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, June 26, 2011

Sinners in the Hands of a Gracious God

(Article for publication week of 6-29-2011 AD)

“If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (I Peter 2:3).

Oh! How wonderful to read in the scriptures that the Lord is gracious! Well did John Newton express it in his well known hymn “Amazing Grace”, “how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.” Grace is indeed precious to a believer who has come to the end of himself and believed in Christ for his whole and sole righteousness. Grace is indeed precious to one who knows himself to be undeserving, ill deserving and hell deserving. Grace is indeed precious when we first believe in Christ, but it appears more precious day by day to the child of God.

When the Lord shows one of His elect children how vile and loathsome he is by nature, he is first of all struck with fear knowing that God is all holy and he, the wretched sinner is all unholy. God brings His children to the place where they are made to see that they well deserve eternal damnation. And again as Newton wrote, ”twas grace that taught my heart to fear.” It is a painful experience that we must go through to come to the place that we are ready to quit all our own efforts and trust in Christ Alone as the Rock of Ages of our souls. But it is the way the Lord leads His chosen ones. What dread and foreboding filled my soul when I realized I was in the hands of a Thrice Holy God Who could and would send sinners like me to hell.

But, Oh! how sweet did this grace taste to us when this same grace that taught us to fear God, relieved our fears! How strange is the course a Christian must walk. The same grace that brings him low at last sets him on high! The same grace that kills his self righteousness, makes him alive in Christ. The same grace that strips away his rags, clothes him well from top to toe with the robe of Christ. The same grace that wounds, also heals. Oh! How wonderful to believe and know that we are in the hands of a God Who has said He will be gracious to sinners!

Poor sinner, do I write of your own experience? Have you come to see that you deserve nothing from God but His everlasting contempt? Are you mourning deep down in your soul because of your desperate situation? Well, let me drop a word of cheer and comfort into your soul. God is gracious! He saves real sinners. Though you may feel yourself too bad for God to save you, He is gracious. Remember , Christ, Who was full of grace and truth came into the world to save the chief of sinners.

Now, here is set before you a well from which you may drink and taste the grace of God. Taste that the Lord is gracious. You know, only the thirsty are interested in a well. So it is true spiritually, only those who are thirsty in their souls are interested in drinking from the well of salvation. Poor sinner, such a thirst is from God! He Who provides the well of grace, works in His children in such a way as to make them thirsty for the grace He provides. Come poor sinners. Come and taste of the sovereign grace of God. Come and believe in Christ for salvation. You are in the hands of the God of heaven and earth Who has said He will be gracious to sinners. I give you this gospel promise on the authority of Him Who cannot lie , and has revealed in His Word that He is gracious. May the Lord bless His dear children.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Amazing Grace

(Article for publication week of 6-22-2011 AD)

“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).

God’s grace is indeed amazing! What an amazing thing- that God would save the undeserving, the ill deserving, the hell deserving. God goes not save the good folks, He saves sinners. Now, if you know yourself to be a sinner, that is most welcome news! (I know in good writing you are not supposed to use many exclamation points, but I am not trying to be an accomplished writer, I am publishing the gospel for sinners, and that gets me excited!)

First of all let us notice the context in which our verse is set. These are the conclusive words of Paul’s explanation of the doctrine of justification which runs from Romans 3:21 until the end of chapter five. In Romans 1:18- 3:20, Paul had shown that all men are justly condemned under the law. Then he explains that God freely justifies sinners by grace alone, through faith in Christ Alone. God justifies the ungodly (Romans 4:5). OH! What a joyous message for sinners! God saves the ungodly, not the godly! How contrary to nature and opposed to everything that man thinks naturally! Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. God’s grace is amazing indeed.

Secondly, let us see how amazing God’s grace is by considering some of the wretches that God has saved through the merits of His Son. I think of King Manasseh (II Chronicles 33:12-13). He had been a horrible idolater and even sacrificed his own children. What a wretch. But God saved that old sinner and he is in heaven right now. Then I think of the woman in Luke seven that washed the Saviour’s feet with her tears. She had been a filthy harlot. But the Saviour’s grace was greater than her sins, and He said, “thy faith hath saved thee.” Then I think of the dying thief (Luke 23:39-43). All he had was a life of crime and sin to recommend himself to the dear Saviour. He could not go back and change anything. He was nailed to a cross, and he couldn’t go and get baptized. It was too late to reform and start living a good moral life. All he could do was beg the dear Savior “Lord remember me.” He did not try to pray a long elaborate prayer; he just said, “Lord, remember me.“ And the Saviour remembered him and that thief was a Christian for only a few hours at the most, but he has been in heaven for over two thousand years, and no one can throw him out. And then I think of that old self-righteous persecutor, Saul of Tarsus. He hated Christ and His gospel and His Church. But God had mercy on that blasphemer and saved him on the Damascus road while he was yet breathing out threatening and slaughter against Christ.

But mostly when I think of God’s grace abounding to me the chief of sinners, worse than all these I have mentioned, I see how amazing God’s grace is. I was as vile as sinner could be. I was worse than Manasseh and the harlot in Luke seven, and the dying thief and Saul of Tarsus put together. But God set His affection on me in the eternities and saved the vilest of the vile. The blood of Christ availed for me. “I once was lost, but now am found”!

Are any of my readers vile sinners who are in agony of soul? Is there some soul out there broken hearted because you know you have offended such a good and holy God? Well, I have the gospel for you. God’s grace is greater than all our sin. God justifies the ungodly. You may come to Christ as you read these words. You don’t have to wait until you get to the church this Sunday. You may be saved from your sin as Manasseh, the harlot in Luke seven, the dying thief, Saul of Tarsus, and millions of other sinners to whom God’s grace abounded. As dear Joseph Hart wrote, “come ye sinners, poor and needy, weak and wounded, sick and sore. Jesus ready stands to save you, full of pity, joined with power.” Flee to the Saviour of sinners. Your sin is not as great as His grace and you will find that His grace is indeed amazing. May the Holy Spirit draw you to Christ this very moment.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sovereign Grace

(Article for publication week of 6-15-2011 AD)

“[God] 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” (II Timothy 1:9).

Almost everybody who professes to be a Christian claims to believe something about grace. Only the most blatant works mongers would suggest that they could be saved by their own efforts apart from God’s grace. However, by the time they add all their “ifs and buts“, and conditions that must be met by the sinner, the vast majority end up denying salvation by grace, and insisting that sinners have to help the Lord in His work of salvation.

But notice please that our text speaks not of salvation as a joint effort between God and sinners, but declares that salvation is all of the Lord from first to last. The salvation of a sinner is not according to the sinner’s purpose, but according to God’s purpose and that was in Christ before the world began. Before He ever created a world, God chose a definite number of the race of Adam for salvation. He gave them to His Son and loved them with an everlasting love. At the appointed time God’s coequal and eternal Son joined His blessed Deity to sinless manhood and died a substitutionary death for all the Father gave Him. He rose again for their justification and ascended back to the Father where He ever lives to intercede for them. And according to God’s eternal purpose, when it pleases Him, at the time He decreed before the foundation of the world, He sends His Holy spirit to effectually call all He chose, and for whom Christ died. Thus we read the Saviour’s words in John 6:37, “all the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” They come willingly to the dear Saviour for they are called efficaciously by the Spirit as our text says.

Now, I want you to note well that our text says that the believer is saved even before he is called to faith in Christ by the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches that the believer is and was saved in eternity. That is exactly what our text today says! And the whole Bible says it! Salvation was all arranged by the great Three in One before the world was made.

And so you see that salvation is not in any sense dependent on the fickle will of sinners. This is what our text means when it says “not according to our works”. Our text draws a clear distinction between grace and works. If you claim to have contributed anything to your own salvation, then you have denied the truth of my text and are a works monger. Again, salvation is not a joint effort between God and sinners, but all of God’s grace.

Well, I can hear somebody saying, “well, God did very much, but I did believe.” I hope you do. I hope you are trusting in Christ Alone. But if you are, it is because God took the initiative and granted you faith when you were effectually called, for saving faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Even the faith whereby a sinner trusts in Christ is a gift from God. And so we preach “sovereign grace.”

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Grace of God

(Article for publication week of 6-8-2011 AD)

“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).

God’s grace is indeed an amazing thing. That God would be gracious to any sinner is truly amazing. No wonder John Newton wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace”, relating his own experience of grace in accord with the scriptures.

Grace means “God’s unmerited favour to the undeserving.” This is the idea expressed here in our text in Romans 3:24. God justifies His elect without any regard to anything He has seen, or foreseen in them. If a sinner had some claim on salvation, then it would cease to be grace.

First of all, let us notice that God’s grace is completely sovereign. In Exodus 33:19 we read, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious.” God is not obligated to extend His unmerited favour to anyone. He will not bring Himself into your debt. We read in Romans 11:35, “who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?” This is indeed a most humbling truth that God does not owe us anything and if we are saved it is all owing to God’s free and unmerited favour. Thus those who preach the true gospel often say “sovereign grace.”

Secondly, let us note well that God’s grace is all in Christ Jesus. In II Timothy 1:9 we read, “[God] 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.” Thus we see that God decreed from all eternity to whom He would be gracious. God, in His sovereign grace, chose a definite number in Christ to be saved. Not all men are recipients of God’s grace, only those who were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. God gave them to His Son to save, and He came into the world to save them, and He did what he came to do.

Next, let us note that the grace of God brings salvation. In Titus 2:11-12 we read, “the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and wordly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.” My dear reader have you been taught thusly by free and sovereign grace. Do not imagine that you are saved by grace unless you are living soberly, righteously and godly. God’s grace not only justifies, but it sanctifies. God’s grace gives the elect sinner a righteous record with God, and gives him a new nature that hates sin and loves holiness. This is where multitudes make shipwreck of their souls. They have been told something about God’s grace, and they wrongly presume that God will be gracious to them though they live scandalous lives. Mark it down, the Bible says that if you are saved by grace you will live graciously, as seen in Titus 2:11-12 and indeed all through the Bible.

And one final word to you works mongers. Do not suppose that I am even insinuating that you can earn salvation by living soberly, righteously and godly. That is opposed to everything we have seen about grace being unmerited favour. As it says in Romans 11:6,”and if by grace, then it is no more of works.” What I am saying is that when God has graciously saved a sinner, that sinner will repent of His sins, believe in Christ, and follow Christ.

Have you been saved by sovereign grace?