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