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    While I do my best to be accurate and pray that the Lord offers me discernment in my writing, inevitably I will be wrong on some matters. Therefore I implore anyone reading this blog to compare what I say to Holy Scripture. Don't believe me; believe the Bible!
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      “[Life by the Spirit] You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
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Christ, not Legalism

Another enriching post by Mike Ratliff:

The root of most heresies springs from those who profess Christ as Saviour, but who believe in various ways that what the Christian receives at Salvation is not sufficient. Something else must be added in order for the Christian to enter into a fuller relationship with God or to go deeper into the things of God. Some even go so far as to say that unless certain things are added to salvation then it is not complete and, therefore, void. A good example of this is found in the book of Galatians. Some Judiazers had entered the churches Paul and planted in Galatia. They were teaching that salvation was indeed by Christ, but it was not complete unless the converts also were circumcised and kept the Law of Moses.

You can read the rest here.

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Mike Ratliff: Your Sins Are Forgiven

Mike Ratliff writes:

The Reformed doctrine of The Perseverance of the Saints does not teach license to sin. It teaches that God’s grace works in the lives of believers through their sanctification to mortify their sins and keep them from falling away. In fact, it teaches that perseverance is the indicator of Christian genuineness. Those who persevere to the end are the ones who are truly saved. Those who do not were never saved to begin with. There is no being saved, then unsaved, then saved, then unsaved… No, the Word of God teaches us that our sins are forgiven and those sins are cast as far as the East is from the West.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Where does your hope lie?

One of the bloggers I usually follow, Mike Ratliff, writes on the powerful influence of pragmatism in churches today: 

Pragmatism is deadly to New Testament Christianity because it is based on human reasoning and human ingenuity in solving problems or issues. It utilizes expediency in dealing with issues rather than prayer and obedience to what is clearly taught in scripture. The reason expediency is wrong is that its solutions will always be short term in focus while neglecting the long term.

I would like to further note that the driving principle behind this pragmatism is Arminian theology. Arminian theology, in its most basic form, asserts that mankind has the ability to freely choose repentance from sin and faith in God. I could never hope to elaborate so well on this topic, so I will quote a man much more learned that myself. Charles Spurgeon writes of Arminianism in his day:

Nay, the doctrine of justification itself, as preached by an Arminian, is nothing but the doctrine of salvation by works, lifted up; for he always thinks faith is a work of the creature and a condition of his acceptance. It is as false to say that man is saved by faith as a work, as that he is saved by the deeds of the law. We are saved by faith as the gift of God, and as the first token of his eternal favor to us; but it is not faith as our work that saves, otherwise we are saved by works, and not by grace at all. (Bold emphasis mine)

Arminianism as a “doctrine of salvation by works”? Harsh words, for salvation by any other means than faith through Jesus Christ is a damnable heresy.

In most of evangelicalism today, this salvation of works takes the form of decisional regeneration. This theology, teaches that man is saved by his decision to follow Jesus. We see its pernicious influence everywhere – from blogs to altar calls to youth camps.

I’ve linked to this video before, but in the clip below Paul Washer tells us what’s wrong with decisional regeneration. I wanted to post it again because he is spot on.

So what about you?  Does your faith rest in your “decision” to follow Christ or in the covering blood of the Lamb slain for sins? There’s an eternity of difference. One hope is false and leads to death; the other is true and leads to eternal life. Where does your hope lie?

Why We Need to Submit to All Authorities

Over at his blog, Mike Ratliff writes:

God’s ways are not Man’s ways. His ways are far above our ways. In fact, to those with a fleshly focus, His ways are entirely inscrutable. It is saddening to hear so many in the pulpits of churches preach messages, which lead their followers to pursue a self-focused or selfish lifestyle. It is as if they completely ignore all of the teachings in Sacred Scripture that command Christians to be humble and obedient.

Read the rest of the post here.

Possessing the Treasure: Clothe Yourself With Humility

Over at Possessing the Treasure, we read:

William Carey (1761-1834) was a Baptist missionary to India. He was a pastor in England before going to the mission field where he served the Lord for 41 years translating the Scriptures. He never returned to England. When he became ill with the disease that would kill him, he was asked to select the Biblical text to be used at his funeral. He replied, “Oh, I feel that such a poor sinful creature is unworthy to have anything said about him; but if a funeral sermon must be preached, let it be from the words, ‘Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.’”

Possessing the Treasure: Put on the New Self

Mike Ratliff at his blog writes:

Therefore, we must understand that we are being called by God to “put to death therefore what is earthly” in us. Why? These earthly things are the very sins that are the reason the wrath of God is coming. How do we kill these things? “ Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.” … I used to have the concept of sin “reigning” in me as me sort of coexisting with it, however, that is not a true picture of what Paul is telling us in Romans 6:12. No, either it rules us or Christ does. When sin is king over us then we are in idolatry and that always blinds us spiritually.

In what ways do you put to death what is earthly? How do you crucify the flesh in your quest to “put on the new self” (Eph. 4:24) and follow Christ?