About the Author

Thomas Ray Floyd was born in 1953 in Simpson County, Mississippi, the son of Roy Thomas Floyd and Lina Sue Shows Floyd. Thomas Ray's mother was a member of a Primitive Baptist church, and he cut his teeth on the doctrines of distinguishing grace.

When he was a small boy, his father was converted to Christ and became a member of a Missionary Baptist Church. Thomas Ray joined the church of his father when he was 13 years old, and thought of himself as a Christian. The doctrines of grace that he had heard as a child continued to be precious to him and when he became an adult, he joined a Primitive Baptist Church. When he was 27, Thomas Ray made his first effort to preach the gospel in public and was ordained to the full functions of the ministry in 1985. In 1986 he was convinced under the preaching of Rolfe Barnard (by tapes from Mt. Olive Tape Library), the written sermons of Spurgeon, and the ministry of Elder Zack Guess that he had been a false professor and cried out in agony of soul to the Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy and truly save him. And He did! Floyd then began to preach the gospel as he had been taught of the Lord.

Floyd has pastored churches in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee and until recently was pastor of a church plant known as "Particular Baptist Fellowship." He and his wife Brenda presently attend Zion Baptist Church at Polkville, Mississippi, pastored by Elder Glen Hopkins. The pulpit ministry of Zion Baptist Church can be heard at Sermonaudio.com.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Memory of the Just

(Article for publication week of 4-2-2015 AD)
 
"The memory of the just is blessed" (Proverbs 10:7).
During the month of April we will be observing Confederate Heritage Month here in the Sovereign State of Mississippi, and Confederate Memorial Day will be on Monday April 27. This will be a good time for us to reflect on the Christian significance of the Southern Cause and to honour our ancestors who fought for the Confederacy. Almost all of us who are native born Southerners have ancestors who were soldiers in the Confederate Army. Many of them were wounded and many died fighting in defence of their homes and for States's Rights and Home Rule, and for the Christian Culture of the South. I take delight in honouring my great-great grandfather, Elisha Edwards who belonged to Company D of the 6th Infantry Regiment , A.K.A. the Lowery Rifles, organised in Smith County. Grandpa Edwards took a mini ball in the stomach at Shiloh, but the Lord Spared him from death and he fought for the South until the end of the war. And, of course most all of my kindred from the Floyd, Shows and Maddox lines all fought for their Homeland, and as I say, most all of you who are native born Southerners have ancestors who fought for the Confederacy. The scriptures command us to "give honour to whom honour is due," and God's Law commands us to honour our Fathers and our Mothers. So we do well here in Mississippi to observe Confederate Heritage Month to honour our noble forefathers.
Much could be said concerning the political causes of the War for Southern Independence. (Contrary to the propaganda spewed forth in the government schools, there was never an American "civil" war. A civil war is a war in which two factions are fighting for control of the same government. Our Southern Forefathers were not trying to take over the government of the United States, but they seceded from the United States in the same way as the original thirteen colonies seceded from Great Britain.All our forefathers wanted was to be left alone. As General Lee once said, " all the South has ever wanted is the Old Constitution as bequeathed to us by our Fathers.") But the political reasons for the War are beyond the scope of this article. Our business this week is to point out the Christian significance of the Southern Cause.
Rev. Steve Wilkins, pastor of Audubon Drive Presbyterian Church in Monroe, Louisiana delivered a wonderful series of lectures when he was pastor in Forest, Mississippi, entitled "America- The First 350 years,” in which he shows that the underlying difference between the South and the North in the years leading up to the War were primarily religious. The North was increasingly becoming Arminian and Unitarian, and the South was a bastion of historic, orthodox Calvinism. The North had become secular and industrialised, while the South maintained an agrarian and Biblically based culture. You would do well to obtain a set of Pastor Wilkins' lectures. The striking differences between the North and South is documented by Dr. Robert Louis Dabney in his book, "Defence of Virginia and the South." One of the notable things Dr. Dabney pointed out that in all of the slave holding states in the year 1860 there were less than 2,000 people incarcerated in jails and prisons. On the other hand, in the so-called "free" states there were over 20,000 people incarcerated (there are now more than that in Mississippi alone). The South was a peaceful bastion of Biblical Christianity adhering to principles of Biblical law, while the North had forsaken their Biblical moorings and was becoming secular, barbaric and lawless. Our Forefathers fought to preserve the Old Order where every man dwelt in peace under his own vine and his own fig tree. When you look at the sorry and immoral state of the South in which we live, remember that is what your great-great grandfather fought to try to stop. "The memory of the just is blessed."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sanctification and Justification

(Article for publication week of 3-26- AD 2015)
 
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (homosexuals), nor abusers of themselves with mankind (sodomites), nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-11).
We see from this text the glorious truth that God saves the vilest of sinners. Dear reader, there is no sin so small that it does not deserve eternal damnation, yet there is no sin so great that it will not be forgiven them that repent. Dear reader, though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow by repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
But another thing we see in our text is that justification and sanctification are always found in the same persons. You see, these two glorious doctrines are to be distinguished, but they may never be separated. These saved sinners to whom Paul writes were washed from their sins by the justifying righteousness of Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. And this is true of every sinner that God saves by His sovereign grace.
Now, as I say, justification and sanctification are to be distinguished, but not separated; yet it is vital that they be distinguished. Confusion of justification and sanctification is at the root of much, if not most theological error. Justification is an "act" of God's free grace;  sanctification is a "work" of God's free grace. Justification has to do with a believer's legal standing before God; sanctification has to do with the believer's new nature. Justification is a declaration that God makes concerning the believer; sanctification is a new disposition that God works in him. Justification takes care of a sinner's bad record with God; sanctification takes care of the bad heart within the sinner. Justification is completely objective; sanctification is subjective and experimental. Justification is once for all; sanctification is progressive. Justification is by imputation of Christ's righteousness; sanctification is by impartation of a new nature (there is a great difference between imputation and impartation, but the believer is the object of both, and no one can be saved without both imputed righteousness and imparted holiness).
Augustus Toplady expressed the doctrines of justification and sanctification sublimely and succinctly in the hymn "Rock of Ages" (incidentally the favourite hymn of President Jefferson Davis and General JEB Stuart), thusly: "be of sin the double cure, cleanse me from its guilt and power." There it is- justification cleanses the believing sinner from the guilt of sin, and sanctification cleanses him from the power of sin. Both of these are absolutely necessary for salvation. The poor sinner must be cleansed from both the guilt and power of sin. This God does for those He saves. Dear reader, have you been saved from both the guilt and power of sin?