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, October 27, 2013

The Set Time of Conversion

(Article for publication week of 10-31- AD 2013)

“But when it pleased God, Who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me…” (Galatians 1:15-16b).

One of the most soul destructive lies being told in your day and mine is the lie that a lost sinner can get saved any time he pleases. It is popularly believed and taught that a lost sinner can exercise his “free” will and be saved at his own leisure. This error is confirming multitudes in their pride and rebellion against God, and sealing them in their damnation.

Contrary to all this, the Apostle Paul declared that he was converted “when it pleased God.” No doubt it would have pleased the Church if Saul of Tarsus had been converted before he had consented to the persecution of so many Christians. Perhaps it would have pleased the martyr Stephen if Saul of Tarsus had been saved before he consented to his being stoned to death. I don’t know if you ever thought about it, but if Stephen had not been stoned to death we would not have that glorious account of his triumphant entry into heaven recorded for us in the end of Acts 7.

The conversion of the Apostle Paul (AKA Saul of Tarsus) is a prototype of every conversion (I Timothy 1:16). Paul’s account of his own conversion here in Galatians 1:15-16 tells us two important things about true conversion. First of all, we see that true conversion is a revelation of Christ to us. Secondly we see that sinners are converted at God’s appointed time, for Paul plainly says here that he was converted “when it pleased God.”

God Who works all things after the counsel of His Own will (Ephesians 1:11), has a set time for all things, including, and perhaps we ought to say especially, the conversion of every one of His elect. God will not fail to convert every one of His elect, and He will convert them when it pleases Him. Not one sheep for whom Christ died shall fail to be enfolded. In our text today Paul (as he does in all of his inspired writings) gives all glory to God for his salvation, and traces it all back to the eternal purpose of God. Paul was saved as every other sinner is ever saved, and that is by free and sovereign grace. Our text today completely destroys the idea that a sinner can cooperate in his own salvation by his so-called “free will.” Every sinner that has ever become experimentally acquainted with Christ (for that is what conversion is), had Christ revealed to him at God’s appointed time.

Conversion cannot be rushed. The modern day professing church is (I fear) being filled with those who have been rushed into pseudo-conversion by extra-Biblical methods. Preachers take warning and note well- you may rush a person into a “decision”, or into “accepting Christ”, or into “joining the church”, but you cannot rush true conversion.

Now, here is a sweet encouragement and cordial for downcast souls. Divine Omnipotence is on your side! Poor awakened sinner, have you been seeking peace for your soul, and have been unable to obtain it? Well, I will tell you that is a good sign that God has already begun a good work in you, and that your set time has come! Look to Christ the Saviour of sinners as He is revealed to you by the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Conversion - A Revelation

(Article for publication week of 10-24- AD 2013)

“But when it pleased God, Who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called my by His grace, to reveal His Son in me…. (Galatians 1:15-16). We have been trying to show you the nature of true conversion, praying that you may not miss the strait gate that leads to life. In the preceding articles we showed that conversion is nothing less than a turning from idolatry to serve God (I Thessalonians 1:9). Our text this week says that conversion is nothing less than the revelation of Christ to the soul. In our text Paul is relating his own experience of grace. There was a time when Baptist Churches would not receive a person into membership unless they could give a credible testimony of the work of Christ in their souls. There was a time when Baptist preachers would not baptize a person unless they could relate a personal experience of grace. (The Narrow Way is not a denominational column, but your humble writer is not ashamed to be known as a Baptist of the Old School.)

Paul says here that he was converted by a revelation of Christ to his soul. God revealed His Son in Paul. And this is what happens to every sinner converted by God. We see from this text that a person may have intellectual knowledge of Christ, without actually knowing Christ. There is a vast and eternal difference. Many of us knew about Christ from infancy. For myself, I was taken to the House of God from infancy. My parents taught me of Christ. I cannot remember when I did not know that Jesus Christ was the Son of God who died to save His people from their sins. But this head knowledge was not conversion. (I write this not to discourage you from teaching your children and taking them to church, but simply to show that there must be more than head knowledge for a person to be saved.) But when God revealed His Son in me, I came to actually know Christ experimentally.

When a person comes to know Christ by revelation, it is greatly different from just knowing about Christ. I will illustrate. One of my dearest friends is Pastor John Ashwood from Muskogee, Oklahoma. I first heard of him in about 1990 from mutual friends. I knew of his good reputation and his faithfulness to preach the gospel. I even heard him preach by tape recording. But then one evening in the fall of 1995, the phone rang and the voice on the other end said, “This is John Ashwood.” He had heard from mutual friends that I was going through a terrible trial, and he called to encourage me and tell me he would pray for me. The next spring I met him in person. Now I can say that I actually know John Ashwood. Previous to meeting him on the phone and in person, I could only say that I knew about him. This is the difference in knowing about Christ, and actually knowing Christ.

Now the revelation of Christ to the soul comes not by Christ picking up the phone and calling us. It does not come by our seeing Him with our physical eyes. Nor does it come by our having a dream, or hearing a voice in our head, or seeing a vision. No! Christ is revealed in the soul by the Holy Spirit of God working in us by regeneration and effectual calling so that we get into contact with the living Christ. When that happens, a poor sinner comes to love this precious Saviour for He believes what the Bible says about His Glorious Person and Work. Christ is made altogether lovely to his soul, and he can truly say that Christ is precious to him.

This is a little of what it means to be truly converted to Christ by revelation. Poor sinner, have I traced out your experience?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Turn Thou Me

(Article for publication week of 10-17- AD 2013)

“I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; ‘Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn Thou me, and I shall be turned; for Thou art the Lord my God” (Jeremiah 31:18). Except a sinner turn from his sins, and turn to Christ, that sinner shall surely perish (I Thessalonians 1:9; Luke 13:5). And the solemn fact of the matter is that no sinner will ever turn from his sins and repent except the Lord turn him. You are shut up to the sovereign will and mercy of God. The worst thing that could ever happen to you would be for the Lord to leave you alone and let you perish in your sins. Then it must be said of you as did our Lord of Judas Iscariot, “it would have been good if that man had not been born”!

Lost sinners cannot convert themselves. Conversion is a work of Omnipotence. Our Lord has solemnly declared in John 6:44, “no man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” Poor sinner, do you, like Ephraim bemoaning himself, feel your utter inability? Do you feel helpless and hopeless as you consider the eternal state of your soul? Do you long to be free from your burden of sin, and realize that it is greater than you can bear? Well, I will give you a word of hope and encouragement. Such feelings are hopeful signs that the Lord may already be turning you.

Now, let us see that there are two sides to conversion. There is the human sign. I Thessalonians 1:9 says that a Christian is one who has turned from idols to serve the living and true God. Then there is the Divine side, as we see in our text today that it is God Who actually turns the sinner. When God turns a sinner by efficacious grace, that sinner will surely turn from his sins and come in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ. In the initial work of conversion, God is active and the elect sinner is completely passive. But, mark this well- when God begins a good work of grace in the sinner, that sinner become active. And the very first action we see in one who has been turned by efficacious grace is that he bemoans himself. Seeing his utter depravity, the poor sinner, stripped of all his self righteousness begins to cry to a Sovereign God Who has mercy upon whom He will, “Lord have mercy upon me a poor sinner, and turn Thou me or I shall surely perish”!

Now dear Reader, if you are bemoaning your lost condition and crying out to God for mercy, it is as I say a hopeful sign. I urge you to continue to cry out to God and ask Him to turn you, that you may be turned. You have no power or ability in yourself to convert yourself. Neither I nor any other preacher has such power. But the LORD has the power to draw you today to the Saviour of sinners. May the Lord reveal Himself to you today as the Lord thy God.