(Article for Publication Week of 11-14- AD 2013)
“As many as were ordained to eternal life believed:” (Acts 13:48b).
This week we will begin a new series for the Narrow Way on the subject of saving faith. I wish to start here in Acts 13:48 both as a foundational text, and as a connection with our last short series on true conversion and false profession. Last week we had ended by showing that the false professors of Matthew 7:21-23 were never known of Christ in His saving love and purpose. So I wish to bring balm from Gilead and offer a cordial to poor afflicted souls who are distressed in soul and concerned about their spiritual and eternal state.
First, our text today tells us of eternal and sovereign election. Our text today declares that God has ordained by an unalterable decree from before the foundation of the world a multitude of the human race to grace and glory. He has written their names in the Lamb’s Book of life from eternity and their number is so fixed that it cannot be increased or diminished. God chose His people in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4; II Timothy 1:9; II Thessalonians 2:13; Romans 9:11; etc.) and not one shall be eternally lost. Election is a wonderful truth found all through the Bible and no one should be opposed to it. Believers have no reason to oppose election, for we would never have chosen the Lord had He not first chosen us. “My Lord I did not choose you for that could never be. My heart would still refuse You had You not chosen me” (Joseph Conder, Baptist Hymnal page 289, 1991 edition). Nor do unbelievers have any reason to quarrel with election for you have declared you do not want to be saved. You say by your refusing Christ that you do not want to be justified by Him, nor do you want to be made holy by Him.
Secondly, our text declares that everyone that God ordained to salvation has also been ordained to faith in Christ. God has ordained the end of eternal life, and all the means thereunto. Faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8; Galatians 5:22; II Peter 1:1), and He bestows it upon whom He is pleased. God has not only ordained that His people should live with Him in glory, but He has also ordained their effectual calling. So the dear Saviour says in John 6:37, “all that the Father giveth me, shall come to me.”
Thirdly, our text sweetly tells us that all those who believe in Christ are of the elect. By believing in Christ you may make your calling and election sure (II Peter 1:10). God will not allow you to look into the Book of His secret counsels, but He presents to you a lovely Saviour Who is able, willing and ready to save all who will lay down their arms of rebellion and come to him in faith. So the dear Savior of sinners continues in John 6:37, ‘him that cometh to me, I will in wise cast out.” Those of you who are trusting in Christ Alone for salvation may know that God foreordained and predestinated you unto salvation. Election does not bar the door to any man’s salvation. Election is the thing that opens the door. I have been asked, “suppose a man wanted to be saved, but he was not chosen of God, does that mean he can’t be saved.” This is a false and unscriptural supposition for no one wants to be saved from their sins apart from God’s effectual call to repentance and faith. All those who love Christ and look to Him Alone to be saved from their sins were chosen by God. “As many as were ordained to eternal life believed”