Shelby G. Floyd
John Calvin is credited with originating the false doctrine of predestination and foreordination. He taught that a certain number of people had been foreordained and predetermined from the foundation of the world to be either saved or lost. Calvinists stated that the number of lost or saved could not be increased or diminished by one numeral! The teaching of John Calvin is usually remembered by the word,
T U L I P
T—Total Hereditary Depravity or Original Sin
I —Irresistible Grace
P—Perseverance of the Saints or Predestination
Disposed to Eternal Life
Some people have thought that this teaching is upheld in Paul’s speech at Antioch of Pisidia: “and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13: 48). Almost all of the translations have used the word “appointed” or “ordained.” Some have thought that a better translation of the word “appointed” would have been “disposed” or “inclined.” Therefore it would read like this, “and as many as were disposed to eternal life believed.”
We Judge Ourselves
However, we are not dependent upon knowledge of the original language to understand what is true. After Paul’s second speech in the synagogue, the Jews were filled with envy and they contradicted, blasphemed and opposed the things spoken by Paul:
“Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, it was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13: 46).
The idea expressed here is that they judged themselves unworthy of eternal life by rejecting God’s word. Then the opposite would be true: people judge themselves worthy of eternal life by accepting and believing the word of God. And that is exactly what those people did who were appointed or ordained to eternal life in Acts 13: 48. They were disposed to eternal life and therefore accepted the word of God and believed.
The Free Will of Man
Therefore we see how this harmonizes with the free will agency of man. God has not predetermined a certain number of people to be either saved or lost. If we are saved eternally, it will be because we accept and obey the word of God—the gospel message. God is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Christ (Hebrews 5:8-9). Those who are disposed to eternal life trust and obey. Those who reject the gospel judge themselves unworthy of eternal life and therefore are not inclined to believe and accept eternal life. Remember that Jesus taught the free will of man:
“If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own” (John 7:17).
God chooses us to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4); the devil chooses us to be lost; but it is our choice that determines our destiny!
Copyright © 2014 Shelby Floyd All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd