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, 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.


Michael Gormley said...

A true Calvinist teaches that everything that happens has been predestined before the foundation of the world. Thus, according to Calvinism, because I have free agency and no true power to choose contraries (i.e., free will), I do voluntarily what I could never do otherwise.

Thus, "My sins last week happened; they were certain to happen; and they were predestined before the foundation of the world. I freely did evil, but I could not have done otherwise."

A true Calvinist admits this. Yet St. Paul teaches that, with every temptation, God has made a way to escape from committing the sinful deed (1 Cor 10:13). Therefore, the question for the true Calvinist is:

"Which way did God, in fact, provide for you to escape the temptations to do the sins you committed last week, if indeed you are so inclined? That is, if you have been predestined before the foundation of the world to do it?"

This is a clear hole in the Calvinist position, forcing one to conclude that Calvinism cannot be reconciled with St. Paul.

Clearly, if Calvin is right and one is predestined to commit a particular sin before the foundation of the world, God could not have truly provided a way out of that sin for you to take.

How could He if you were predestined not to take it? So, either Calvin is wrong or we are dealing with a God Who feigns offers of deliverance from temptation.

So, which is it? Is God a fraud or is Calvin?

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Gormley,

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Please forgive my delay in responding to your comments to the Narrow Way. I am delighted that you are reading the columns and pray that you are being blessed by reading.

Whatever Calvinists may or may not beleive, the scriptures clearly and plainly and emphatically say that God has ordained all things whatsoever may come to pass by His unalterable decree. Ephesians 1:11 says that God works all things according to the counsel of His Own will. Psalm 115:3 says "our God is in the heavens, He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased." Daniel 4:35 says that God works His will in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth and "none can stay His hand , or say unto Him Him, 'what doest Thou?' " God says in Isaiah 46:10 "I will do all my pleasure." Romans 8:28 assures us that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." The only way that could be true is if God sovereignly directs all things. The ninth chapter of Romans, which was the text for this week's article and prompted your comments, clearly teaches that God chose a definite number of the human race for salvation before the foundation of the world, and sovereignly rejected all the rest of Adam's race. As long as Romans chapter nine is in the Bible, no one has any excuse for being an arminian or pelagian or humanist, or freewiller of any kind. I could multiply texts, but if you don't believe the ones I have already cited, you will not be convinced though one rose from the dead.

(continued in next comment)

Anonymous said...

Your comments and questions are centered around the question of how God has foreordained all things, yet in such a way that He is in no way culpable for our sins. That God has decreed the sinful acts of men is shown clearly from the death of Christ. In Acts 4:27-28 we read that the Romans and the Jews gathered together to crucify Christ and they did whatsoever God's hand and God's counsel determined before to be done. We read in Acts 2:23, "Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." These texts are clear that God ordained the death of His Son to be a sin offerering to put away His elect's sins, and ordained that it would be carried out by wicked men who are fully responsible for their sin.

That we are responsible for our sins is a clear teaching of scripture, as clear as the Sovereignty of God. Calvin taught this, and as far as I know all calvinists also teach this. I know I teach it. If you read much of our articles, or have ever listened to any of my preaching, you would know that I emphasize the responsibility of man as much as the Sovereignty of God. God is in no way the author of sin. James 1:13 plainly says that God tempteth no man to sin.

I will try to help you to resolve this difficulty, (and no one denies it is difficult for our small brains) by considering Romans 9:17-18. "For the scripture saith unto Pharoah, ' Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.' Therefore hath he mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth." Now here is the answer to your question as to how we are able to flee temptation- the mercy of God. When we are able to keep from temptation and not sin, it is all of God's mercy. God has mercy on whom He will, and the rest He hardens, just he hardened Pharoah. God's mercy is not an obligation on His part. If it were, it would cease to be mercy. God has mercy on whom He will. And God only does one of these two things with every sinner, He either has mercy on them, or He hardens them. God will either have mercy on you, or he will harden you.

Let us first consider how God hardens a sinner's heart. We shall see that He does this and does not tempt anyone to sin. God does not offer violence to us. God sovereignly decrees to harden the hearts of reprobates, and at the same time leaves them free to act according to their own nature.

The first way that God hardens a sinner is by leaving him alone. The sinner's heart is hard as a millstone. Those that God is pleased to have mercy upon, He takes away their stony heart and gives them an heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). Those that God hardens, He leaves them in a state of nature, and so they are hardened.

Another way that God hardens sinners is by removing providential restraints. Romans 1:24 says that "God gave them up." Many a reprobate child has been restrained by the discipline of a strict home. But when they left home and the restraint was lifted, they went headlong into sin. God restrains reprobates by wholesome laws. But when Godless states endorse heathendom, baby killing and perversion, God gives them up to dirty living.

And God hardens sinners by hiding the truth from them. Our Lord Jesus Christ thanked His Father in Matthew 11:25 that he hid the truth from the wise and prudent and revealed it unto babes. Romans 11:7 says, "the rest were blinded." II Thess. 2:11 says that God will send strong delusions that unbelievers might be damned.


Anonymous said...

(comments concluded)

And God hardens sinners by setting the gospel before them. That is right. II Cor. 2:16-17 says the same gospel that is a savour of life to some, is a savour of death to others. The truth pricks some men's hearts. In others, it cuts to the heart. The same sun that melts butter, hardens clay. So the same gospel that melts the child of God to tears, hardens the reprobate.

This is the negative answer to your question of how we escape temptation. Negatively, men yield to temptation because God leaves them alone (what a terrible plight - to be left alone by God!), removes providential restraints, blinds them to the truth, and makes the gospel a savour of death .

Now for the positive way that God delivers us from temptation. God teaches us to pray to Him to not lead us into temptation , but deliver us from evil. God does keep us from sinning. This is shown from the case of Abimelech in Genesis 20:6. God withheld him from committing fornication with Sarah. Now this is nothing but the sovereign hand of God. What else would keep a powerful man who had this beautiful woman in his harem to do as he pleased from violating her chastity? God keeps men from sinning in His mercy.

Positively, God keeps His people from sinning by giving them a new nature that loves holiness and hates sin. He gives them the help of the Holy Spirit to mortify sin (Romans 8:13). He gives them the warnings and threatenings of His word that they take seriously. He chastises them when they heedlessly err. He puts them under the care of loving brethren who rebuke them when they go astray. God keeps us from sinning in His sovereign mercy.

So we see that God is not a fraud. Perish the thought! "Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid!" God can keep us from sinning, and gives us a way of escape in temptation. The way of escape is through His Son Who is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification amd redemption. God is not a fraud, and to the degree that Calvin preached the truth , he was not a fraud either. Calvin had many faults as all men do, but as far as I can tell, he was faithful to preach the Sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man.

Finally, when I look back at my past sins, I do not even consider charging God. I repent and mourn and beg God to have mercy on me a sinner. I trust in the Sovereign Lord for all things, and pray for His grace to keep me from evil.

May the Lord bless and keep you.

Your servant,
Thomas Ray Floyd

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Gormley:
Greetings to you in the name of our Risen Lord. I have not forgotten about you, and have prayed much for you in recent days.
You ask, "what Church did the Lord Jesus Christ found?" To start with , we know that the Lord Jesus Christ did NOT found the Romish organisation headed by the pope. In my last reply I showed how that the scriptures are the final and infallible authority in every question. There is not a scripture any where in the Bible that teaches anything about a so-called "pope." That Peter was not a pope we know from these texts:
1)Mark 1:30; I Corinthians 9:5 . Peter was a married man.
2) Acts 3:6 ; Peter had not silver and gold, but the pope has much siver and gold
3) Acts 10:26; Peter would not let Cornelius bow to him as the pope demands.
4) Galatians 2:11; Peter was not infallible and had to be rebuked by Brother Paul.
The pope is an invention of men. The first real pope was Leo I (AD 440-460). (Hassel's History page 301)

We know the Lord Jesus Christ did not found the Romish organisation headed by the pope for He , the Lord Jesus Christ is Head of the true church (Colossians 1:18).

We know that Christ did not found the popish organisation because the pope and his followers teach that Mary is a co mediator with Christ , but the Bible says that Christ, the God Man is the only mediator between God and men (I Timothy 2:5).

We know that Christ did not found the popish Roman organisation because the pope and his followers say that Christ is offered in the so called "mass", but Hebrews 10: 10 says that "we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL." The mass is a mockery of Christ and His atonement. Besides, it is repulsive to suppose that Christ would have us become cannibals. The pope and his "priests" are all a bunch of liars. They do not turn bread and wine into the Lord's body and blood by a magic trick. May the Lord have mercy on the poor deceived souls who believe such lies.

Many other things could be cited to prove the pope is a liar, but the worst thing about the popish organisation is that it does not know , much less preach the gospel. The scriptures say there is only one way for a man to be justified and that is by grace alone, through faith alone , in Christ Alone. Let us see what the Bible says about it:
Jeremiah 23:6 "the LORD our righteousness"
Romans 3:28 "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."
Ephesians 2:8 By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."
Titus 3:5 "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost."
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."
Acts 16:31 "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."
Galatians 2:16 "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ,even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law, for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
Romans 3:24-25 "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus : Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God."

Anonymous said...

Christ is the whole and sole righteousness for salvation to every one that believes in Him Alone. His righteousness is imputed to His people as the only grounds of their salvation. Any other gospel is a false gospel and those who preach any other way are not to be believed. Paul said in Galatians 1 that if any man or angel preach any gospel except what he preached, let him be eternally damned. The pope is a judaising devil and true believers will not follow him. The voice of the pope is not the voice of our Beloved. The Romish organisation cannot be a true church, because they do know or preach the gospel, which is the acid test for the true church.

Having seen that Christ did not found the popish organisation, let us see now the true Church that He founded. In Matthew 16:18 Christ said he would build His church upon the rock of Himself. "No other foundation can any man lay, than that that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." The Church is built on a revealed Christ, for our Lord had just said to Peter, "blessed art thou, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." No man can know Christ, the Rock of the Church, except He be revealed by regeneration. (See Galatians 1:15-16). And the Church is built on a confessed Christ, for Peter had just confessed that he beleived that Christ was the Son of God. "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:10).

The true Church is comprised of every one whose name is written in heaven (Hebrews 12:23). The true Church is comprised of every one for whom the dear Saviour gave His life (Ephesians 5:25) In short The Church is comprised of all who are now, have ever been , or ever will be gathered into Christ. The Church is the whole election of grace, evey one chosen by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and regenerated by the Holy Ghost. That is The Church.

Christ has ordained that the Church should have its visible expression in local churches or assemblies. Thus we see the Apostle Paul addressing the church at Rome, Corinth and the churches of Galatia. A local church is not under a hierarchy, but is local and self governing under the rule of Christ, the only proper Head of the Church. In I Corinthaians 5 Paul told the church at Corinth to exercise discipline over an unrepentant fornicator as a church body. A local church has only two offices, pastors (AKA elders and bishops) and deacons. A local church is comprised of those who give evidence of regeneration (Acts 2:41; Romans 1:7; I Corinthians 1:2; I Thessalonians 1:4). A local church preaches the gospel and administers the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper.

I now call upon you to repent of your popish idolatry and believe in Christ for salvation, before it is everlastingly too late. May the Lord have mercy upon you is my prayer.

Thomas Ray Floyd