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.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Practice of Righteousness

(Article for publication week of 4-1-2009 AD)

"If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that everyone that doeth righteousness is born of Him" . (I John 2:29).

For the past three years we have been writing on the New Birth from John 3:1-8. In that passage our Lord told Nicodemus of the Necessity, Mystery and Evidence of the New Birth. Jesus said, "ye must be born again." The New Birth is necessary for salvation, for no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born again. The New Birth is a great mystery that our Lord likens to the movement of the wind. And we may see the evidence of the New Birth for our Lord said, "thou hearest the sound thereof." We have noted in previous articles three vital and indispensable evidences of the New Birth: 1) Faith in Christ (I John 5:1); 2)Repentance (Acts 3:19); and 3) Conversion (I Thessalonians 1:9). These are all evidences of regeneration, not the efficient cause. The New Birth is a sovereign, immediate, irresistible work of the Holy Spirit , not the work of man (John 1:13; John 5:21). It is imperative that we not confuse evidence with cause. But again I emphasize that faith, repentance, and conversion are vital and indispensable evidences. Without these no one has reason to believe they are saved.

This week we come to another vital and indispensable evidence of the New Birth- the practice of righteousness. Our text here in I John 2:29 tells us that if we are born again , righteousness will be the habitual practice of our lives. The person who is born again will be practicing righteousness. Again, I emphasize that we are talking about evidence, not procuring and effecient cause. This is one of the places we must be careful to stay in the narrow limits of God's Word. The truth is very narrow, and we must stay in the narrow way of truth. Works mongers would have it that they may be saved by good works. And antinomians would like to think they may be saved without them. But both of these positions are fatally and eternally wrong.

Some of you have been deluded into thinking you may have heaven without good works. You have been erroneously taught that you will lose your rewards, but still have heaven. But friend, you are not going to lose your rewards, you are going to lose your soul, for you have never been saved, and heaven never was yours. Some of you have been told the only thing you will miss without good works is the "joy of your salvation". But my friend, you are going to lose everything. Some of you have been taught a strange, unscriptural heresy called "time salvation." You have been told you have "eternal salvation" by virtue of Christ's atoning work, and you may earn some optional, conditional "time salvation" by doing good works. But you have not considered seriously Titus 2:14 that says the certain effect of Christ's death is a pure life.

The scriptures clearly teach that good works, the practice of righteousness is absolutely essential to being a Christian. For example Ephesians 2:10 tells us "we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained thatwe should walk in them." Or take Hebrews 5:9, "He became the Author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him." Or consider James 2:20, "faith without works is dead." Or as the Mississppi Baptist Confession of Faith of 1806 puts it in a concise doctrinal statement: "Good works are the fruit of a gracious state and follow after justification."

Be sure you understand that salvation is all of grace without works, but true saving grace inevitably produces good works. Grace is proven by faith, and faith is proven by good works. Dear reader, is righteousness the habitual practice of your life?

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