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, February 24, 2013

The Gift of Faith

(Article for publication week of 2-27-AD 2013)

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

God saves sinners in such a way as to exclude all human boasting. All the glory for salvation is to God Alone Who saves men graciously from first to last. Every part of salvation, from first to last is all of the Lord. You can claim no credit for your own, or another's salvation. Our text says that salvation is all of God's free and sovereign grace.

It is interesting, delightful, and enlightening to note that salvation is said in this place to be "by" grace, "through" faith." We have been considering in our Narrow Way articles for about a year now the doctrine of justification, the "heart of the gospel" (Elder Jimmy Barber). Having shown the ground of justification as the Imputed Righteousness of Christ, and the procuring Cause of justification as God's free and sovereign grace, we are now considering the Instrument of justification, as being faith alone. It is not the sinner's faith which saves him, but rather it is the object of faith, the Lord Jesus Christ that saves. The justifying righteousness of Christ is received by faith alone. There is no other way that it comes to us. The Imputed Righteousness of Christ comes to us through the channel, or conduit of faith, so our text here in Ephesians says that we are saved "by grace", "through faith".

Now I will ask you who are believers, "why did you believe in Christ, while others refuse so to do?" Well our text gives us the Biblical reason- God gives the grace of faith to some, and withholds it from others. Our text plainly says that faith is a gift of God. The lost sinner, being "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1) has no power to believe, repent or comply with gospel terms, or do anything to save himself or help save himself. By nature it is true of all men that they "have not faith" (II Thessalonians 3:2). If you are believing in Christ for your Whole and Sole Righteousness, it is not because you are a smarter sinner than some others, but because God in mercy drew you to Himself. Our Lord Jesus Christ plainly declared in John 6:44, "no man can come to me, except the Father which sent me draw him." God makes His people willing in the day of His power (Psalm 110:3) to repent and believe and so they come to Christ most freely. If you have come to Christ as a poor sinner trusting in Him Alone for salvation, it is because the Lord drew you to Himself.

You see how the Bible way of salvation excludes all boasting by sinners? You can claim no credit for any aspect of salvation, including your faith in Christ, for even faith itself is entirely of God's grace. If God had not shown mercy to you, you would still be in unbelief, and apart from the Saviour. Salvation is a free gift, including the faith to believe in Christ. Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Faith and Grace

(Article for publication week of 2-20-AD 2013)

"Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace;" (Romans 4:16). To say that a sinner is justified by faith is synonymous with saying he is justified by grace, as our text this week plainly shows. When a poor sinner trusts in Christ Alone for salvation, he simply receives what God has graciously provided in His Eternal and Coequal Son. Believing in Christ for salvation is all of God's sovereign grace.

First of all, please note well that our text this week opens with "therefore." In other words Paul is summarising all he has written up to this point in Romans. The pronoun "it" in our text refers to the scheme of justification which is the major theme and argument of the Roman letter. Justification is of faith, that it might be by grace.

Believing in Christ for salvation is the very opposite of trying to earn salvation by your own works as Paul plainly says in Romans 3:28 ("Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."), and in Romans 4:5 (" but to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness"). You see in these two verses that faith and works are contrasted, as grace is contrasted with works in places like Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 11:6; and II Timothy 1:9.

Furthermore, faith may be shown to be all of grace by the fact that faith itself is the gift of God, as Ephesians 2:8-9 so plainly shows. No one has faith in and of himself. Faith is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Faith is produced by regeneration, and necessarily follows it, but never precedes it (John 1:12-13). It is all of grace that any sinner is able to believe in Christ for salvation.

When a sinner believes in Christ for his whole and sole Righteousness, he does not contribute anything to his own salvation. God furnishes everything; we furnish nothing. I want you to get this straight now; faith is not man's part in his own salvation. You have no part in salvation, for it is all of the Lord (Jonah 2:9). Salvation is not brought about by anything that a sinner does, but it is the production of the Triune God. God does not justify a man by doing most of the work, and then leaving it up to sinners to finish what he Himself has begun. A thousand times no! Salvation is all of the Lord from first to last. Salvation is by the electing love of the Father, the Imputed Righteousness of the Son, and the converting power of the Holy Spirit. We have nothing we can offer to God but sin. If we tried to add anything to what God has done through His Son, it would only defile it.

Saving faith is an empty hand that simply receives what Christ has done. Augustus Toplady expressed justification by faith in the hymn "Rock of Ages" when he wrote "nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling." Have you ever come to Christ like that? Have you ever thrown yourself on the mercy of God and just cried out, "Lord have mercy on me the sinner"? Have you come to the end of yourself to see that all your efforts and pretended self righteousness was all in vain? Well, I have good news for you! There is salvation free and full for such. This is saving and justifying faith, to see yourself as utterly lost and ruined, and flee to Christ for your only Refuge. May the Blessed Spirit Who moves like the wind work in your hearts this very moment and grant you grace to believe in Christ Alone for everlasting salvation.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

All Them That Believe

(Article for publication week of 2-13- AD 2013)

“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” (Romans 3:22).

Everyone who truly believes in Christ for his whole and sole righteousness is justified by God, and saved with an everlasting salvation. The promise of the gospel is to “all them that believe,” not all them that “work”. The scriptures make it plain and clear that salvation flows to a person by faith, not works. Romans 4: 5 plainly says, “but to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” The very righteousness of God is unto and upon all them that believe in Christ for their whole and sole righteousness.

Note well the believer has the very righteousness of God upon him. In order to be saved and spend eternity in heaven with God, you must be as righteous as He is, and our text says that all that believe have that righteousness upon them. It is not a mixture of your righteousness and God’s, it is all His righteousness. So Paul says in Philippians 3:9, “and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

Please further note that the righteousness of God is “upon” the believer, not “in “ the believer. This is a vital point that I want you to have clear in your mind. Confusion between justification and sanctification is the root of many, perhaps most doctrinal errors. To be sure, God does put a new nature in a believer, but that new nature that follows after peace with all men and holiness (Hebrews 12:14) is not what gives the believer a right standing before God. It is having the very righteousness of God as his covering that gives the believer access to God and declares him to be right with God.

Next, let us see that our text tells us something wonderful about justifying, that is saving faith. The faith that justifies is said to be the “faith of Jesus Christ.” Justifying faith is a faith of which Christ is the “Author and finisher” (Hebrews 12:2). To be Biblically precise, we must see that saving faith is not a production of man, but rather a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). The only reason one man believes in Christ and another does not is that Christ gifts a person to believe in Christ. When our text speaks concerning the “faith of Jesus Christ,” it is telling us that faith is a gift of Jesus Christ to His people, and they look to Him alone for their whole and sole righteousness. I hope you can see this, for it is a vital and important truth of the Word. I want you to see that your faith is not in any sense a procuring cause of salvation. Salvation is all of grace from first to last, and even the faith whereby one is enabled to come to Christ is a gracious gift from God. The point of our text is that God furnishes everything necessary for justification, and the believer furnishes nothing. “Salvation is of the Lord”!

What an encouraging text for us this week! What a glorious gospel to preach to sinners! The very righteousness of God is upon all them that believe in Christ. Are you trusting in Christ Alone for your salvation? If so God has declared you as righteous as Himself. His righteousness is upon you personally, and really. There is no condemnation to you, and not one charge can be brought against you. Salvation is unto and upon all them that believe. May the Lord bless you my dear readers.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Justification by Faith

(Article for publication week of 2-6-AD 2013)

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

This week we return to our series on the doctrine of justification, the article of faith upon which the Church stands or falls (Martin Luther). We have given a fairly lengthy treatment of the cause of justification being God’s sovereign grace, and the sole grounds of justification, that is the imputed righteousness of Christ. If you missed any of those articles, or wish to read them again you may find them at matthewsevenfourteen.blogspot.com.

First of all this week I want to remind you that justification is a legal term. To be justified before the law is to stand innocent, or not guilty before the law. The believer in Christ stands in right relation to God’s law because he is justified by the righteousness of Christ (Romans 3:24-25; II Corinthians 5:21; Jeremiah 23:6). It is the righteousness of Christ Alone that enables a believer to stand innocent before God.

Secondly, I want to remind you that justification is a legal declaration about a man, not a change in his disposition. Justification is completely objective and wholly outside of the believer. Justification is an imputation of the righteousness of Another, not the impartation of a new nature. Now, to be sure God does impart a new nature to all those He saves, but that is to be considered under regeneration and sanctification, which we will take up after we have finished with justification. I emphatically declare to you that God does sanctify all that He justifies, but I declare just as emphatically that the holiness imparted to a man in regeneration and sanctification is not what justifies him before God. It is the righteousness of Christ Alone that gives us a right standing before God and puts us in right relation to His holy law.

Having reminded you of these glorious fundamentals, I now will (DV) proceed to show you that it is by faith alone that a sinner receives the justifying righteousness of Christ. Our text this week in Romans 5:1 begins with “therefore”. In other words, Paul the inspired writer of Romans is summing up and drawing a conclusion from all he has written before. When you are reading through the Book of Romans, or any of the New Testament epistles, keep in mind you are not reading a collection of thoughts, but a calculated argument. Many people have gone off on tangents by taking a verse out of its context, and we need to be careful about that. Paul’s conclusion to which he brings us at this place in his argument is that since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God. The believer is at peace with God because God considers him as righteous as His Own Son! That is shouting ground is it not?! God holds no enmity for His people because they are righteous legally in God’s court of judgment.

“Justified by faith” is a summary clause of everything that Paul says in the first four chapters of Romans. We are justified by faith. We are justified by grace. We are justified by Christ. All three of these expressions are saying the same thing in different words. Each of these expressions is looking at justification from different aspects. It is like taking a diamond and turning it in your fingers and viewing it from different angles.

I want to close this week by saying that no one is saved apart from a living and active faith in Christ as the only Saviour of sinners. And I also want to encourage the heart of every one of you who have received Christ as your Saviour that you are justified before God, and that forever. No one who truly believes in Christ shall be disappointed. God bless you all, my dear readers.