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!

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