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, August 26, 2012

The Passive Obedience of Christ

(Article for publication week of 8-29-2012 AD)

“And being found in fashion as a Man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).

It is by the obedience of Christ that believers are constituted righteous in the sight of God (Romans 5:19). The obedience of Christ is both active and passive. Christ actively obeyed the law to a jot and a title (Matthew 5:17-18). He always did those things which pleased His Father (John 8:29). This active obedience is imputed to the believer so that God reckons the believer has actively kept His law.

The obedience of Christ is also passive, as spoken of in our text here in Philippians 2:8. Christ was obedient unto death. As our Surety, Christ had obligated Himself to stand good for all our obligations. As rational creatures, we were obligated to obey the law of God and answer to Him for every transgression thereof. By breaking the law of God we were condemned and sentenced to death, the proper punishment for sin. By His passive obedience, Christ stood in our room and stead, as our Substitute, and died for us.

He “became obedient unto death.” The sword of God’s vengeance was raised to strike the terrible blow to Christ’s people. God had pronounced death as the proper punishment for those who broke His law (Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 6:23). It was for the sins of His people that Christ died (I Corinthians 15:3). He had no sin of His Own, but it was for the sins of others that he died. He was just Himself, but He suffered for the unjust (I Peter 3:18). We were under the curse of the law, but Christ was made a curse for us, and so redeemed us from the awful curse (Galatians 3:13).

The death to which we were subject is physical, spiritual and eternal. Since sin is cosmic treason against the Infinite God, the only proper punishment is infinite death. This is the reason Hell is eternal. Eternity is not long enough to satisfy the wrath and hatred of an Infinitely Holy and Just God. After a million years in hell, the unsaved sinner is still under the penalty of the law. Hell will not purge him of his sin. And so Hell has to go on forever.

Since Christ is an Infinite Person, He was able to undergo the wrath of God and suffer eternal punishment in a moment of time. Christ is the God Man. His Manhood is joined to His Deity in such a way as it could be said that we were purchased by the very blood of God (Acts 20:28). All the sins of every elect sinner were put upon Christ and He became a sin Bearer.

Christ passively obeyed God by willingly dying for the sins of His people. No man took His Life, but He laid it down (John 10:18). He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” Christ became obedient unto death, even the cruel and ignominious death of the cross. He was numbered with us transgressors. He was treated by God as if he were a sinner Himself, though He was perfectly sinless.

It is by such perfect obedience that all who trust in Christ Alone are made righteous. Believers are justified by the active and passive obedience of Christ. As dear old Isaac Watts expressed it,
“The best obedience of my hands
dares not appear before Thy throne.
But faith can answer Thy demands
by pleading what my Lord has done.”

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