No, The ‘Ordained To Eternal Life’ In Acts 13:48 Does Not Mean That God Saved People Before They Were Born As Calvinism Erroneously Teaches

In Acts 13:48, the Bible shows us how God ordained and appointed the gospel to go to the Gentiles as prophesied in the Old Testament that they might believe, this is not a proof text for Calvinism.

I read an article earlier today called The Bible Verse That Made Me a Calvinist and it’s sad little story about a man who reads one verse in the book of the Acts of the Apostles and has the stunning revelation that yes, John Calvin was right about everything. So right, in fact, that the author decides, as John MacArthur teaches, that it’s John Calvin and not Paul who is actually the apostle to the Church Age, and it’s Calvin’s doctrine we are to follow. This type of result is typical of shallow study and sloppy exegesis, the antithesis of 2 Timothy 2:15.

“And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48 (KJB)

Someone once remarked that ‘a text without a context is a pretext for a proof text’, and that’s pretty much ‘right on the money’ as the Bible is filled with verses that, removed from the safe mooring of their context, yield wildly differing results. In Acts 13:44-52, the context is the hardness of the Jews hearts, and their refusal to believe the gospel. The Bible doesn’t say they can’t believe, it says they refused to believe, and because of their refusal, God turns to a group of people who will believe, the Gentiles. That the Gentiles would one day hear and believe the gospel is an Old Testament prophecy found in places like Isaiah 49:6 and Isaiah 60:3 in your King James Bible.

“Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” Acts 13:46 (KJB)

Calvinism may teach, and it does, that no one gets saved until God ‘regenerates you’ in order for you to be able to believe, and then you become born again after God ‘flips your switch’. But this is not what your Bible teaches, it says the opposite of that. In Matthew 23:37, Jesus calls out the Jews for refusing to believe Him and His teachings, clearly showing they could believe if they had wanted to. In Acts 28:23-27, our apostle Paul speaks something very similar to what Jesus said in Matthew, again placing all the responsibility for the disbelief of the Jews on themselves, and not on God for not ‘regenerating’ them. Then in verse 28, Paul gives us a key to unlock Acts 13:48 as we see here:

“Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” Acts 28:28 (KJB)

What did God do? He ordained the gospel to go to the Gentiles, just like it did to Cornelius in Acts 10:1-44, He appointed them the opportunity to have the gospel preached to them that some might believe. The Bible is not saying that God ordained and appointed individuals to salvation before they believed the gospel, rather that He was no longer dealing just with Israel. Romans 10:9-17 is quite clear that a person becomes saved when they call upon the name of the Lord and confess Him as Saviour after they’ve had the gospel preached to them. Paul repeats this theme again in Ephesians 1:10-14 where he shows us that a person gets saved after they hear the gospel preached, they believe it, receive it, and then are sealed unto the day of redemption by the Holy Spirit.

Remember Cornelius? The Bible says that he was a ‘just man’ and one that ‘feareth God’, who had a ‘good report’ among all who knew him. But there was something pretty huge that Cornelius did not have, he wasn’t saved. So, God appeared to Peter and ordained him to go and give Cornelius the gospel on an appointed day, and that’s exactly what happened. Peter preached the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ to Cornelius, and the man got saved after he believed what Peter preached. What does Calvinism have to say about any of this? Nothing, because there is not one iota of Calvinism anywhere needed to bring this about. Now let’s wrap this whole thing up, shall we?

Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.” Acts 11:14 (KJB)

The Greek word used for ‘ordained’ is tetagmenoi which means ‘to put in order, to station, to place in a certain order, to arrange, to assign a place, to appoint’. This is just what God did when He turned to the Gentiles, as Paul says, and ordains or appoints them the opportunity to hear and believe the gospel. To come to any other conclusion is simply bowing to the filter of Calvinism, and being ‘willing ignorant’ of the abundance of scripture, rightly divided and in context, showing Calvin to be in grievous error. Don’t you make the same mistake.

John MacArthur Led 3,500 Pastors To Believe On John Calvin

This is typical MacArthur garbage. You will notice that Mac doesn’t defend Calvinism from the Bible, which you can’t do, but instead appeals to the “suffering and study” of Calvin as the reason why we should accept the private interpretation of Calvinism.

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