When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. – Acts 13:48
“… and all who were appointed to eternal life believed.”
The Scriptures teach what seems to be two opposing thoughts. We understand that a person must choose what to do with the Lord Jesus Christ and that person’s eternal destiny depends on the choice that he or she makes. Yet, it is also clear that God sovereignly governs over everything He has created, which would by extension have to include any choice mankind would make.
Luke’s accounting of the Gentiles coming to faith (as well as other accounts) teaches that those who believe in Jesus Christ do so because they have been appointed to eternal life by none other than the God of heaven and earth. There is no other way to honestly interpret this statement of God’s omnipotent sovereignty. The Word of God is shared, people hear it, and some (not all) receive it and believe. We are called to “go” and to “come,” to “tell” and to “receive.” The fact that God sovereignly oversees every single aspect of our salvation should only bring us peace.
In the same way, the sovereignty of God in no way negates the church’s responsibility for gospel proclamation or mankind’s responsibility for its acceptance. Have you believed? Thank God, then go tell.
We cannot but admit that not even the least thing takes place unless it is ordered by God. For whom have ever been so concerned and curious as to find out how much hair he has on his head? There is no one. God, however, knows the number. Indeed, nothing is too small in us or in any other creature, not to be ordered by the all-knowing and all-powerful providence of God. – Huldrych Zwingli