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, December 26, 2010

Ordained Unto Eternal Life

(Article for publication week of 12-29-2010 AD)

“And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained unto eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).

Ordination unto eternal life is the fountainhead of all spiritual blessings. Note well that our text plainly declares that those who believe the gospel were first ordained unto salvation. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, be sure you are among the elect of God and you were chosen in Christ from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

We see in our text that faith is a result of the saving purpose of God, and not the cause of salvation. Faith is, properly speaking, a fruit of election. God the Father chose His elect people in Christ before He made the world. Christ became the covenant Head of His people and agreed in the covenant of grace to come into the world to save them from their sins (Matthew 1:21). All the sins of all of God’s elect were laid on the blessed Redeemer and He satisfied Divine justice and turned away God’s holy wrath from us. At the set time, the Holy Spirit enters into the heart of every child of grace, regenerating them and giving the gift of faith and enabling them to believe savingly in the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, as many as are ordained unto eternal life will believe in Christ for their salvation.

So we see in our text this week that God has ordained both the end of our salvation and all the means thereunto. In our text Paul and Barnabas were preaching in Antioch Pisidia. God sent them there for He had some of His elect there that must hear the gospel to be saved. The Jews rejected the gospel and thus showed that they were not among the elect of God. However, the Gentiles rejoiced and were glad to hear the good news of salvation and believed to the saving of their souls, proving that they were of God’s elect and ordained to eternal life from before the beginning of time.

What God has joined together we may not separate. God has ordained who will be saved, and He has also ordained the preaching of the gospel as the means to bring salvation to all His chosen ones. It is unbiblical to assume that God will save His elect whether we preach or not. “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (I Corinthians 1:21). The gospel must be preached for God has ordained it as His means of converting His elect people and turning them from darkness to light (Acts 26:18). This is clearly shown in places like II Thessalonians 2:13-14 where we read, “But we are bound to give thanks for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, for God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The true gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ embraces both the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. A supposed gospel that neglects either of these is a truncated “gospel”, and not the whole gospel. May the Lord call out His elect in these parts by the power of His gospel.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Election Known by Calling

(Article for publication week of 12-22-2010 AD)

“Wherefore, the rather brethren give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (II Peter 1:10).

Quite frequently when we have preached the doctrine of election, we have had those who have inquired, “How may I know if I am among the elect of God?” This is a good question, and our text tells us something of how we may have the answer. Our text tells us that assurance is attainable, and that we must give diligence to obtain it. We may have assurance of our election, by making sure of our effectual calling.

Effectual calling is that inward, special and irresistible calling of the Holy Spirit whereby an elect sinner is called out of the darkness of this world into the glorious kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostles spoke of this calling in Acts 2:39 saying, “for the promise is to you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even to as many as the Lord thy God shall call.” Paul spoke of this calling in Romans 8:28 when he wrote, “them who are the called according to His purpose.” Also in I Corinthians 1:26, “not many mighty, not many noble are called.” Again, in II Timothy 1:9, “Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His Own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” The Lord spoke of this calling in John 6:37 when he said, “all that the Father giveth me, shall come to me.”

When the Holy Spirit effectually calls one that was given to Christ in the everlasting covenant, that sinner quits the hateful ways of sin and comes by faith to the Saviour for salvation. Coming to Christ is the same as believing in Christ (John 6:35), so we may safely say to you that if you have repented of your sins and come to Christ as a lost sinner to be saved by His grace alone, you have been effectually called by the Lord. You could not have come to the Saviour except the Lord had drawn you (John 6:44). So if you have come to Christ for salvation it was because He drew you to Himself.

Now if you have been effectually called, be sure you are among the elect of God, for God will certainly call all of His elect to faith in His Son. This is what our Lord is talking about when he says, “all that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” Every elect child of God will be brought to faith and will be saved. And so Peter puts it in our text, ‘make your calling and election sure. Calling is first in the text, not because it precedes election in the order of salvation, but because it is first in our experience and is that which we can make sure of. We are not permitted to look on the Lamb’s Book of Life (the book of God’s eternal decrees) to see if our name was recorded there before the foundation of the world (which it was if we are saved), but we can look by faith on the Lamb who saves His people from their sins.

In a nutshell, we may have assurance through faith. If you believe in Christ for salvation, you are certainly saved and you were chosen in Christ from before the foundation of the world. Make your election sure by believing in Christ.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Making Our Election Sure

(Article for publication week of 12-15-2010 AD)

“Wherefore the rather brethren, give all diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fail” (II Peter 1:10).

The first thing we note about our text is that we can have assurance of our salvation. Many false teachers actually advocate against believers being able to have assurance in grace. The Council of Trent pronounces anathema upon those who preach that a person may have assurance of his personal salvation. On the other end of the spectrum, I actually heard a hyper Calvinist preacher once preach publicly that no one can know if they are elect and thus encouraged his hearers to not worry about it one way or the other. Both of these are wrong according to our text this week. We can make our calling and election sure. Eternity is too long, and our peace of mind too important not to give the proper diligence to being sure that we are saved.

The second thing we note in our text is that diligence is required to obtain assurance. It is widely taught in these parts that if you have ever made a profession of faith, then you need never doubt your salvation. This is also patently false according to our text; diligence must be employed, to enjoy a full assurance of salvation. Besides, the scriptures are clear in places like Matthew 7:21-23 that multitudes are deceived and have never been genuinely converted, though they have a great profession. There are multitudes who joined the church that have never been joined to Christ savingly. There are multitudes who have a profession of Christ, who do not possess Christ and are not possessed of Him. There are multitudes who have been baptized in water by a preacher who have not been baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit. Friends, if you value your never dying souls, give DILIGENCE to make your calling and election sure.

Thirdly, we note the peculiar terms used for salvation. I say peculiar because they are peculiar to most churchgoers today, not because they are absent from the Bible. Even though the doctrines of calling and election are all through the Bible, the majority of preachers have never preached these Bible truths and the majority of church members are completely ignorant that they are in the Bible. Make your calling and election sure is a way of saying, “be sure you are saved.” Salvation is by the electing purpose of God who chose a people for salvation before the foundation of the world. Salvation is by the effectual call of the Holy Spirit, and not just by the general call of the gospel.

Fourthly, we see the method we are to employ. Calling is stated first, for it is by making our calling sure, we thereby make our election sure. No one may look into the Lamb’s Book of Life and see if his name is recorded there, that is one of the secret things of the Lord. But if we have faith in Christ, we may be sure we have been effectually called. The general call of the gospel did not give us the faith that it called us to, but the effectual call of the Holy Spirit working powerfully in regeneration gave us the gift of faith to look to Christ Alone for salvation. I will have more to say on this subject next week (DV), and until then, may He bless all of you.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Few Are Chosen

(Article for publication week of 12-8-2010 AD)

“For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).

The Lord Jesus Christ has commissioned His ministers in every age to preach the gospel to the whole world (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19). All men are commanded to repent (Acts 17:30). There is a genuine invitation preached externally to everyone that the Lord Jesus Christ is able and willing to save the chief of sinners. This is the general call of the gospel. Thus many are called externally and generally. This general call of the gospel leaves sinners without excuse. Every one of you who are reading this article are being called by the general call of the gospel, and if you refuse to repent and believe in Christ, ye shall die in your sins (John 8:24).

However there is another call that is internal, special, and effectual. This call is given by the Holy Spirit Himself and is given only to those that God chose for salvation. So our Lord says in John 6:37, “all that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” While God’s true ministers are calling the whole world to repentance and faith, God’s Holy Spirit enters into the hearts of His elect and effectually calls them to salvation. This is not only an effectual call, but also an irresistible one. Thus few, comparatively are chosen to salvation and effectually called by the Lord.

The general call of the gospel to the whole world and the special call of the Holy Spirit limited to God’s elect may be shown by the following illustration attributed to a black minister of a by gone day. He said, “brethren, you know how when the train is at the station ready to depart for the next station and a great crowd has gathered in town, and then the conductor steps up and says, ‘ all aboard’. Brethren, when the conductor says ‘all aboard’, everybody in town doesn’t get on the train- just the ones with tickets”! I’ve never heard it illustrated better. The conductor’s call is sincere. But not everyone in town is interested in that call, just the ones with tickets. So it is with the preacher’s call to repent and believe in Christ. But not everyone is interested in our message, just those who have come to mourn over their sins and feel the burden of sin and the terror of the law. Only God’s elect, His chosen few are interested in our call and hear it for their salvation.

Does it offend you that only a comparative few are saved? Friend don’t be offended for I have given you the truth of God’s word. I know the popular preachers today will tell you that about everybody is saved, but that is not what the Bible says. “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Now the question for you my friends, and neighbors and kindred is, “are you one of the few?”

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Elect According to the Foreknowledge of God

(Article for publication week of 12-1-2010 AD)

“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: grace unto you , and peace be multiplied” (I Peter 1:2).

The doctrine of election is not an obscure doctrine in the Bible, but is found throughout the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation and is a foundational truth of the gospel. God’s chosen people were known and loved by Him from all eternity. In II Timothy 2: 19 we read, “the Lord knoweth them that are His.” Again , in John 10:27 our Lord said, “my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” The Lord’s knowledge of His people, that is His elect, is not just a knowledge of their existence. The Lord knows about all men, but He knows His people. When the Bible says that the Lord knows His people, it means that God knows His people in the way that a man knows His wife, or in the way a father knows his children. In other words, God loves His people specially, intimately, and savingly.

God loved His people and knew them before He made the world. This is the sense of our text. God’s election of a definite number of the Adamic race unto grace and glory was according to His everlasting love for them. From before the foundation of the world , God marked out a people to be His Own. He set His affections on them from all eternity. Thus we read in Jeremiah 31:3, “yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” Well has the hymn writer expressed it, “‘twas with an everlasting love, that God His Own elect embraced, before He made the worlds above, or earth on her huge columns placed” (hymn #417 Old School Hymnal #11). This is a most comforting and delightful truth for the believer to lay hold on. There never was a time when God did not love the believer! The hymn writer continues, “ believer here thy comfort stands, from first to last salvation’s free. And everlasting love demands an everlasting song from thee”!

Since God’s love for His elect had no beginning it will never have any end. God’s people are eternally secure in the hands of Him Who chose us in His Son from before the foundation of the world. He has made all the arrangements necessary to bring us to grace and glory. Our text goes on to say that God’s elect are sanctified by the Holy Spirit and sprinkled with the cleansing blood of the Son. The Triune God is bound and determined to save the objects of Divine foreknowledge and electing love. This is a little measure of what our text means. May our little column this week be a blessing to God’s elect.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Foreknown and Predestinated

(Article for publication week of 11-17-2010 AD)

“For whom He foreknew, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).

Some who deny the absolute sovereignty of God have tried to explain away predestination by saying that predestination is simply God foreknowing all things. It is amazing what lengths to which some will go to try to deny the sovereignty of God! Man just cannot have it that God is sovereign instead of himself!

All Bible believers will acknowledge the foreknowledge of God. That God is omniscient is a truth that no one can deny. In Acts 15:18 we read, “known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.” The reason God foreknows all things is that he has predestinated all things. If God foreknows all His works, it is apparent that he foreknows them because he had already decreed them. To acknowledge the foreknowledge of God is to acknowledge also His predestination. Since God foreknows all things, it follows that what He foreknows is certain to occur. Now if a thing is certain, then what is it that makes it certain? It is either certain because man wills it, or because God wills it. No reasonable person could have it that anything is certain because of the will of man. Even an unbeliever knows that man cannot ordain anything with absolute certainty. Only God has that kind of power. So why argue against predestination? If you believe in an omniscient God, you must also believe in an absolutely sovereign God Who has decreed all things from before the foundation of the world.

Now the wonderful thing about our text this week is the particular foreknowledge and predestination which is under consideration here. “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image” of Christ. The word “for” indicates that verse 29 is an explanation of verse 28 where we read “we know that all things work together to good for them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose”, and then follows our text explaining it. God is working all things for good to them who love Him. And those who love Him have Him have been called according to His purpose. And these were foreknown and predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ.

The reason that any sinner ever comes to love God is because God’s saving purpose has been set upon that sinner from all eternity and the Sovereign Lord has decreed the end of His purpose is that His elect people would be restored to the image of Christ. Man was made to be the image bearer of God, and that image was shattered when we fell in Adam. God’s sovereign grace restores elect sinners to be image bearers of God’s Son. Through the justifying righteousness of Christ, God’s elect people have a good record before God. Through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, God’s elect have a new nature that is now being conformed to the image of Christ. Finally, God will glorify all those He foreknew and predestinated to be like His Son for eternity. The final happiness of God’s people rests not on their own fickle will, but on the sovereign purpose of God Who has decreed salvation as an absolute certainty.

If you love God and believe in His Son, it is because God foreknew you and predestinated you to be saved. Such a wonderful God ought to be loved and worshipped.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Predestinated According to God’s Purpose

(Article for publication week of 11-10-2010 AD)

“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the counsel of His Own will” (Ephesians 1:11). According to this text there is no limit to God’s predestination. God has absolutely predestinated all things.

The absolute predestination of all things is easily shown by the scriptures. Our text this week says that God works all things (all things without exception) after His Own counsel (or purpose). The end that God has in view is that His elect people should obtain an inheritance. God’s elect have an inheritance reserved in heaven (I Peter 1:4), and they are joint heirs with their Elder Brother, Christ (Romans 8:17). Note well that our text here in Ephesians 1:11 speaks of God’s people as having obtained (past tense) an inheritance. The reason it is in the past tense is that since God has foreordained our inheritance, it is as good as done! It cannot fail for God has predestinated it. Some other passages that plainly show God’s absolute predestination of all things are Isaiah 46:9-11; Daniel 4:35; Romans 8:28-30; Psalm 115:3; Isaiah 45:3; Acts 2:23; Acts 4:28; and Ephesians 3:11. I urge you to go read these passages and see if they do not show the absolute sovereignty of God.

Now I am going to ask you to think with me a little and reason from the scriptures. If God has an elect people, (and He certainly does, as we have well shown in our last several articles), is it not true that they were foreordained to be born? Is it not reasonable, in light of the scriptures, that God predestinated that each of His elect people would be conceived and born? Now think a little more with me: if God predestinated the final end of His elect (their eternal inheritance), and their natural lives, did He not also predestinate the conception and life of each of their ancestors. It took all of our ancestors all the way back to Adam and Eve to get each of us here as the unique individuals that each of us are. That should be plain from scriptural truth. Now if God predestinated the natural lives of His people and their natural ancestors, is it not plain and clear that he predestinated the birth and life of every one who has ever lived. In other words, there is not a misplaced atom, or misplaced atomic particle in the universe, for everything is exactly where God has ordained that it should be.

This is a little of what is conveyed in my text this week. God works all things after the counsel of His Own will. God has left no small detail to chance. He has decreed from all eternity all things whatsoever comes to pass by an unalterable, and immutable decree. That is what it means for Him to be God!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Predestinated to Sonship

(Article for publication week of 11-3-2010 AD)

“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will “ (Ephesians 1:5).

For several weeks now we have been writing on the doctrine of God’s sovereignty. This is part of a longer series that we are in, on the attributes of God. I have felt compelled to spend awhile on the sovereignty of God, for it is one of the most neglected doctrines in our day. Sadly, most professing Christians, including the preachers, appear to believe in the sovereignty of man, rather than the sovereignty of God. The Lord knoweth whether such are truly saved. We can only hope and expend the effort to teach the truth.

When we say “the sovereignty of God”, we simply mean that God is God. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. Since He is all-powerful, He has the power to do whatever pleases Himself, and He does exactly that, and man cannot hinder His will. Our text says that God is a God of predestination. No study of the doctrine of God’s sovereignty would be complete without bringing in the doctrine of predestination.

God has predestinated from all eternity everyone that He was pleased to save. The number of God’s elect is so certain that it cannot be diminished or increased. If this is not true, then the scriptures would be meaningless. The word predestinate means to predetermine or foreordain with an unchangeable purpose (Webster’s 1828 dictionary). The Greek word translated “predestinate” in our text here is “proorizo” and it means “to limit in advance”, or to “predetermine”. It is translated in other scriptures “determine before”, and “ordain.” Now friend, you cannot make anything of this except that God has absolutely decreed from all eternity by an unalterable and unchangeable decree who would be His children and enjoy the blessing of salvation.

Notice further that that this was done by God “according to the good pleasure of His will”, not according to the good pleasure of man’s free will. My text strikes a deathblow to the heresy of “free will.” Predestination rules out man’s free will. God does not consult with you and me concerning His purposes, if He did that would make us sovereign instead of God, for the sovereign is the one who has the last word. God has the last word, not man.

Now notice what God predestinated- that we, that is His elect chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (as we saw in Ephesians one verse four), would be His children. We who believe in Christ were predestinated to sonship. That is the reason we are sons of God, and that is the reason we believe, and that is the reason we are saved. Salvation is the operation of the Sovereign Lord Who has predestinated many sons to eternal glory. See how wonderful predestination is?! It means we who are saved are in the family of God! As the hymn writer says, “Sons we are through God’s election, who in Jesus Christ believe; By eternal destination, saving grace we now receive”(Gadsby’s hymnal # 69).

May the Lord bless you all, my brethren, friends, and relations.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chosen in Christ

(Article for publication week of 10-27-2010 AD)

"According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love;” (Ephesians 1:4).

What a rich and delightful text we have before us this week! The very first thing we notice is that it was God Who chose us, not that we chose Him.

Secondly, we notice that God chose His people in His Son. There is an eternal election union between Christ and His people that can never be broken. This eternal election union is made vital when the elect sinner is regenerated (II Corinthians 5:17). By virtue of this union, the believer has all covenant blessings. Christ is the Head of His body; He is the vine and His people are the branches.

Thirdly, we note the time of our election in Christ. Properly speaking, it was before time, for it was before the foundation of the world. There was a time (again, properly speaking before time) when there were none in God's universe but Himself. Before God created the angelic host, the material universe, and man, He in His glorious Triunity inhabited eternity. The great I AM chose an innumerable seed in election union with His Son before the beginning of time. It was an eternal, and sovereign act of God that marked out a people for Himself. I am thrilled to set this truth before you and I hope you are able to rejoice in it.

Fourthly, our text tells us the end that God had in view in election, that is that His people should be "holy and without blame before Him." I shall take these in reverse order, and consider first that God chose His people in Christ before the foundation of the world that they should be without blame. That is that they should be declared just in His holy Sight through the merits of their covenant Head, the Lord Jesus Christ with Whom they have eternal union. The elect of God have Christ as their whole and sole righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6), so that legally they stand before God as if they had never sinned and as if they had perfectly obeyed the law of God. This is because Christ is their surety and has stood good for all their obligations to God.

The second great end for which God chose His people in Christ was that they should be holy. God's people have a positional holiness by virtue of eternal election and eternal union with Christ (Hebrews 10:14; I Corinthians 1:30). And in due time God imparts a holy nature to His people when they are born again (I Peter 2:9). When a man is made a new creature in Christ, old things pass away, and all things become new. If a man is not a holy man, he has no reason to think he is one of God's elect, for the great end of election was that we should be sanctified as well as justified.

Thank the Lord for sovereign, eternal election!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Blessed Man

(Article for publication week of 10-20-2010 AD)

“Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest, and causest to approach unto Thee…” (Psalm 65:4a).

The greatest of all blessings is the blessing of salvation. Nothing in this present world is even close to the blessing of eternal salvation. Everything in this world shall have its end, but salvation is forever. Truly you are blessed if you have been saved.

Our text this week traces the blessing of salvation all the way back into eternity past. “Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest.” Our text tells us that it was God Who chose us for salvation, not the other way around. Before the foundation of the world, God chose, or elected an innumerable, but definite number of the human race for salvation. This is wonderful, for if the Lord had not chosen us we would never have chosen Him! If you are saved, it is because God chose you for the blessing of salvation. As the hymn writer expressed it, “My Lord I did not choose you, for that could never be. My heart would still refuse you, had you not chosen me”! (The Baptist Hymnal , #289). Sovereign election secured salvation , and nothing can alter the sovereign plan and purpose of Jehovah. Election is the first great blessing of which our text speaks.

The second great blessing we have here is the blessing of effectual calling. Blessed is the man that Jehovah “causest to approach unto” Himself. Election is a blessing pronounced upon the elect sinner before he even had an existence. Effectual calling is a blessing that the elect sinner has in this life. All that God chose in Christ before the foundation of the world, He calls them effectually by His grace , so that they actually experience this great salvation. Unless the Lord causes a person to come to Him, that person will not (John 5:40), nor cannot (John 6:44) come unto Him. The elect sinner (like reprobate sinners), is dead in sins until quickened into spiritual life by the Lord (Ephesians 2:1). When the Lord sends His Spirit from above into the heart of an elect sinner, that sinner is made sensible of his sins and begins to mourn and repent of his sins. God brings that poor sinner to the end of his way that he might see that he is an unclean thing and no good thing is in himself. Then God graciously shows that sinner that salvation is in Christ, and gives that sinner faith to come to the dear Saviour. Thus the elect sinner, who was chosen to salvation from all eternity, is caused by the Lord to approach unto Himself.

Now I ask you dear reader, “Are you a believer in the dear Saviour? Have you been brought to the end of yourself? Are you trusting in Christ Alone?” If I speak of your experience, you are the blessed man in my text. You would not, nor could not have come to Christ except the Lord drew you on. And if the Lord caused you to approach unto Himself, it is because He purposed to save you before you were born, yea even before the foundation of the world. Blessed is the man chosen for salvation and called by the effectual call of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Sovereignty of God in Hardening Sinners’ Hearts

(Article for publication week of 10-13-2010 AD)

“Therefore hath he mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will, He hardeneth” (Romans 9:18).

One of the most solemn facts that we face in all of scripture is that God is not going to save everyone. God has mercy on whom He is pleased to have mercy, and the rest he rejects and hardens their hearts. The previous verse gives as a stark illustration, Pharaoh of whom God said in Exodus 7:3, “ I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.”

The first and most obvious way that God hardens sinners’ hearts is by leaving them alone. This is a dreadful truth that God leaves some sinners alone. God gives to His elect people new hearts. He takes away their heart of stone and gives them an heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). With a new heart, an elect sinner is able to repent of his sins and believe in Christ. When God takes away the heart of stone and gives an heart of flesh, that sinner is able to believe the precious gospel of Christ and understand spiritual realities. But the unregenerate, hard hearted, lost sinner cares not for the things of Christ and is unable to see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). God is not obligated to give anyone a new heart. He is perfectly just in leaving sinners just as they are with a hard, unregenerate heart. It is all of His mercy that he gives any a new heart. So God hardens the reprobate’s heart by leaving him alone. And this is what you who are unconverted want; you want God to leave you alone. And so He does.

Another way God hardens sinners’ hearts is by removing providential restraints. How often we see this when children from Christian homes grow up and get on their own. Under the influence of Godly parents they were kept from much gross sins and perhaps even influenced to make a profession of faith. But then get away from home and the restraints are removed and they prove they were reprobate after all. It is a frightful thing for God to remove His restraints and let you go in the sin that you love and crave.

Also God hardens sinners’ hearts by blinding their eyes to the truth. That is right- you read right, God blinds some so they cannot see the truth. Jesus said in Matthew 11:25, “I thank Thee O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” Romans 11:7 says, “the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” Again there is no injustice with God in blinding reprobates, for they do not desire the Lord and His salvation anyway. God does you no wrong if He hides from you what you don’t want anyway.

Finally, God hardens hearts by causing the gospel to be a savour of death unto them (II Corinthians 2:16). The same gospel that softens the elect of God, hardens those that God leaves as they are. This is easily illustrated. The same sun that melts butter hardens clay. So it is with the Son of Righteousness Who arises with healing in His wings. When he arises on His children it softens them. But those that God has ordained to condemnation are hardened by the precious truth of Christ.

Poor sinner, your only hope is if God takes away your hard heart and gives you a new heart of flesh. It would be an awful thing if God left you alone and hardened your heart to your eternal damnation.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

God's Sovereign Restraint of Sin

(Article for publication week of 10-6-2010 AD)

"Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath Thou shalt restrain" (Psalm 76:10).

We saw last week how that God ordains the sinful actions of men to work for His eternal praise, yet He is not the author, nor the approver of sin. We saw that most clearly in the crucifixion of Christ (Acts 2:23; 4:28), and the betrayal of Joseph (Genesis 50:20). God Who is the First Great Cause, causes all things to work for His glory and His people's good.

Our text this week says that God permits sin for His praise, and restrains the rest. Thank God that He is pleased to restrain sin! The world is under the curse of sin caused by the Fall. Yet, it is still a bearable place to live because God restrains sin. Men would sin much more were it not for God's restraint of sin.

One way that God restrains sin is by His good Providence. God is pleased in His Providence to situate many in families where there is discipline. To have Christian parents is a wonderful blessing from the Lord, for in such a good situation we are restrained from much evil. Even to have moral parents that are not believers is a blessing for moral unsaved parents will still restrain their children.

Another way God restrains sin is by blessing states with wholesome laws. When a commonwealth has laws that are based on God's Law, there will be much happiness in the land. When commonwealths punish murderers and require thieves to restore, it restrains much evil. When a commonwealth rewards the institution of marriage by denying divorce except for Biblical cause, it is a blessing. When a state punishes perversion, it is a blessing to the people. And when the commonwealth holds high regard for the Lord's Day, it is a great blessing. When our part of the world was the Bible Belt (it no longer is), the people were greatly blessed. It appears that God is loosening His restraint of sin in our part of the world, and that is a fearful thing.

God also restrains sin by direct intervention. In Genesis 20 we see a vivid example of this. Abraham had gone to sojourn in Gerar. In the providence of God, Sarah his wife was taken to the harem of King Abimilech. However God kept the man from violating her chastity. Verse 6 says that God "withheld" Abimilech from sinning. This is a wonderful thing, that God prevented this powerful man from touching Sarah!

But the most wonderful way that God restrains sin is by regeneration. When the Lord is pleased to quicken one who is dead in sin into spiritual life He gives that person a new nature that hates sin and loves holiness. "The grace of God that bringeth salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world " (Titus 2:11-12).

But the most dreadful way that God restrains the wrath of man is when He shuts up sinners in the prison of hell. (I shudder to write it!) Dying sinner, you are presently restrained by law and God's providence from going as far into sin as you could. But unless God begins to restrain you now by regeneration, He will send you to hell forever and ever where you can't hurt the Lord's people anymore and where you can't be a menace to God's order. Hell is spoken of as a prison and a place where sinners are bound with chains. Unless God has mercy on you, you will be chained up in hell. May He have mercy on some of you this day.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Reply to a Papist Concerning Christ Being the Bread of Life, Wherein is Shown the True Meaning of John 6:48-53, Also Showing the Repulsive Teaching of Transubstantiation to be False

Dear Sir:

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I have not forgotten you, though I have not replied to your rantings in several days. Be sure I have prayed for you much that God would enlighten your benighted mind to receive the truth, for except the Lord regenerate you, you cannot believe though one arose from the dead. I pray not only for you, but also for all deluded by the superstitions advocated by Rome. I am thankful that you are reading our little articles in the Narrow Way, though you appear to read only to rail against the gospel and pick a fight. What you mean for evil, the Lord may mean for good. So we encourage you to continue to read.

As I have pointed out in earlier replies, better men than I have answered all the false claims of Rome with such skill that any with a spiritual mind can see the soul damning errors still advocated by the pope. The fact that otherwise intelligent people still hold to these repulsive doctrines shows the hardness of the human heart and the blindness of the unregenerate mind. Popery is a testimony to the truth of total depravity. You and your blind guides continue to hold stubbornly to ridiculous lies though the scriptures plainly indict you, and the Lord has sent multitudes of faithful men to you to show you of your errors. But as the Lord plainly said in the chapter we are about to consider, “no man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” You and all other deluded papists, including the pope himself are hopeless and helpless except the Lord is pleased to regenerate you. But since we know that God’s grace is amazing indeed, I will give you the truth, praying that the Lord may use my small efforts. Though, as I say better men than I have answered all these errors, the Lord in His good and wise providence has brought you to me by means of electronic mail that you may hear the truth. Eternity will declare whether my words shall be savour of life or of death.

In the passage you so wrongly interpret (John 6:48-53) our Lord calls Himself the Bread of Life that gives life to those who eat. The true sense of our Lord’s words is clearly and easily understood by the context in which they were stated. In the beginning of the chapter our Lord performed a notable miracle of feeding the multitude with a few fishes and loaves. Most of this multitude proved themselves to be unregenerate persons for they sought more of natural bread, rather than Christ Himself. And this is the way with unregenerate souls. They are interested in everything but Christ Himself. They can be satisfied with the things of this world, which are all perishing, but they are not satisfied with Christ. Christ warns such in verse 27, “labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.” This verse shows us that Christ is not talking about literal, natural, physical bread in this chapter when He calls Himself the bread of Life. It is clear that our Lord has a spiritual lesson here. As he says in verse 63, “it is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing."                                                                                                                                                      
In verse 35 our Lord says, “I am the bread of life, he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” Thus we see that coming to Christ and believing on Christ is the same thing. (Or as some would say, coming to Christ is one of the principle acts of faith.) In verse 37 our Lord says, “all that the father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” All of God’s elect, who were given to Christ in the everlasting covenant before the foundation of the world, shall be given the gift of faith and shall believe in Christ to the saving of their souls. As it says in Acts 13:48, “as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Thus we see that coming to the bread of life is the same thing as eating the Bread of life as spoken of as he continues His discourse with the Jews. It is clear that our Lord means by eating His flesh and drinking His blood, believing in Him.

In verse 54 where the Lord says “whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life” is a synonymous statement with John 5:24 where we read, “he that heareth my word and believeth on Him that sent me hath everlasting life.” Please note well that the text in John 5:24 says hath everlasting life. The believer is already in possession of everlasting life. The same is true in John 6:54, "whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life." We do not receive life by believing in Christ (symbolized by eating His flesh and drinking His blood), but rather believing in Christ is the result of God regenerating us (see John 1:13). Eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ is the same as believing on Christ. Let us see how.

Believing on Christ is the act of faith, the same as receiving Christ. So our Lord says in John 1:12, “but as many as received Him gave He power to become the sons of God, even them which believe on His name.” Also in Colossians 1:6, “as ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.” Eating well illustrates the act of faith, for in eating natural bread, we receive it into our bodies. So believing in Christ, a poor sinner receives Him into his soul. So you see our Lord is illustrating the act of faith by eating.

But not only is the act of faith illustrated by eating and drinking, but the Object of our faith is well illustrated in the passage under consideration. Note well our Lord speaks of His flesh and His blood as being separate. Thus our Lord declares Himself the Object of saving faith as one whose blood was separated from His flesh. He died for our sins. His blood was poured out for our cleansing and for our salvation.

Also this is an apt illustration of the sufficiency of our Lord’s atonement. By using the term bread, our Lord speaks of that which is sufficient for us naturally. So Christ is sufficient for our salvation. This passage most forcefully declares that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ Alone. These are three ways of saying the same thing. Christ Alone saves His people. As it says in Hebrews 1:3, “when he had by Himself purged our sins.” The atonement made by Christ is sufficient for our salvation. Rites and rituals will add nothing to the finished work of Christ. Our good works and our religion will add nothing to what Christ has done. Christ Alone could redeem. If good works would save, there would have been no point in the Father putting His Son to grief. Christ has fought the battle and won. The angel said in Matthew 1:21, “He shall save His people from their sin", and He did! Also we read in Hebrews 10:14, “by ONE offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” This is the reason the so-called “mass” is blasphemy, for they who claim to perform it claim that Christ is offered again. What heresy! What blasphemy! What a lie out of the pit of hell! Christ will never have to be offered again for He finished the work He came to do. As bread is sufficient for natural life, so Christ is sufficient for spiritual life.

Thus we see the true meaning of John 6:48-53. Christ illustrates saving faith in Himself by eating and drinking Hid blood.

That our Lord was not speaking here of the Lord’s Supper is also easily shown by these facts:

First, the Lord’s Supper was not yet instituted when our Lord spake these words. Our Lord was speaking of something here that His people were at that time able to do. He speaks here of Himself metaphorically as the Bread of Life which at that present time His people were enjoying.

Secondly, our Lord speaks here of something in which all of His people are able to participate. The dying thief never received the elements of bread and wine as a remembrance of our Lord, but he had eternal life and is in heaven with Christ right now. Multitudes of the Lord’s people have been unable to come to the Lord’s Table because of banishment and imprisonment. The Apostle Paul himself died in prison and was not able to be with the church for the ordinance the last part of his life, but he is with Christ now. Many of the Lord’s people have been physically and mentally unable to receive the ordinance for long periods of time, but they still had eternal life.

Thirdly, this passage cannot refer to the Lord’s Supper for many receive the outward elements who have not the inward reality and therefore are not saved. Those who receive the supper unworthily are guilty of the Lord’s blood and body and are not saved (I Corinthians 11:29).

Fourthly, if this passage refers to the Lord’s Supper it proves more than the pope will allow, for our Lord says that they who eat His flesh and drink His blood have eternal life. This passage teaches the final perseverance of the saints, something the pope will not have, for he still pronounces anathema (in the Council of Trent) on us who hold this scriptural truth. Now, believers have eternal life and cannot lose their salvation. Thus we see that those who truly eat the flesh of Christ and truly drink His blood by believing on Him have eternal life and cannot fall finally away.

Fifthly, if this passage refers to the Lord’s Supper then it puts all papists except for the priests in hell, for only the priests eat the bread and drink the wine. The people only eat the bread for the cup is withheld from the people, therefore the people do not drink His blood and cannot abide in Christ!

Having proven the true meaning of John 6:48-53, and shown that the Lord’s Supper is not under consideration in the passage, I shall now show you how repulsive is the heresy of transubstantiation. The papists appeal to the words of our Lord, “this is my body” as being literal. That our Lord speaks not literally is easily shown by His words following in (for example) Luke 22:20, “this cup is the new testament in my blood.” Anyone with enough sense to lick a postage stamp can see that our Lord by saying “the cup”, He meant what was in the cup. So it is apparent that our Lord was speaking of His body and blood represented by the elements of bread and wine.

The very idea that Christ would have us become cannibals is repulsive to anyone who believes the Bible. The very idea that anyone could be so stupid as to miss the plain sense of our Lord’s words “remember me” and to think He meant for us to become cannibals! Yet you Romanists are so blinded in ignorance that you have killed thousands who refused to confess this abominable lie. Herein we see the difference in the true Church and the Roman cult. If you are stupid enough and superstitious enough to believe that your “priest” is a magician who can change bread and wine into the flesh and blood of Christ, we will not try to kill you for it. We will plead with you and show you the scriptures, but we are not trying to be lords of your consciences. If you reject the gospel for superstition, we are grieved for you, but we will not try to kill you. But you are so blinded in your false zeal as to use the stake and the rack to torture people into confessing what they know is a lie. The gospel does not need torture to support it. The truth accompanied by the Holy Spirit is sufficient. We have a holy zeal for your salvation, but a holy contentment that God has not purposed to save everybody and that He hides the truth from the wise and prudent.

Christ is spiritually present with His people (Matthew 18:20; John 14:16-17), but He is bodily seated on His rightful throne in heaven. The scriptures do not insinuate, must less directly say that a so-called “priest” can chant hocus-pocus and bring part of the Lord’s body down from heaven or create more of His flesh and blood for us to cannibalize.

But the most repulsive thing is the teaching that the Roman ‘priest” sacrifices the body and blood again in the “mass”. As we have shown from Hebrews 10:14 our Lord was ONCE offered. (By the way I know of a former Romish priest who was converted by that very text. I pray the Lord may use it to save many more papists.) Hebrews 9:28 says Christ was ONCE offered. What is there about “once” the pope does not understand?!

May the Lord have mercy on you. I have given you the truth. If you reject it, you do so the peril of your soul. Repent of your superstition and come to Christ. You have His word that He will not cast you out.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Sovereignty of God and Sin

(Article for publication week of 9-29-2010 AD)

“…the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were gathered together, For to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done” (Acts 4:27-28).

Since God is absolutely Sovereign, and has decreed from all eternity whatsoever comes to pass, this would of course include the sinful actions of men. However, since man is responsible for his sins, God is not the author, nor the approver of sin. The sovereignty of God and sin is shown beautifully in our text this week where we read plainly that the Crucifixion was ordained of God, and performed by wicked men. The same truth is declared in Acts 2:23: “Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Christ was put to death because He was appointed from all eternity to be a sin bearer for His people. Without the death of Christ, none could ever be saved, because it was by His death that His peoples’ sins were atoned. The perpetrators and participants in the crucifixion of our Lord were doing what God ordained, but it was by their own hands that they committed the worst crime in human history. As we have shown in previous articles, man is absolutely responsible for his actions, although God is absolutely sovereign in the affairs of men. These two passages in the Book of Acts indisputably show that God has ordained all the actions of men, but is not the author of sin.

If this is true as regards the Greatest Event in human history, it should be evident in all lesser matters. For an example of a lesser matter ordained of God and carried out by sinful men is the example of Joseph recorded for us in Genesis 37-50. You remember how Joseph’s brothers were moved by envy to sell him into slavery to the Ishmaelite traders. You remember how Joseph was carried into Egypt and became the slave of a man named Potiphar. He was falsely accused and sent to prison for two years. In the all-wise providence of God, Joseph became the prime minister of Pharaoh and was put in charge of the agricultural system and the food supply of Egypt. As a result of Joseph’s wisdom and planning, as he was directed of God, there was plenty of food in Egypt when God sent a great famine into the mid east region of the world. Joseph’s brothers had to come to him and bow before him in order to get food. Finally all of Joseph’s family moved to the land of Egypt. When Jacob died, the brothers feared that Joseph would take vengeance for their sins against him. Joseph told them in Genesis 50:20, “ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good.”

We see in these two notable examples that God leaves sinners to themselves to carry out His foreordained will. As it says in Psalm 76:10, “ the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath Thou shalt restrain.” Men would sin even more than they do if God did not restrain them. Yet God is pleased to make man’s sins praise Him as in the crucifixion of Christ and the evil treatment of Joseph. What men mean for evil, God means for good. God means in all things to get glory to Himself, to bring eternal good to His people, and to advance His kingdom of grace. In His sovereignty and wisdom, He uses the sinful actions of men to accomplish these great ends. Glory to be to our great God Who hath done all things well.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Sovereignty of God and the Responsibility of Man

(Article for publication week of 9-22-2010 AD)

“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and unto our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

Charles Spurgeon was once asked, “how do you reconcile the sovereignty of God with the responsibility of man?” Mr. Spurgeon replied, “I don’t have to reconcile friends!” This was a wise and scriptural reply for the sovereignty of God and human responsibility are not opposed to one another. Our little puny brains may not be able to fully comprehend how God has foreordained everything that comes to pass, and yet holds us responsible for all our actions, yet we believe both truths for they are clearly laid down side by side in scripture.

This is easily proven in nature. God has promised that as long as the earth shall stand there shall be seed time and harvest (Genesis 8:22). God has foreordained that there shall be planting and reaping. Yet there will be no harvest except we plant and cultivate. God has ordained that His people shall be fed and clothed (Luke 12:22-30). The means by which He accomplishes this is by our productive labour. It is clearly revealed in God’s word that if any will not work, “neither should he eat” (II Thessalonians 3:10).

It is also true in the spiritual realm that God is sovereign and that you are absolutely responsible. God has ordained who would be saved and elected them in His Son from all eternity and predestinated them to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29-30). This is among the “secret things of God.” God has not shown us the contents of the Lamb’s Book of life wherein was recorded from all eternity the names of all God’s elect. But He has commanded all men everywhere to repent. My friend you are responsible for your sins and God commands you to repent. You will not obtain salvation except you repent (Luke 13:5). On the Day of Judgment no one will be able to protest their damnation on the basis of God’s sovereignty. Your refusal to repent is laid to your own charge. Your sins are laid to your charge. God’s law is clearly revealed to you and you cannot claim that it is a secret thing of God. God has clearly revealed that all who repent of their sins and come to His Son shall be saved. That is the revealed will of God. Election and predestination are among the secret things of God, and the only way you will rejoice in those things is by believing in Christ, for all who believe in Christ are the elect of God (Acts 13:48).

Frequently in scripture the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man are laid side by side in the same passage. For example John 6:37, “all that the father giveth me shall come to me (God’s sovereignty), and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (man’s responsibility). Again, Matthew 11:25 “Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (God’s sovereignty). Then in verse 28 Christ sweetly says, “come unto me” (man’s responsibility). I could multiply texts, but these are two notable examples. God is absolutely sovereign, and we are absolutely responsible.

I want to thank my many readers who encourage us in this little work and pray for us. I appreciate it so much when I go to town and one of you mentions that the Narrow Way has been a blessing, or when I get an email or phone call from you. I also want to invite you all to the Fall Meeting of Particular Baptist Fellowship September 24-26. Elder Jimmy Barber from Oak Ridge, Tennessee will be preaching for us (DV). If you will call me at 601-927-5070, I will give you all the details. God bless you all.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Biblical Justification

Editor’s Note: For the past several weeks Brother Floyd has engaged in a debate with those ensnared in Catholicism. Due to the length of his most recent response it is being published as a stand-alone article. The bulk of his previous rebuttals may be found under his Narrow Way articles dated September 5th and August 15th.

Dear Mr. Gormley,

I am so glad you are continuing to read the Narrow Way column. I am praying for you that the Holy Spirit may be pleased to reveal Christ in you.

You have stated in this email the difference in popish heresy and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. You are exactly right that popery denies imputed righteousness, and this is the fatal error of Rome. The pope and his followers do not know, nor understand the truth of justification as taught in the scriptures. Job asked the question in Job 9:2, "I know it is so of a truth, but how shall man be just with God?" This is the question of eternal importance, for the answer tells us how a guilty sinner may have a righteous record before the Judge of the all the earth. I shall endeavour to show you the way that you, a guilty sinner may be declared "not guilty " before a Thrice Holy God. And I pray the Lord may help me and that He may have dealings with you.

However a man is justified before God, it must be on His terms. It must be according to His standard. The God of the Bible will not at all acquit the wicked (Nahum 1:3). He is of such pure eyes that He will not look upon evil (Habakkuk 1:13). He is the righteous Judge (II Timothy 4:8), Who will do right (Genesis 18:25).

The only people that God will allow into heaven are those who have a perfect record (go read the 15th and 24th Psalms. The question is asked, "who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Who shall ascend into His holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart.") It will do you no good to have hands not quite as dirty as your neighbour's. It will do you no good to have a heart not quite as vile as another's. You must have a perfect record and a pure heart.

You do not have clean hands. The word of God condemns you. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Michael Gormley has sinned and come short of the glory of God. It makes no matter if you come short by an inch or by ten miles, you have come short of what God requires. You have broken God's law, and you stand before God as a guilty, vile, bankrupt, helpless sinner. God's pronouncement upon you is "Guilty"! The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and the soul that sinneth it shall die (Ezekiel 18:4). God only has two verdicts regarding sinners. Some sinners He declares "guilty" and sends them to hell forever and ever. Other sinners he declares "not guilty" and brings them to heaven forever and ever.

In order for you to be found not guilty, your sins must be completely absolved. Sir, a river of penitential tears will not wash away your guilt. If you could stop sinning this moment and perfectly obey God's law the rest of your lifetime, it would not atone for the sins you have already committed. If you spent a million years in hell, it would not purge your sins. (This is the reason hell goes on and on forever and ever, because the very fires of hell will not purge away your sins.) You better listen to Thomas Ray Floyd. God has connected us so I can tell you how to be saved. God appointed in His providence that you would come in contact with a little preacher in South Mississippi who would show you what can be done about your sin problem. Going to confession will not take away your sins. Doing "penance" will not take away your sins. The pope cannot take away your sins. He can't take away his own sins, much less the sins of another.

But thanks be to God! There is One Who can and does take away sin. His name is Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, the King of kings, the Second Person of the Trinity; the Eternal Son of God has engaged to take away sin the sin of His people. Matthew 1:21 says, "He shall save His people from their sin." He SHALL save His people from their sin! Our Lord did not "put a check in the bank" as you vainly imagine, no He paid the debt in full. Isaiah 53:6 says, "the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." This is imputation. The Lord laid on Christ all the sins of all who would ever believe in Him. II Corinthians 5:21 says "He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." This is imputation. God transferred the sins of all who would ever believe on His Son to His account. And God transfers the righteousness of His Son to the believer. Thus we read in Jeremiah 23:6, "The Lord our righteousness." God declares the believer righteous, or not guilty in His holy court on the account of the righteousness of His Son. The believer has a perfect record with God. God declares the believer as righteous as His Son. And that is the only righteousness that will ever get you into heaven. That is the only way you will ever have clean hands before God. Your hands must be washed in the blood of the Lamb. If you are not righteous this way, all your efforts will be in vain. Unless you are justified by the imputed righteousness of Christ, you will go to hell. Thus the Bible says. “Christ Alone." Only Christ can atone for sin. Only Christ lived a life of perfect righteousness that is imputed to His people's record.

This righteousness is received by faith alone. Thus we read in Ephesians 2:8-9, "by grace are ye saved, through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." Also in Romans 3:25, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (go study for yourself what "propitiation" is, and you might get in contact with the living Christ) through faith in His blood, etc." Also in Romans 5:1 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Sir, you do not have peace with God. If you will be honest with yourself, you always have an uneasy feeling that things are not right between you and God. But I am telling you how you can have peace with God.

The gospel that saves is the gospel that says "by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ Alone." Thus we read in Romans 3:24, "being justified freely by His Grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." I wish you could see what is in that word "freely". It is the gospel. That word "freely" is translated from the Greek word "dorean." In John 15:25 it is translated "without a cause." Just as there was no cause in Christ for men to hate Him, so there is no cause in a believing sinner that God would justify him. The cause is in Another, the Lord Jesus Christ. "By grace alone", and "through faith alone ", and "in Christ Alone" are three ways of saying the same thing. All the grounds of justification are in Christ alone. The alone channel by which the justifying righteousness flows to a sinner is faith. All of this is by grace. So we see that we are justified "freely" by His grace.

You make the fatal error of blindly following the heresies of the pope that confuse justification and sanctification. Justification takes care of our bad record, and sanctification takes care of our bad heart. Thus we read in Romans 8:1, "There is therefore no condemnation (that is justification) to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Sanctification)." We also read in Philippians 2:12-13, "work out your own salvation (you must have salvation before you can work out salvation) with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do after His good pleasure." This is sanctification, the internal work of God. God gives His people both the desire (to will) and the ability (to do) to work out their salvation. Justification is outward and objective. Sanctification is an inward work whereby God purifies our hearts and grows us in grace and conforms us to His will.

You greatly misunderstand James 2:24, "ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." The only thing you have right is that James does not contradict Paul in Romans and Galatians. Your fatal error is how you try to reconcile the two. You are so blinded by the pope that you cannot see that the Book of Romans tells us how God justifies a sinner (especially in 3:21-5:21), and the Book of James tells us how justified persons live. Paul plainly tells us that our righteous standing before God is on the grounds of Christ's imputed righteousness alone that is received by faith alone. James tells us that true saving faith is not alone, but accompanied by good works. Good works do not give us a right standing before God, but they prove that our faith is genuine. Good works performed for any other reason will only send you to hell for all your trouble.

Dear sir, I must close for now. I hope you realise how burdened I am for your very soul and others in the ignorance of popery. That is the reason I take time out from my busy schedule to answer your questions and respond to your comments. I have written on much of this in previous columns in the Narrow Way. I urge you to go back in the archives and read the articles that deal with these very issues. I have also preached on these issues, and you may hear my messages at Sermonaudio.com.

I recognize that my gifts are weak, but God is able to use weak instruments. There are, however, men more able than I, and I urge you to hear them. The three men most clear on justification, alive on the planet today are, in my opinion, John Ashwood, Jimmy Barber, and Jeff Pollard. All three of these men can be heard at sermonaudio.com. If I am not getting through to you, perhaps the Lord will use them. Above all I urge you to be a Berean, and search the scriptures.

May God have mercy on you before it is too late.

Your obedient servant,
Thomas Ray Floyd

The Sovereignty of God and Evangelism

(Article for publication week of 9-15-2010 AD)

“Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (II Timothy 2:10).

For the past several weeks we have been declaring the scriptural doctrine of the Sovereignty of God. One of the first questions people raise when presented with this truth is, “if God is absolutely sovereign (and He is) and has predestinated who would be saved (and he has), then why preach?”

The first answer to this question is BECAUSE GOD SAID TO! Our Lord plainly told us to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15-16). Whether we understand anything else about it, we must obey God. “Our first duty is not to understand, but to believe” (A. W. Pink). Paul said he endured all things for the elect’s sakes that they would obtain salvation. We must imitate his example, whether we understand the Biblical connection between the end and the means of salvation.

Secondly, we preach the gospel to the whole world because the only way we know who the elect are is by their response to the gospel. In Acts 13:48 it says, “as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” As surely as God ordained salvation, He also ordained to bring all His elect to faith in Christ, and He accomplishes this by the preaching of the word. Let no one imagine themselves to be among the elect of God who is not trusting in Christ Alone for salvation. The gospel draws out the elect from the rest of the world. I will illustrate my point like this. If you had a pile of steel shavings mixed with sawdust and drew a magnet over the pile, the magnet would draw out the steel shavings. So it is with the drawing power of the gospel. It draws out the chosen of God. The Lord sends His Holy Spirit into the hearts of His elect so that the gospel comes to them in power (I Corinthians 1:18).

Thirdly, we preach the gospel to the whole world because it is the means God ordained whereby His elect should obtain salvation. Although salvation has been decreed from all eternity, it must be obtained. It is through “sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth” (II Thessalonians 2:13) that God’s elect come into possession of salvation. This is the reason Paul endured all things (no small statement) for the elect’s sakes, for he knew that not a single soul would be saved, unless the gospel be preached.

The preachers that have been most used of God in evangelism and missions have been Calvinists; men like George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, William Carey, and Rolf Barnard to name a few. Their belief in the sovereignty of God moved such men to do as the Apostle Paul and endure all things for the elect’s sakes that would obtain salvation. May we do likewise for God has commanded it, and it is His means to bring salvation to His elect.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Sovereignty of God and the Gospel Call

(Article for publication week of 9-8-2010 AD)

"But we are bound to give thanks for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth, whereunto He called you by our Gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ." (II Thessalonians 2:13-14).

We have in recent articles shown that the scriptures declare that God is absolutely sovereign and that He has chosen from all eternity who will be saved. Our text this week affirms this glorious truth. Paul thanked the Lord for the salvation of the Christians at Thessalonica, because God had chosen them to salvation "from the beginning". No one will be saved unless God chose them to salvation before the foundation of the world, and every one that God chose for salvation will be saved without the loss of one.

Our text this week also says that it was "through sanctification of the Spirit" and "belief of the truth" that we are saved. Furthermore, our text says that it is by the calling of the gospel that we obtain this great salvation. The doctrine of God's sovereignty does not negate the necessity of faith in Christ. Nor does this truth in any sense relieve us of our responsibility to preach the gospel to the whole world. That is one reason I write this column each week, to call by the gospel those of you that I cannot reach in person.

At first glance these two Biblical truths seem to be at odds with each other. Indeed, many professed Christians reject one or the other of these two Biblical truths. Many, having seen the plain words of scripture that promise salvation to all who believe in Christ, and pronounce judgment on all who will not believe in Him, find the truth of God's sovereignty hard to reconcile with the call to faith. Some, on the other hand, seeing election and predestination plainly taught in the scripture, and delighting in it, find it hard to reconcile that with the responsibility of man. Actually, we do not have to choose between the two, because both are taught in the Word, as is seen in our text this week.

The fact is, God has ordained both the end and the means of our salvation. He has ordained that His elect would obtain the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. God has also ordained that His elect should hear the gospel and believe it to the salvation of their souls. God has joined these two together, and let us not try to separate what God has joined. There is a great banner over the door of salvation that says, "whosoever will may come." That is a sincere proclamation. All who will repent of their sins and believe in Christ may be saved. We preach that to every rational creature that we can reach. After you have entered through the door of salvation, you may see the backside of that banner has written on it, "chosen to salvation from all eternity" (Illustration borrowed from Charles Spurgeon). My friend, if you are lost, you do not need to be trying to figure out the high doctrine of predestination, you just need to come to Christ. George Whitefield once said, "no one should try to enter the university of predestination until he has gone to the grammar school of repentance and faith." But after you have been saved, you may rejoice that it was all of the Lord from first to last.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sinners in the Hands of a Sovereign God

(Article for publication week of 9-1-2010 AD)

“For He saith unto Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion‘ ” (Romans 9:15). Poor sinner, you are in the hands of a Sovereign God Who can do with you as seems good to Himself. And God only does one of two things with sinners- He either has mercy on them and saves them, or He damns them and sends them to hell. One of these two things he will most certainly do with you.

Now there are three wonderful things in our text that I want you to see. First, mercy is the sovereign prerogative of God. God is not obligated to have mercy on any sinner. If God were so pleased, He could withhold His mercy from every one of us and He would be no less good and holy. If God were obligated to us, then it would cease to be mercy. God will have mercy on whom He will.

Second, our text tells us that God will have mercy. Ephesians 2:4 tells us “but God Who is rich in mercy for His great love wherewith He hath loved us.” God has been showing mercy to sinners for six thousand years now and He still is. He has extended mercy to a vast number of sinners, and He has still not run out, for He is rich in mercy. Micah 7:18 says this pardoning God “delighteth in mercy. God just gets much delight in showing mercy to sinners. Why there is joy in heaven over every sinner that repents and finds mercy with the Lord. Did you get that? God delights in mercy! Our great God is just tickled to show mercy to undeserving sinners. God will have mercy! I am about to shout while I type this out! I want you to see that God is not short on mercy. Charles Wesley wrote, “plenteous grace with Thee is found”! He has mercy enough for the vilest offender who comes to Him through His Son. God will have mercy. Heaven will be filled with a great number that no man can number who all were recipients of undeserved mercy.

But, thirdly, I will ask you, “will He have mercy on you?” Remember now, He only does one of two things to sinners. He either gives them what they deserve and sends them to hell, or He withholds what they deserve, showing mercy and takes them to heaven. Which will it be with you neighbour? Will God have mercy on you, or will he give you what you deserve? Since our text tells us that God will have mercy, you ought to apply for mercy. I have read the Bible through more times than I remember, and I have not found one sinner who came to God through His Son the sin bearer that was turned away. Poor sinner, plead with God for mercy, for He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and He may have mercy on you.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Sovereignty of God in Reprobation

(Article for publication week of 8-25-2010 AD)

“(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth;) It was said unto her, ‘ the elder shall serve the younger.’ As it is written, ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.’” (Romans 9:11-13).

As long as Romans chapter nine is in the Bible, no one has any excuse for being an Arminian, or a Pelagian, or a humanist or a free-willer of any kind. Romans chapter nine presents a sovereign God Who does what He will with Hs Own. This chapter presents us with a God Who sovereignly chose a remnant of the Adamic race for salvation, and at the same time sovereignly left the rest of mankind as they were. This rejection of the unsaved, we call the doctrine of reprobation.

This is not the only text in the Bible that speaks of the doctrine of reprobation. In Romans 11:7 we read, “the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” In I Peter 2:8 we read of those who “stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto they also were appointed.” Jude 4 tells us of those “who were of old ordained to this condemnation.” Just as God in His sovereignty loved His elect from before the foundation of the world and chose them in His Son, so in His sovereignty, He rejected the rest.

Our text plainly tells us that God rejected Esau before he was ever born. God decreed form all eternity to save a definite number of the human race, and their number is so certain that they can neither be diminished or increased. God also decreed to leave the rest of mankind to fall in Adam and act in their sins to their own destruction. God chose His people for salvation to the praise of His glorious mercy, and He rejected all others to the praise of His glorious justice. God will get eternal glory for Himself in both cases.

God was not obligated to choose any of the race of man for salvation. He would have been perfectly good and holy and righteous and just had he rejected the whole human race. So none may say unto Him, “what doest Thou?” God is the potter, and we are the clay, and He may justly form some clay into vessels of mercy, and form others into vessels of wrath.

What do you do with this great doctrine of reprobation? Does it make you mad to know that God is everything and you are nothing? Or does it humble you down to know that? Does this truth make you fear such a great God? Here is the application of this truth: cry unto Christ for mercy! He has promised that He will not reject any who come to Him! If you will believe in Christ, you are certainly not reprobate. But if you persist in rebellion and reject Christ, you will find that you have been rejected by Him. May God have mercy on your poor soul.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Sovereignty of God's Love

(Article for publication week of 8-18-2010 AD)

"Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" (Romans 9:13b).

Contrary to popular opinion, God does not love everybody indiscriminately. Our text is clear and plain; God loved Jacob and hated Esau. If you back up to verse 11, you will see that the reason for this is, that God's purpose according to election might stand. Romans chapter nine is one of the clearest and plainest passages in the word of God concerning eternal election and reprobation. I just wish you would stop now, and go and read the ninth chapter of Romans. As long as this chapter is in the Bible, no one has any excuse for rejecting the sovereignty of God in salvation.

Nor is this the only scripture that speaks of God's hatred. For example, we read in Psalm 5:6, "the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man." Again, in Psalm 11:5, ""the Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence, His soul hateth." Also in Proverbs 6:19 we read that God hates him "that soweth discord among brethren." Now, I want you to note these texts speak of God's hatred for the persons of the wicked. It is a half-truth that is often parroted that "God hates the sin, but loves the sinner." It is true that God loves elect sinners, and sent His Son to die for them and sends His Spirit to regenerate them and make them holy people, but God hates those who are reprobate and will punish them in the lake of fire forever.

Now, there is a sense in which the Lord loves everyone, and that is that He will treat all men right. God will deal justly with every person according to His law. And this is one definition of love according to Romans 13:8 where we read that love is the fulfilling of the law. God will treat you right, stubborn sinner. If you persist in your rebellion until the bitter end, God will send you to hell for breaking His perfect law. There are countless billions already in hell, and God is treating everyone of them right. No one can say that God has not treated him or her right. In that sense, God does love everybody.

But my text this week is plain, God has not set His saving affections on the whole world. He has set His saving affections on His elect that He chose in Christ before the foundation of the world. And He has loved them with an everlasting love that had no beginning and will have no end. God loved His elect so much that he sent His Son into the world to die a sustitutionary death for them. He loved them so much, that He has washed away all their sins in the blood of His Son. He loves His elect so much that he sends His Holy Spirit into their hearts to make them holy people like unto Himself. It is an amazing thing that God would love any sinners, but He sovereignly chose to set His affections on a remnant of Adam's lost race so that they might be saved. God was not obligated to love Jacob nor you nor me, but in His mercy and grace He did!

And I want to say this before I close. If you sincerely love the Lord, then you are one that He loved in eternity. We read in I John 4:19, "we love Him because He first loved us." If you love the Lord, and are trusting in His Son for justification, and mourning over your sins and turning from them, then it is evidence that you are one of His. May the Lord bless each of you, my dear readers.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sovereign Election

(Article for publication week of 8-11-2010 AD)

"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you..." (John 15:16a). In this text our Lord reminded His disciples that they had not chosen Him, but rather He had made choice of them. It is a good thing that God chose us, for we would never have chosen Him. Our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked and we cannot know them. No man has ever sought the Lord, until the Lord sought him.

That the Bible teaches the doctrine of election, no Bible reader can deny. A few of the many passages that teach the doctrine of election are Psalm 65:4; John 6:37; Romans 9:11; Romans 11:5; I Corinthians 1:27; I Thessalonians 1:4; II Thessalonians 2:13; Ephesians 1:4; I Peter 1:2; and I Peter 2:9. Lord willing, we will consider these passages in coming articles, but I just ask you, if you have never heard of the doctrine of election, or if you have refused to believe it, please look up, and prayerfully read these references.

Salvation is God's choice, not man's. God is absolutely sovereign, and He has the right and the power to do with His Own as He wills. This is a fact that you need to face- you belong to a sovereign God Who is able to save and He is able to damn. You need to face the solemn fact that God is not obligated to you. You need to humble yourself under His mighty hand and acknowledge His sovereign power over you. You need to admit that you do not have any "rights". You have squandered your birthright by leaving the Father's house.

No one has any reason to be opposed to the truth of election. Christians have no reason to oppose this Biblical truth, for it was God's choice that made you one of His Own. You would never have chosen the Lord, had He not first chosen you. It is grace alone that causes the Christian to differ from other sinners. Each of us who now believe in Christ for our salvation was once lost, and we could never have found our way to God had He not rescued us by marvelous grace. We once were blind, but God opened our eyes to behold the King in His beauty and see the land that is very far off. And why did God open your eyes and not the eyes of others who are yet in spiritual blindness? Why, the only answer is, it was His sovereign pleasure so to do! God could have left you lost and blind, but by sovereign grace He sought you out, for He had from the beginning chosen you to salvation and ordained all the means to bring you to faith in His Son. If you are a Christian, it is all of grace.

Nor do the unsaved have any reason to oppose the truth of election. You say yourself that you do not want Christ. You love your sin and do not want to be holy. It is your own depravity and rebellion that keeps you from repenting of your sins and fleeing to Christ. You want God to leave you as you are, and that is exactly what He has done. So you who are lost have no reason to complain if God has not chosen you, for you do not want to be chosen of Him.

The doctrine of election exalts God and abases man. The doctrine of election is a Biblical truth that cannot be denied. The doctrine of election should be embraced by all, and should be preached from every pulpit. Thank God for His sovereign election.