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, January 3, 2009

Amazing Grace

(Article for publication week of 1-7-2009 AD)

“Enter ye in at the strait gate…” (Matthew 7:13). We have been declaring the truth of true conversion as the evidence of regeneration, and as illustrated by our Lord in Matthew 7:13. We noted previously that the word “strait” in our Authorised translation is an archaic word that means “difficult.” Our Lord is telling us here that conversion, salvation is a difficult thing. It is a simple thing but it is not an easy thing.

Did God save you in such a way that you are simply amazed that you are saved? To hear and observe most professed Christians in our day you get the impression that nothing very amazing happened to them when they were saved. Or we should say professed to be saved, for the majority of professors of religion in our day, here in our community give little or no evidence of the real thing. And this is one of the ways that many give the lie to their profession- nothing very amazing really happened to them.

You ask most professed Christians today how God saved them and they are likely to answer something along these lines: “well, the preacher gave an invitation and I walked forward and decided to accept Jesus.” Or some others may say, “ I was told four spiritual laws and I followed the directions and now I am saved.” Or perhaps someone told you of three easy steps to salvation. Or perhaps others were told that if they just prayed a certain prayer they would be saved, and they prayed the prayer and now they say they are saved. But dear friends that is nothing like what our Lord says about true conversion. He said true conversion was like getting through a little gate that is very hard to enter.

The way God saves sinners is such that those who are truly saved His way will always be amazed that they are saved. Do you think of your salvation in the terms of the extraordinary, or just something quite ordinary? Do you ever stop and just stand in complete amazement that you are a Christian? If you don’t , then I fear greatly that you are quite deceived in thinking you are saved.

The inspired writer of Hebrews said this in Chapter 2, verse 3, “So GREAT salvation”! There it is, salvation expressed as something truly great, truly extraordinary, something truly amazing. This is the reason John Newton could write such a hymn as “Amazing Grace”, he saw his salvation as something that was nothing less than miraculous. I wonder how many of you sing the hymn “Amazing Grace” , but nothing amazing has ever happened to you. You have always been quite good, maybe not as good as you should have been, but you have never really thought of yourself as a sinner. You joined the church; you got baptized; you were confirmed when you learned your catechism, but nothing has ever happened to you that has been truly extraordinary. You are not really surprised that you are really a Christian, because after all you did what you were told and so everything must be all right.

Well, everything may not be all right. You may have never entered in the strait gate. I beg you to really examine yourself whether you are truly in the faith. It would be far better to admit to the Church and your family and friends that you have lived a lie of false profession than to continue on in your self deception and end up in hell a nice little lost church member. Some of you are probably thinking, “I would look like a fool if I admitted I had been a lost church member.” Some of you may be lost preachers or lost Sunday School teachers. You would really look like a fool if you admitted you have been deceived and have been deceiving others. But you won’t look like a fool when you come to meet God! And that is the most important thing.

I pray that many of you may find out how amazing grace really is. I pray that God will truly save you in that miraculous way that he saves lost and ruined sinners.

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