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 30, 2012

Peace with God

(Article for publication week of 10-3- AD 2012)

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” (Romans 5:1).

Dear reader, can you say that you have “peace with God”? To be sure there are multitudes who have a false peace. There are many who have had their wounds healed slightly by some false prophet, and they are going on to hell with a false sense of security. They cry “peace, peace”, but there is no peace.

The only way you will ever have peace with God is to be justified by faith. The only way you can have peace with God is through His eternal Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. You can only have peace with God on His terms.

Our text opens with a “therefore”. This is a great help in our interpretation of the word. In other words, after Paul has made his arguments, he draws a conclusion. Because of everything he has written to us in the first four chapters of Romans, he comes to this glorious conclusion, that the believer in Christ, and only the believer in Christ has peace with God. In Romans 1:18-3:19 Paul was inspired to show us that all men without exception are under the wrath of God. I shudder to write it! “The wrath of God”! Dear reader do you not see that in your natural state you are an object of God’s holy and just wrath? Do you not see that you deserve that wrath? And if you remain as you are without Christ, the wrath of God will come pouring down on you with the fires of eternal vengeance. OH! I just pray that the Holy Spirit will awaken you to that fact, that you are under God’s wrath. This is how the Apostle starts, and it is the place that all preachers must start, that is to get people lost, for Christ only saves lost people. This is the great need of the hour, for sinners to see their lost and ruined estate.

But then, after he shows us our lost condition, he shows us how God justifies elect sinners. God justifies His people by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ Alone. The very righteousness of God is imputed to all who believe in Christ. Since the believer is declared as righteous as God (for he surely is), the believer has peace with God. The sins that made us fit for God’s wrath and condemnation are all taken away by the redeeming work of Christ.

Peace with God! Neighbours that is shouting ground! I am on good terms with God because my sins are taken away, and the righteousness of Christ (which is the righteousness of God, for he is verily God) is imputed to me.

This is true and genuine peace. The believer in Christ may have peace in his soul, though there may be wars and rumours of war all about him. Though this life is attended by many conflicts, the child of God has true peace because he has been saved from his sins and reconciled to God. The only way you will ever have that kind of peace is by believing in Christ for your salvation. May the Lord grant it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Passive Obedience of Christ

(Article for publication week of 9-26-2012 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.”

(Columnists note: this article was originally planned for 8-29. Due to my being late for the deadline, it was not run that week. It was not the editor’s fault, it was all your columnist’s fault. It should have followed the article entitled “the “Active Obedience of Christ.” Should any wish to read the articles in their original sequence, you may do so by visiting the matthewsevenfourteen blogsite.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone

(Article for publication week of 9-19- AD 2012)

“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” (Romans 3:24-25).

The Reformers used to say, that justification is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ Alone. Of course the True Church was preaching and teaching these things long before the Reformation, as the pre- Reformation confessions of such groups as the Waldenses will show. (If any of you would like to know more of how the gospel was preached and maintained in the centuries before the Reformation, I have a wealth of information in my library that I would love to share with you. I’d love for you to come drink a cup of coffee or a glass of ice tea with me, and we can visit in the things of the Lord.) Be that as it may, we are thankful for men like Luther and Calvin and Zwingli and so many others that the Lord used to declare these truths so powerfully back in the sixteenth century, although, we repeat for emphasis, that the true church was preaching these things all along, and the Lord did not leave Himself without a witness during the centuries between the death of the Apostles and the Reformation.

This glorious gospel of “grace alone, faith alone, Christ Alone” is clearly set forth in our text this week. At first glance, it appears that this is a contradictory statement, to say three different things “alone” justify us. But as we shall see, it is not contradictory at all, but rather it is looking at justification from three different aspects. Note well, I did not say that there are different ways that a man is justified, but I said, it is three different aspects of justification.

Justified by grace, justified by faith, and justified by Christ are three different ways of saying the same thing. When we say “justified by grace”, we are speaking of the moving cause of justification. It was the free and sovereign grace of God that moved Him to justify and save His people. The cause of justification is found completely in God and His grace, and not of anything found in the elect sinner. We see this in the expression “justified freely by His grace”. We have written on this before, but for emphasis, clarity, and for the sake of those who missed previous articles, I remind you the word translated “freely” in our text means “without a cause”. There is no cause in us for God to save us; the cause is in His Divine, sovereign, and free grace.

When we say “justified by Christ”, we are speaking of the grounds of our justification. Our text this week says plainly, “His righteousness”. The whole and sole grounds of salvation is in the righteousness of Christ, worked out by Him Alone by His active and passive obedience (See Jeremiah 23:6,e.g., and previous Narrow Way articles). Again, this is another way of saying justified by grace, because it is by Christ’s imputed righteousness that a sinner is saved without any works, merits, or efforts on the sinner’s part.

When we say, “justified by faith”, we speak of the instrumentality of justification. Our text this week says “through faith”. It is by faith alone that the elect sinner receives the justifying righteousness of Christ. Faith is the only channel through which grace flows. This is another way of saying “saved by grace” (see Roman 4:16), for the elect sinner is justified by Christ, the object of saving faith, and faith is actually a gracious gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).

To quickly summarize this week’s message, let me state it again, and ask you to pay particular attention to the use of our English pronouns. “Justification is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ Alone.” The slight nuances of the use of our English pronouns in this sentence summarizes well the Biblical way of justification in its moving cause, instrumentality and sole grounds. And all of this is discovered in scripture alone, and is to the glory of God Alone.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Great Substitution

(Article for publication week of 9-12-2012 AD)

“For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Corinthians 5:21).

Our text this week tells us that believers in Christ are justified by a great work of substitution. Christ is the Substitute for His elect people.

Let us begin by being sure we understand the use of the pronouns in our text. “He (God the Father) hath made Him (God the Son) to be sin for us (believers in Christ), Who (Christ the Son) knew no sin; that we (God’s elect) might be made the righteousness of God in Him (Christ).” God has made His Dear Son to be sin for His elect people (that is all those who are graced by God to believe in Christ). Christ is the believer’s Substitute.

Now I want you to see that there is no way this could be true except for imputation. The Lord Jesus Christ was made sin by imputation. He Himself was personally and actually without sin. He was holy, harmless, and undefiled and separate from sinners (Hebrews 7:26). There was no deceit in His mouth, and He never did any violence (Isaiah 53:9). No man could convince Him of sin (John 8:46). Our Lord was impeccable, and to even suggest that He could have sinned is the blackest of blasphemies. Our text proclaims that Christ was made to be sin, because all the sins of all His elect people were imputed to Him. That is, God the Father by a judicial act, reckoned His Son as a sinner, because He willingly and gladly agreed to be a Surety and Substitute for His people. I repeat for emphasis, there is no way this could be true except by imputation. Works- mongers who deny imputation would have to twist this text to say that Christ was actually a sinner Himself, again a most vile blasphemy. Imputation is required for Christ to be sinless Himself, and yet be made sin for His people. Our text today is absolute proof of the wholesome Protestant doctrine of imputation. Those who deny imputation deny the very gospel, and it is most questionable if they are Christians (God knoweth infallibly, not us). I am trying to stress how important the doctrine of imputation is to our understanding of the gospel. Imputation must be made clear, and cannot be emphasized too strongly.

Our text says that all the sins of all God’s people were transferred to Christ. And so He was made to be sin. God the Father treated His Son as sinners should be treated, that is He poured out His wrath upon Him! He was just Himself, but He suffered for the unjust, because our sins were counted as His! Oh! My soul behold and wonder! God is determined to punish sin, and He will either punish the sinner, or He will punish the sinner’s Substitute.

Since Christ took our sins as His Own, and truly suffered for them, we (that is believers in Christ) are made the righteousness of God. God by a judicial act regards us in right relation to His law because Christ has fully atoned for all our sins. Note well, it is by imputation that we are made the righteousness of God, for none of us are actually and personally righteous in and of ourselves. God justifies the “ungodly” (Romans 4:5). The believer is not actually righteous any more than Christ is actually a sinner. We are made the righteousness of God because God imputed our sins to Christ, and imputed His righteousness to us. That is the greatest transfer that has ever been!