“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.”
King James Version (KJV)
13:48 As many as were ordained to eternal life - St. Luke does not say fore - ordained. He is not speaking of what was done from eternity, but of what was then done, through the preaching of the Gospel. He is describing that ordination, and that only, which was at the very time of hearing it. During this sermon those believed, says the apostle, to whom God then gave power to believe. It is as if he had said, They believed, whose hearts the Lord opened; as he expresses it in a clearly parallel place, speaking of the same kind of ordination, #Acts 16:14|, &c. It is observable, the original word is not once used in Scripture to express eternal predestination of any kind. The sum is, all those and those only, who were now ordained, now believed. Not that God rejected the rest: it was his will that they also should have been saved: but they thrust salvation from them. Nor were they who then believed constrained to believe. But grace was then first copiously offered them. And they did not thrust it away, so that a great multitude even of Gentiles were converted. In a word, the expression properly implies, a present operation of Divine grace working faith in the hearers.
Ac 13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad. Glad, not only that the gospel was offered to them, but that in sacred writings of the Jews, it was declared that the Gentiles should have the gospel. They, too, had always been embraced in God's plan of redemption. As many as were ordained to eternal life. This passage has been used as a proof text for the extreme Calvinism that makes God arbitrarily select some for salvation and reject others, Wesley, on the other hand, says: ``The original word rendered "ordained" is not once used in the Scriptures to express eternal predestination of any kind. The sense if that those, and those only, now ordained, now believed. Not that God rejected the rest; it was his will that they also should be saved, but they thrust salvation from them. Nor were those who then believed "forced" to believe. Grace was offered to them and they did not thrust it away.'' It is God's ordination that those of humble, teachable, honest hearts, seeking the truth and life, shall come to life when it is offered, and such accepted the gospel on this occasion. Believed. As Dean Howson says: "Made a public profession of their faith".