THE VERSE MOST HATED BY THOSE WHO PREACH FREE-WILL
“As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed” (Acts 13:48).
Every artifice of human ingenuity has been employed to blunt the sharp edge of this Scripture and to explain away the obvious meaning of these words, but it has been employed in vain, though nothing will ever be able to reconcile this and similar passages to the mind of the natural man. “As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed.”
Here we learn four things:
First, that believing is the consequence AND NOT THE CAUSE of God’s decree.
Second, that a LIMITED NUMBER only are “ordained to eternal life,” for if all men without exception were thus ordained by God, then the words “as many as are a meaningless qualification.
Third, that this “ordination” of God is not to mere external privileges but to “eternal life,” not to service but to SALVATION ITSELF.
Fourth, that ALL—”as many as,” NOT ONE LESS—who are thus ordained by God to eternal life WILL most certainly believe.
The comments of the beloved Spurgeon on the above passage are well worthy of our notice. Said he –
“Attempts have been made to prove that these words do not teach predestination, but these attempts so clearly do violence to language that I shall not waste time in answering them. I read: ‘As many as were ordained to eternal life believed’, and I shall not twist the text but shall glorify the grace of God by ascribing to that grace the faith of every man.
Is it not God who gives the disposition to believe? If men are disposed to have eternal life, does not He—in every case—dispose them? Is it wrong for God to give grace? If it be right for Him to give it, is it wrong for Him to purpose to give it? Would you have Him give it by accident? If it is right for Him to purpose to give grace today, it was right for Him to purpose it before today—and, since He changes not—from eternity.”
[ Quoted from A.W. Pink’s ‘Sovereignty of God’ ]