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, 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.