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.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Prototypical Conversion

(Article for publication week of 8-28- AD 2014)

"And he trembling and astonished said, 'Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?'...." (Acts 9:6).

The conversion of Saul of Tarsus is prototypical of every conversion (I Timothy 1:16). There are some things about the way the way the Apostle Paul (the name by which Saul of Tarsus was known after his conversion) was converted that are a pattern , or model of every conversion. The details and exact experience may differ, but the fundamental change is essentially the same.
First, I will have you note well, that the Lord sought out this old sinner. Saul of Tarsus was not seeking the Lord, but rather he was intent on wiping out Christianity. He hated Christ and His people and was going about to kill the Lord's people. On the day of his conversion, he was headed to Damascus with authority to bind and bring to Jerusalem any of the Lord's disciples that he might find. So it is with each of us without the efficacious grace of God. Not that every lost sinner is actively trying to persecute Christians, but no man has ever sought the Lord until he was first sought of the Lord. In Romans 3:11, the inspired apostle quotes from Psalm 14 and 53, "there is none that seeketh after God." Man is totally depraved and will not seek after God in his natural state. When a poor sinner begins to seek after God, it is because he is being effectually called by the Holy Spirit. Our Lord gave us the blessed promise that all who seek shall surely find (Matthew 7:8), and we are commanded and invited to seek the Lord while he may be found (Isaiah 55:6), but the fact remains that none will seek the Lord in his natural state, and when one begins to seek the Lord, he is being called irresistibly by the Holy Spirit. The scriptures plainly declare this solemn and glorious truth, and the conversion of the Apostle Paul (known as Saul of Tarsus before his conversion) is a clear example of it.
Secondly, we see from the conversion of Saul that there was a saving change in the man. In I Timothy 1:12-16 the Apostle relates what he was like before conversion, and what he was like after conversion. Every sinner saved by grace has a "before" and an "after." Dear reader, do you have a "before" and an "after"? Can you testify of the saving grace of God in your own life experimentally? If not, I fear you are a stranger to the saving work of Christ.
Thirdly, we see from the conversion of Paul that his faith in Christ included absolute surrender to His Lordship. ("Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?") Saving faith is much more than just "accepting Jesus." In fact, you never find that terminology in scripture. Most of you would not be opposed to Christ keeping you out of hell, but you are bound and determined to live your life like you want. Thus you show that you are not saved, you have not been effectually called, and you are not a true believer in Christ. The true believer in Christ has surrendered all to the Lordship of Christ. He has become a devoted (but very imperfect) slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. Dear reader you make an eternally fatal mistake if you suppose that Christ will be your Saviour without being your Lord to rule over you.
Now, none of this is to suggest that every Christian has had as dramatic experience as the Apostle Paul. Indeed, this is one of the reasons we are writing this series on notable examples of saving faith to show that no two converts did or said exactly the same thing. But, every believer has been effectually called by grace and has been truly changed and brought to submission to Christ. Dear reader, have I described you?

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