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.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Difficulty of True Conversion

(Article for publication week of 12-24-2008 AD)

“Enter ye in at the strait gate…” (Matthew 7:13). We have been considering the doctrine of conversion as illustrated by our Lord here in Matthew chapter 7. The word ‘strait” is an archaic word which means “difficult.” Our Lord is illustrating for us here how that true conversion is indeed a difficult thing.

Contrary to popular opinion, salvation is not an easy thing. We fear that many of our readers are indeed deceived in the matter of their own soul salvation because they have been told that getting saved is an easy thing. By using an illustration comparing true conversion to a “strait” or difficult gate, our Lord is telling us that salvation is a very difficult thing. John Bunyan in his classic “The Pilgrim’s Progress” , teaches this truth by the “wicket gate”. If you have not read it, you ought to. The wicket gate, or the strait gate, is a little gate that is very hard to get through.

How many here in Simpson County are deceived and being deceived by telling themselves and others that getting saved is an easy thing. It is widely believed that salvation is just “saying a prayer.” Now, no sinner is ever saved apart from prayer, but a prayer will not save you, for salvation is in Christ Alone. Many think they were saved by “deciding to accept Jesus.” And then I know a few who dangerously presume that salvation is a matter of just hoping they might be one of God’s elect. How many erroneously think that salvation is very easy.

Now conversion is a very simple thing. It is so simple that a little child can be saved when the Holy Spirit is please to work effectually. Salvation is so simple that people of very small intellect can be saved when the Holy Spirit immediately performs regeneration in their soul. Salvation is simply repenting of your sin and trusting in Christ Alone for your whole and sole righteousness. But see here now. There is a great difference in ease and simplicity. Getting saved is simple, but not easy.

The first thing that makes conversion a difficult thing is that the poor sinner is dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1). The dead can do nothing. Conversion is so difficult that it is indeed impossible without a miracle from the Lord. The one thing needed by those that are dead is LIFE! Unless the Lord is pleased to give spiritual life, no sinner would ever be converted. In John 6:44 our Lord said no man can come to Him except he be drawn of God. We fear that many people we know have been drawn by a preacher who have never been drawn by God.

Another thing that makes conversion difficult is that a poor sinner’s will is averse to God and the things of God. The Lord said in John 5:40 “ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.” Not only is a sinner unable to come to Christ, he is unwilling. And I might put in here that the thing that is so terrible about the sinner’s plight is his stubborn rebellion. Friend, God is not going to send you to hell for your inability, but for your awful and inexcusable rebellion. Unless your will is changed and you are made willing in the “day of (HIS) power (Psalm110:3), you will perish in your sins and be doomed and damned for eternity.

But then as we read on in Matthew 7 we see another difficulty in conversion- there are many false prophets misleading people (see verse 15). There are many false preachers and teachers who are telling people they can be saved without going through the strait gate of conversion. Our Lord warns us to beware of such. Unless a man faithfully and constantly points men to the gate of entrance into salvation, he is a false prophet. Anybody who tells men there is a way of salvation that goes around the Door of Christ is a false prophet. I wish you would read the whole 7th chapter of Matthew and see how the false prophets are right there at the strait gate telling people they don’t have to go through that difficulty to get to heaven. Beware of such my friend, if you value your never dying soul.

Yes , true conversion is difficult. But thanks be to God all things are possible with Him. I pray He may give you grace to get through the gate of conversion and into the narrow way that leads to life.

No comments: