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?”