"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « Semper Reformanda | Main | Salvation is of the Lord »

    Acts 13:48

    Sometimes, the most profound truths are captured in a single Scripture verse; sometimes, in half a verse. The great and essential salvation doctrine of justification by faith alone was based on half a verse in the book of Habakkuk, chapter 2 and verse 4, namely "the just shall live by faith"; a statement repeated in the New Testament at Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38.

    In the same way, a phrase in Acts 13:48 is loaded with profound insight for us. In context, the apostles had preached the word of God, and simply as a commentary on the event, Luke (the writer) tells us the result he observed:

    "...and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed."

    Luke does not stop to explain this statement. It seems to be just a casual observation on Luke's part. Now Luke is ready to go on to the next thing. Pen (or more likely quill) in hand, he is ready to record for us the next event in the history of the ancient church.

    But wait! Before we rush on to see the next thing that transpires in this exciting drama, lets just stop for a moment to think through the implications of Luke's statement. Luke wrote it, but it was the Holy Spirit who inspired it, and no word here is waisted or superfluous. God intends us to see this event through the lens of His own perspective. He wants us to see something very powerful here.

    What do I mean?

    Well as we pause to consider the phrase, lets ask ourselves three questions:

    "...and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed."

    1. WHICH comes first - believing or being appointed to eternal life?

    There is no getting around it, first there is the appointment to eternal life, and then there is the belief. There is a cause and effect relationship. The cause is the secret and unseen heavenly, eternal decree of God - the setting of an appointment; the effect is what is observed on the earth - the people responding in faith to the gospel. The cause is the appointment by God; the effect is the exercise of faith by man.

    2. Do any MORE believe?

    "... and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed."

    The answer has to be "No." The number of people who believe are NO MORE than the many who were appointed to do so.

    3. Do any LESS believe?

    "... and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed."

    Once again, the answer has to be "No."

    ALL who had the appointment, made the appointment.

    Selah. Think, pause and meditate.

    - John S

    Posted by John Samson on August 30, 2011 11:21 AM

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