and ever, and are done in truth and equity.
9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant forever: holy and fearful is his Name.
10 The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord: all they that observe them, have good understanding: his praise endureth forever. – (Geneva Bible Psalm 111)

The prophet declares that he will praise God both privately and openly and from his heart that he has consecrated wholly and only to Him.

He professes that God’s works are sufficient cause wherefore we should praise Him, but chiefly His benefits towards His Church.

God has given to His Church all that was necessary for them and will do still more for His covenant’s sake.

As God promised to take the care of His Church; so in effect does He declare Himself just and true in His government of the same.

They only are wise that fear God, and none have understanding, but those that obey His Words which are His commandments.

The Superiority of Christ and the Cost of Discipleship

by Mike Ratliff

1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. Hebrews 1:1-4 (NASB) 

The Church in the early part of the 21st Century is very sick. This sickness has not happened all at once. Instead, it is the result of centuries of compromise after compromise on the part of Christian leaders and their followers to adapt the Gospel and the Church doctrines to conform to what men want. That process is called “Pragmatism.” As a result, the Church has lost its savor. It is no longer salty. The countries in Europe where the Reformers restored the Gospel at the cost of untold numbers of martyrs would not now be considered Christian at all.

In the United States, the visible Church still has some influence in politics and society, but is that what the Church is supposed to be about? The segment of the American Church that would consider itself evangelical has become so doctrinally shallow that most of the members as well as their leadership have no idea what they really believe. If they are confronted with the Arminain/Semi-Pelagian vs. Calvinism debate they would be clueless about what each side believes and does not believe. In fact, they are so spiritually shallow, they don’t understand why it is important to know what you believe and why you believe it. Continue reading

Fixing our eyes on Jesus

by Mike Ratliff

This is Monday, June 28, 2021. It sure is a Monday. As I got up this morning to take Sunrise photos before doing my morning devotions I found that the dreary rain and dark clouds were still with us. I took a few shots then went back inside. I sat down with my Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning, my Tabletalk magazine, and Greek Word for Today word study devotionals before praying. However, I was in a dark mood that seemed to match the weather. I have issues both with the Department of Safety of Oklahoma and the Social Security Administration. I am having issues with the company I work for. Most of this has to do with me being nearly 70 years old and I am being pressured on one side to retire while on other sides to still act like a full time employee at work providing goals for the next several years. The State of Oklahoma is in no hurry to reissue my driver’s license that expired in April because, hey, everyone’s driver’s license in Oklahoma is expired due to the push to be One Id. I have all this pressure being put on me while at the same time I am working very hard on my retirement IRA and 401K to grow them and protect them so I can retire and have enough to live on for who knows how long. Yes, I was in a pretty dark mood this morning as I sat down to go through these devotionals and pray. However, that didn’t last long. The first one I always start with is my Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning. Continue reading

Compromise and Friendship with with World

by Mike Ratliff

1 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:1-4 (NASB)

One of the first books I placed in my personal Christian library was a gift from a good friend years ago when we were both in the same church where I was a Deacon, Bible Study leader on Sunday mornings and Precept leader on Sunday evenings. The friend who gave me the book was in every Precept class I taught. The book was the first edition of John MacArthur’s book The Gospel According to Jesus. I read the book in just a few days. I honestly was quite shocked about some of the things in it. I suppose I had become ignorant of the downgrade of much of what we call the Visible Church. Continue reading

The Back-Door to Hell

by Mike Ratliff

10 “They will all respond and say to you,
‘Even you have been made weak as we,
You have become like us. Isaiah 14:10 (NASB) 

Part of my morning devotions is to read the morning devotion for the day from Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning. Today’s devotion really got me to thinking about the large numbers of Christian leaders who are going hard after Social Justice in all its forms. I have read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress several times and I must admit that part about the “back way” or “back-door” into Hell has always disturbed me and it should you too.  Continue reading

Is there only one Gospel?

by Mike Ratliff

8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:8-12 (NASB) 

The title of this article may surprise many. The current attack by those whose theology has been corrupted by Woke-ism seem to be all about placing their liberal, Marxist, CRT philosophy up there on par with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ or at least they insist that it is an essential part of it. Their stance is that no one can know everything about the Gospel through the Bible alone, instead, they must also become Woke to be in obedience to God.  Before I was saved I may have bought that argument, but not anymore. Our God is a very precise God who does things His way in His timing and always for His glory. He regenerated me and justified me and is sanctifying me. As I present myself to Him as a living sacrifice daily, holy and acceptable to God, the Holy Spirit transforms me. Oh, and I have also studied the Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. Now, I can see the Woke/CRT/Social Justice nonsense for what it is.  Continue reading