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, March 29, 2015

The Memory of the Just

(Article for publication week of 4-2-2015 AD)
"The memory of the just is blessed" (Proverbs 10:7).
During the month of April we will be observing Confederate Heritage Month here in the Sovereign State of Mississippi, and Confederate Memorial Day will be on Monday April 27. This will be a good time for us to reflect on the Christian significance of the Southern Cause and to honour our ancestors who fought for the Confederacy. Almost all of us who are native born Southerners have ancestors who were soldiers in the Confederate Army. Many of them were wounded and many died fighting in defence of their homes and for States's Rights and Home Rule, and for the Christian Culture of the South. I take delight in honouring my great-great grandfather, Elisha Edwards who belonged to Company D of the 6th Infantry Regiment , A.K.A. the Lowery Rifles, organised in Smith County. Grandpa Edwards took a mini ball in the stomach at Shiloh, but the Lord Spared him from death and he fought for the South until the end of the war. And, of course most all of my kindred from the Floyd, Shows and Maddox lines all fought for their Homeland, and as I say, most all of you who are native born Southerners have ancestors who fought for the Confederacy. The scriptures command us to "give honour to whom honour is due," and God's Law commands us to honour our Fathers and our Mothers. So we do well here in Mississippi to observe Confederate Heritage Month to honour our noble forefathers.
Much could be said concerning the political causes of the War for Southern Independence. (Contrary to the propaganda spewed forth in the government schools, there was never an American "civil" war. A civil war is a war in which two factions are fighting for control of the same government. Our Southern Forefathers were not trying to take over the government of the United States, but they seceded from the United States in the same way as the original thirteen colonies seceded from Great Britain.All our forefathers wanted was to be left alone. As General Lee once said, " all the South has ever wanted is the Old Constitution as bequeathed to us by our Fathers.") But the political reasons for the War are beyond the scope of this article. Our business this week is to point out the Christian significance of the Southern Cause.
Rev. Steve Wilkins, pastor of Audubon Drive Presbyterian Church in Monroe, Louisiana delivered a wonderful series of lectures when he was pastor in Forest, Mississippi, entitled "America- The First 350 years,” in which he shows that the underlying difference between the South and the North in the years leading up to the War were primarily religious. The North was increasingly becoming Arminian and Unitarian, and the South was a bastion of historic, orthodox Calvinism. The North had become secular and industrialised, while the South maintained an agrarian and Biblically based culture. You would do well to obtain a set of Pastor Wilkins' lectures. The striking differences between the North and South is documented by Dr. Robert Louis Dabney in his book, "Defence of Virginia and the South." One of the notable things Dr. Dabney pointed out that in all of the slave holding states in the year 1860 there were less than 2,000 people incarcerated in jails and prisons. On the other hand, in the so-called "free" states there were over 20,000 people incarcerated (there are now more than that in Mississippi alone). The South was a peaceful bastion of Biblical Christianity adhering to principles of Biblical law, while the North had forsaken their Biblical moorings and was becoming secular, barbaric and lawless. Our Forefathers fought to preserve the Old Order where every man dwelt in peace under his own vine and his own fig tree. When you look at the sorry and immoral state of the South in which we live, remember that is what your great-great grandfather fought to try to stop. "The memory of the just is blessed."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sanctification and Justification

(Article for publication week of 3-26- AD 2015)
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (homosexuals), nor abusers of themselves with mankind (sodomites), nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-11).
We see from this text the glorious truth that God saves the vilest of sinners. Dear reader, there is no sin so small that it does not deserve eternal damnation, yet there is no sin so great that it will not be forgiven them that repent. Dear reader, though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow by repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
But another thing we see in our text is that justification and sanctification are always found in the same persons. You see, these two glorious doctrines are to be distinguished, but they may never be separated. These saved sinners to whom Paul writes were washed from their sins by the justifying righteousness of Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. And this is true of every sinner that God saves by His sovereign grace.
Now, as I say, justification and sanctification are to be distinguished, but not separated; yet it is vital that they be distinguished. Confusion of justification and sanctification is at the root of much, if not most theological error. Justification is an "act" of God's free grace;  sanctification is a "work" of God's free grace. Justification has to do with a believer's legal standing before God; sanctification has to do with the believer's new nature. Justification is a declaration that God makes concerning the believer; sanctification is a new disposition that God works in him. Justification takes care of a sinner's bad record with God; sanctification takes care of the bad heart within the sinner. Justification is completely objective; sanctification is subjective and experimental. Justification is once for all; sanctification is progressive. Justification is by imputation of Christ's righteousness; sanctification is by impartation of a new nature (there is a great difference between imputation and impartation, but the believer is the object of both, and no one can be saved without both imputed righteousness and imparted holiness).
Augustus Toplady expressed the doctrines of justification and sanctification sublimely and succinctly in the hymn "Rock of Ages" (incidentally the favourite hymn of President Jefferson Davis and General JEB Stuart), thusly: "be of sin the double cure, cleanse me from its guilt and power." There it is- justification cleanses the believing sinner from the guilt of sin, and sanctification cleanses him from the power of sin. Both of these are absolutely necessary for salvation. The poor sinner must be cleansed from both the guilt and power of sin. This God does for those He saves. Dear reader, have you been saved from both the guilt and power of sin?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Chosen to be Saved Through Holiness

(Article for  publication week of 3-12-2015)
"But we are bound to give thanks for you brethren beloved of the Lord, for God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto He called you by our gospel , to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Thessalonians 2:13-14).
Once again the inspired Apostle takes us back to the fountainhead of salvation, that is eternal, sovereign, gracious, free and discriminating election. When Paul writes, "from the beginning," he is not pointing us to a specific time, but to the unalterable decree of God from eternity. The salvation of everyone who would ever believe in Christ was settled before the foundation of the world in a time when there was not time, for our Great God is unbounded by what we call "time." Dear Reader, the awful truth of God's word is that if God did not choose you to be saved, you will never be saved. And if you were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, you shall certainly be saved. Now you put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Our text this week declares both the end and the means of sovereign election. The end of God's decree is the salvation of all God's elect. All the devils in hell cannot keep God from saving all His chosen ones. God is absolutely sovereign, and what He has decreed must come to pass. God's decree cannot be altered or changed by men nor devils. Nor will He ever change what He has decreed, for is unchangeable and is of one mind and none can turn Him (Job 23:13).
But now (and note well), God has not only decreed the end of our salvation, but all the means thereunto. By "means" we are not suggesting that God needs any help from puny man to save His people, but we are declaring the plain sense of our text, supported by the whole Bible that God in His sovereignty is pleased to use means to accomplish His purposes. Firstly, God has ordained ordinary means. He has ordained the preaching of the gospel. Our text plainly declares, "He called you by our gospel." Christ has commissioned His Church through her Apostles to preach the gospel in its letter and outward form to every rational creature that we can get to listen. This is the ordinary means by which God outwardly calls sinners as sinners to be saved. That is the reason we preach the gospel in our home church, and wherever we have opportunity, and it is the reason we write this article each week, and the reason we witness to everyone we can get to listen.
But, secondly, God Has ordained extraordinary means to save His elect. Without extraordinary means, the ordinary means of the gospel will accomplish nothing. These extraordinary means are the belief of the truth and sanctification of the Spirit. Belief of the truth is nothing less than extraordinary, for faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). And sanctification of the spirit is indeed extraordinary. It is nothing less than Divine Omnipotence that takes an unholy sinner and makes him a partaker of the divine nature (II Peter 1:4). No one is saved apart from being made holy by the direct agency of the Holy Ghost. Note well, the text says that it is through sanctification that we are chosen to salvation. God will never take any sinner to heaven without first making him holy, and that is the gospel truth.
Our text makes it plain that the doctrines of grace do not in any way tend to licentiousness as we have been charged by our opponents. I am reminded of an anecdote regarding Mr. William Gadsby, who was a faithful Particular Baptist preacher in Manchester, England in the first half of the nineteenth century. One of his Arminian friends said to him, "Mr Gadsby the doctrine you preach (the doctrines of grace) lead men to licentiousness." Mr. Gadsby replied, "do they lead me to licentiousness?"  His friend answered, "no not you " (for Mr. Gadsby was a most pious man). Mr Gadsby asked, "do they lead my church members to licentiousness?" The answer was, " certainly not" (for Mr. Gadsby's members were the most pious in Manchester). Mr. Gadsby then asked his Arminian friend, "well, then, do they lead you to licentiousness?" To which he replied, no, for I do not believe what you preach." So Mr. Gadsby said finally, "well if the gospel I preach leads neither believer nor unbeliever to licentiousness, pray tell whom does it lead to licentiousness?!" Enough said!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Chosen to be Holy

(Article for publication week of 3-5- AD 2015)

"According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:" (Ephesians 1:4).
Our text takes us all the way back to the very fountainhead of our salvation- eternal, free and sovereign election. Before the foundation of the world God the Father chose a people in His Eternal Son to be saved and predestinated them unto eternal glory. Salvation sprang from the Wisdom of God. Salvation is of the Lord! God from all eternity made a covenant with Himself whereby He gave a people to His Son. At the appointed time the Son of God came into the world to make a real atonement for all His sheep. The Holy Spirit comes with all His quickening powers and effectually calls every heir of promise from death in trespasses and sin and translates them into the kingdom of Christ. Believer, here is a truth in which you will eternally rejoice, salvation is all of the Lord! You are saved not because of anything that you did or earned, but because of gracious election.
Now let us see unto what we have been chosen. God has chosen His people to be righteous ("without blame") and sanctified ("holy"). First of all God has chosen His people to be righteous. That is , in His eternal decree, God saw His people in their covenant Head, the Lord Jesus Christ Who is all their righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6). God has imputed the righteousness of His Own Eternal Son to the account of His people therefore they can never be condemned, for Christ has died for them and it is God Who justifies (Romans 8:32-34). If I could introduce a new word into our Mother Tongue it would be the word "uncondemnable." That is the glorious state of God's elect, they are not only un-condemned, they are "uncondemnable." God's Holy law cannot condemn them, for Christ has kept the law for us and His obedience is imputed to us as if it were out very own. Further, Christ has suffered the proper penalty for our law-breaking by His vicarious sufferings and He is raised from the dead for our justification. All the devils in hell can never condemn one of God's chosen ones , though they try. God chose us to be without blame and by His sovereign grace we are eternally justified.
But please notice further that God has chosen His people to be holy. Thus we see that justification and sanctification are always found in the same characters. There is no such thing as a person being justified without also being sanctified. Nor can a person ever live a holy life without the foundation of being justified by imputed righteousness. Our text is one of many where justification and sanctification are put together. Justification and sanctification are to be distinguished, but never to be separated. Every one that God has chosen in Christ to be saved has the imputed righteousness of Christ, and the Holy Spirit by His regenerating Power imparts the holy nature of God to them also (II Peter 1:4). Being made a partaker of the divine nature, with the Holy Spirit working in us both to will and to do of God's good pleasure, we are enabled to pursue holiness, and imperfectly but truly be holy as God is holy. Righteousness and holiness are the result of God's eternal election as our text plainly shows. Therefore, to preach election without also preaching holiness is only part of the gospel. Let no one imagine themselves to be among God's elect who is not in pursuit of holiness (Hebrews 12:14) for He has chosen His people to be holy and without blame.