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.

16 comments:

Tortoise said...

Not Saved by Faith Only

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. (James 2:24)

It cannot get any clearer than the verse in James that good works are necessary for Christians to truly have the life that Jesus promises.

Common objections...

James is not speaking of salvation. But notice that the verse immediately preceding refers to Abraham's saving faith...

And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. (James 2:23)

The book of James is hard to understand and therefore this verse should be ignored. In fact, Martin Luther wanted to remove this book from the Bible.

But the verse is actually easy to understand for those who accept Catholic teaching.

Shame on those Protestants...interpreting the Bible as their sole authority with preconceived doctrines.

Anonymous said...

Dry water and cold fire! Do Catholics believe we can earn Salvation?

In a word, no!


In fact, those who claim we do think that are making a wholly disingenuous argument based on false dilemma.

That false dilemma is that salvation is either by faith alone or by works alone.

Let's start with that with which all Protestants and Catholics agree.

1) Man is fallen.

2) Man cannot save himself.

3) Man needs a Saviour.

4) Jesus is the only one qualified for the job.

Some Fundamentalists act as if Catholics don't understand who Salvation comes from. Ironic, since they also condemn us for the fact that we supposedly spend too much time commemorating the Crucifixion - the defining act making salvation available to us. True, the Resurrection completes it and codifies it but the Resurrection is of little value to us without the Crucifixion.

Nevertheless, all Christians agree that the availability of Salvation is manifested, to the world, through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. The price has been paid and the money put in the bank account. We call this part of the process Redemption.

Redemption is available to every person on earth. That is, there are sufficient funds in the bank to cover the salvation of every person.

Hebrews 9:12 he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.

Yet, Catholics agree with the Apostles Paul & Peter that we must, in fact, fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ

Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church,

1Peter 4:13 But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.

Are Paul and Peter suggesting insufficiency in the Sanctifying power of Christ's blood? Not at all. What they are saying is that it is not enough that Christ died for us, if we do not have faith enough to benefit from it by joining in His sacrifice.

When fundamentalists claim that Catholics believe in a weak Jesus whose blood is insufficient to forgive every sin, they are simply whistling past the grave yard. In fact, that is actually a pretty ridiculous argument. For, if I believed that Christ is not strong enough to save me, by what means could I possibly believe that I could do it?

Yet, there are actually people who have the audacity to suggest that we Catholics think we can out save Jesus because His sacrifice just wasn't good enough. Um! We don't. The sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice to save every single man, woman and child on earth is affirmed by our assent to the doctrine of Redemption.

The argument; we believe in a weak Jesus, is a red herring created by clever liars to detract from what is the real question at hand.

Anonymous said...

When discussing Apologetics with non-Catholics, you must do it right from Holy Scripture. When Protestantism was first formed in the 16th century, the reformers lost all Authority which they enjoyed in the Catholic Church.

They therefore turned to the Bible as their 'sole rule of authority'. This is called 'Sola Scriptura', or 'Bible Alone'.

They also could not claim Apostolic Tradition anymore since they could not show Apostolic Succession.

They put Apostolic Tradition in the same category as man made tradition and in so doing condemned all tradition.

Holy Scripture specifically says to keep the traditions with which you have been taught, which are the Apostolic traditions, and to reject man made traditions. Interestingly, the false doctrine of 'Sola Scriptura', is a man made tradition with its origin at the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

Using the reformers very own rules, 'Sola Scriptura' should then be condemned by themselves.

daveg4g said...

Raymoond,

Your Personal Opinion May Have No Bearing Whatsoever On Doctrinal Truth...

Let us first look at some basic definitions using the Greek roots of words from which they came.

1. Philosophy: 'Philo' from the Greek root, 'Philos' means "the love of".

'Sophy' from the Greek means 'wisdom'.

So philosophy simply means the love of wisdom.

'Ortho' from the Greek 'orthos' means straight, or correct.

'Doxa' means 'opinion'. So orthodoxy means a 'straight opinion', or in a simpler analogy, the truth.

3. Now if we combine the word 'philo' with the Greek root word 'doxa' we get the word 'philodoxy'.

So as the great Greek philosopher Plato, proclaimed, the word 'philodoxy' was the opposite or antonym of the word philosophy.

4. To add to what we have learned from this simple lesson is that a philosopher is a lover of wisdom, whereas a philodoxer is a lover of opinion.

"Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion. You do not regard a person’s status but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth." Mark 12:14 (NAB)

They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion, for you do not regard a person’s status." (Matthew 22:16)

They posed this question to him, "Teacher, we know that what you say and teach is correct, and you show no partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth." (Luke 20:21)

Jesus did not accept the opinions of men, as shown in Matthew 16:13-17:

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"

They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"

Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."

Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father."

See? His disciples mostly expressed personal opinions, which meant little to Jesus.

The one exception was Simon Peter, the only one who answered with doctrinal truth.

a39greenway said...

Is Half of The Story Sufficient For Salvation?

How many sides are there to a story? If you say two, then you are wrong. If you had one side and I had one side that would make two sides. However, there is a third side, the side of truth.

Rule # 1... One half of truth does not a truth make. Neither does one half of a story make the full story. No intelligent person can hear one side of a story and decide which side has the truth.

Both sides have to be heard, then analysed, and then a decision has to be made as to which side (if either) has a valid story, and after that, the right side(s), or truth side, can be determined.

This thinking holds true for discerning what Holy Scripture tells us.

Throughout the Bible there are double standards, yet the fundamentalist thinking shows only one standard, or one side of the story, or only one half of the truth.

Their thinking is in violation of rule # 1. With only one half of truth, you do not have truth. Anything less than the whole truth is error.

In the following examples, side 'A' is the first side, side 'B' is the second, and side 'C' is the right, or truth side.

Example # 1... Sola Scriptura...? Only the Bible. Fundamentalist thinking is that the Bible is sufficient and nothing else is needed for salvation.

First of all, in order to believe in the 'Bible Only' philosophy, you have to show that Scripture says it. Is that not true? The doctrine of 'Sola Scriptura' is not to be found in Scripture.

A. Tradition is condemned in many places in Scripture, such as Job 22:15, Matthew 15:6, Mark 7:3-13, Galatians 1:14, Colossians 2:8, 1Timothy 1:4, Titus 1:14, and 1Peter 1:18. Look at these verses and grasp their meaning.

They all address 'vain' human traditions and are rightly condemned. This is one half of the truth.

B. Tradition is supported in more places in Scripture than it is condemned. Study Isaiah 59:21, Luke 1:2, 2:19,51, Luke 10:16, 2Thessalonians 2:14-15 - "Stand firm and hold the traditions you have learned..", 2Timothy 1:13,2:2, 1Peter 1:25, 1Jn 1:1,2:24, 2Jn 1:12, Revelation 12:17,19:10.

These are different traditions than mentioned in 'A'. These are the Traditions of GOD, or 'Apostolic' Tradition.' Again, this is only half of the truth.

C. The truth is, yes, we do condemn the vain tradition of men, as shown in 'A', and we must keep the Tradition of GOD, as shown in 'B'.

Thus we have half the truth in 'A', and the other half in 'B', and combined we have the full truth.

The false doctrine of Sola Scriptura adds A and B together and puts the total in A, rejecting all of tradition. A+B=C.

Tortoise said...

Mister Floyd,

WHAT YOU MUST DO TO BE SAVED

Best of all, the promise of eternal life is a gift, freely offered to us by God (CCC 1727).

The Catholic Church teaches what the apostles taught and what the Bible teaches: We are saved by grace alone, but not by faith alone (which is what "Bible Christians" teach; see James. 2:24).

When we come to God and are justified (that is, enter a right relationship with God), nothing preceding justification, whether faith or good works, earns grace.

But then God plants his love in our hearts, and we should live out our faith by doing acts of love (Galatians 6:2).

Even though only God’s grace enables us to love others, these acts of love please him, and he promises to reward them with eternal life (Romans 2:6–7, Galatians 6:6–10).

Thus good works are meritorious. When we first come to God in faith, we have nothing in our hands to offer him.

Then he gives us grace to obey his commandments in love, and he rewards us with salvation when we offer these acts of love back to him (Romans 2:6–11, Galatians 6:6–10, Matthew 25:34–40).

15 Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.

16 Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5: 15-16)

Jesus said it is not enough to have faith in him; we also must obey his commandments. "Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ but do not do the things I command?" (Luke 6:46, Matthew 7:21–23, 19:16–21).

We do not "earn" our salvation through good works (Ephesians 2:8–9, Romans 9:16), but our faith in Christ puts us in a special grace-filled relationship with God so that our obedience and love, combined with our faith, will be rewarded with eternal life (Romans 2:7, Galatians 6:8–9).

Paul said, "God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work" (Philippians 2:13).

John explained that "the way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments. Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:3–4, 3:19–24, 5:3–4).

Since no gift can be forced on the recipient—gifts always can be rejected—even after we become justified, we can throw away the gift of salvation.

We throw it away through grave (mortal) sin (John 15:5–6, Romans 11:22–23, 1 Corinthians 15:1–2; CCC 1854–1863). Paul tells us, "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

Read his letters and see how often Paul warned Christians against sin! He would not have felt compelled to do so if their sins could not exclude them from heaven (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, Galatians 5:19–21).

Paul reminded the Christians in Rome that God "will repay everyone according to his works: eternal life for those who seek glory, honour, and immortality through perseverance in good works, but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness" (Romans 2:6–8).

Sins are nothing but evil works (CCC 1849–1850). We can avoid sins by habitually performing good works.

Every saint has known that the best way to keep free from sins is to embrace regular prayer, the sacraments (the Eucharist first of all), and charitable acts.

a39greenway said...

Jimmy,

Tradition

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. (2 Thessalonians 3:6)

What could be more clearer? We are to follow the Traditions of the apostles which are passed-down to subsequent generations.

Protestants who are critical of Catholicism typically ignore this verse when they are insisting that the Catholic Church is based on the "traditions of men" which Jesus and Paul so strongly object to.

For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. (Mark 7:8)

Jesus gives and example -- washing pots. This kind of thing is hardly a doctrinal matter with the Catholic Church yet Jesus is objecting because the religious leaders made such things into a salvation issue.

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

Paul, the writer of this verse, also wrote the passages in 2 Thessalonians in which he commands Christians to hold to the Traditions and walk in the Tradition.

Surely he considers these Traditions and the "tradition of men" to be two very different things.

Anonymous said...

The Catholic Church Stands Alone!

Anonymous said...

It was God Himself, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, who warns us at the 'Sermon on the Mount' -"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:15)

These words echo across the centuries to us Catholics at the present day, who are just as much, and even more, in need of such a warning.

What should motivate us to heed this warning most carefully in our daily lives? Because the purity and integrity of the Faith is a serious matter. A person's Faith can easily be corrupted.

Michael Gormley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
daveg4g said...

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

Jesus Christ Founded the Catholic Church on AD 33 Matthew 16:18: And I say also unto thee, That thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

(Matthew 28-19) Jesus states - Go ye therefore, and TEACH all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

(Mark 16-15) Jesus states - And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and PREACH the gospel to every creature.

(Mark 16-20) -And they went forth, and PREACHED everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

The church is "the light of the world." He then noted that "a city set on a hill cannot be hidden" (Matthew 5:14). This means his Church is a visible organization.

It must have characteristics that clearly identify it and that distinguish it from other churches. Jesus promised, "I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).

This means that his Church will never be destroyed and will never fall away from him. His Church will survive until his return.

Church is a "city set on a mountain that cannot be hidden" ( Matthew 5:14) Church is not spiritual or invisible. Church in Greek is Ekklesia mentioned in the bible more than hundred times.

Protestants thinks that the church is spiritual and invisible composed of some sort of amorphous collection of true believers form every denomination is completely unbiblical.

Jesus established only one church, NOT for a group of squabbling rival denominations.

Tortoise said...

Regeneration in John 3

These different ways of talking about being "born again" describe effects of baptism, which Christ speaks of in John 3:5 as being "born of water and the Spirit."

In Greek, this phrase is, literally, "born of water and Spirit," indicating one birth of water-and-Spirit, rather than "born of water and of the Spirit," as though it meant two different births—one birth of water and one birth of the Spirit.

In the water-and-Spirit rebirth that takes place at baptism, the repentant sinner is transformed from a state of sin to the state of grace.

Peter mentioned this transformation from sin to grace when he exhorted people to "be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

p160 said...

Dear Ray,

DO YOU PLAY RUSSIAN ROULETTE WITH YOUR SALVATION?

What is required in order to have Jesus ABIDE in us and we in Him?

Can we do it:

1. By accepting Him as our our own personal Lord and Savior ?
No. Where does the Bible say that?

2. By the grace of GOD only? Sola Gracias?
No. Where does the Bible say that?

3. By faith in GOD alone? Sola Fides?
No. Where does the Bible say that?

It is simple common sense that since He commanded that we must do something, then doesn't it stand to reason that He would also tell us how to do it?

Jesus was very clear in what we must do in order to have Him ABIDE in us and we in Him.

Jesus left this command for us in John 6:53-57:

53 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you (the taken away branch);

54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

56 HE WHO EATS MY FLESH AND DRINKS MY BLOOD ABIDES IN ME, AND I IN HIM.

57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me."

daveg4g said...

John 6:48-54:

Vs 48, A second time Jesus said, "I am that bread of life."

Vs 49, "Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness and they are dead."

This is because the manna was only a type, the symbol of the reality which was to come.

Vs 50, "This is the bread which comes down from Heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die."

We know that all of us will die physically, but Jesus meant the eternal life of the spiritual soul.

Vs 51, Jesus said, "I am the living bread that came down from Heaven, if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever. And the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

Did He say the bread is a "symbol" of His flesh, or did He say it is my flesh?

Vs 52, the Jews doubt even more as they said, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?"

Isn't this what non-believers in the " True Presence " say today?

Vs 53, Jesus said, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you do not have life within you."

The very next verse 54 says that those who eat the flesh of the Son of Man, do have everlasting life.

How then, can these verses be symbolic?

Dale said...

From John Gill's Commentary:

Joh 6:53 - Then Jesus said unto them,.... The Jews, who were litigating this point among themselves:

verily, verily, I say unto you; or you may assure yourselves of the truth of what follows,

except ye eat the flesh of the son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you: by "the son of man", Christ means himself; under which title he often speaks of himself; because it was a title of the Messiah under the Old Testament; and was expressive of the truth of his human nature, though as attended with weakness and infirmities. The "flesh" and "blood" of Christ do not design those distinct parts of his body; much less as separate from each other; nor the whole body of Christ, but his whole human nature; or Christ, as having united a perfect human nature to him, in order to shed his blood for the remission of sin, and to offer up his soul and body a sacrifice for it: and the eating of these is not to be understood of a corporeal eating of them, as the Capernaites understood them; and since them the Papists, who affirm, that the bread and wine in the Lord's supper are transubstantiated into the very body and blood of Christ, and so eaten: but this is not to be understood of eating and drinking in the Lord's supper, which, as yet, was not instituted; and some, without participating of this, have spiritual life in them now, and will enjoy eternal life hereafter; and all that partake of that ordinance have not the one, nor shall have the other: and besides, having a principle of spiritual life in the soul, is previously necessary to a right eating of the supper of the Lord. These words, understood in this sense, once introduced infants to the Lord's supper; as misinterpretation of Joh_3:5 brought in the baptism of them. But the words design a spiritual eating of Christ by faith. To eat the flesh, and drink the blood of Christ, is to believe that Christ is come in the flesh, and is truly and really man; that his flesh is given for the life of his people, and his blood is shed for their sins, and this with some view and application to themselves: it is to partake of, and enjoy the several blessings of grace procured by him, such as redemption, pardon, peace, justification, &c. and such a feeding upon him as is attended with growth in grace, and in the knowledge of him, and is daily to be repeated, as our corporeal food is, otherwise persons have no life in them: without this there, is no evidence of life in them; not such live as feed on sinful pleasures, or on their own righteousness; only such that believe in Christ are living souls; and without this there is nothing to support life; everything else that a man eats tends to death; but this is what will maintain and preserve a spiritual life; and without this there is no just expectation of eternal life; but where there is this, there is good reason to expect it, and such shall enjoy it: some copies and versions read, "ye shall not have life in you"; eternal life. Now, though the acts of eating and drinking do not give the right to eternal life, but the flesh, blood, and righteousness of Christ, which faith lays hold, and feeds upon; yet it is by faith the right is claimed; and between these acts of faith, and eternal life, there is an inseparable connection.

Dale said...

More from Gill:

Joh 6:54 - Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood,.... Spiritually by faith, as explained in the preceding verse:

hath eternal life; the principle of spiritual life, which is evidently implanted in him, as appears from his eating and drinking; and is a durable and lasting principle: grace is an incorruptible seed; every part of it is abiding and permanent; and it is itself the beginning, pledge, and earnest of everlasting life, and is inseparably connected with it: moreover, such have eternal life itself, not only in Christ their head, but in themselves: they have a right unto it, and a meetness for it: and may be assured of it, as if they were personally possessed of it, from their election to it; the security of it in Christ; from the grace they have received, which is the beginning of glory; and the earnest of it in themselves: