Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 2, 2020

“Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe.” – “as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.”

Today’s devotion comes from Acts 28:16-22.

“When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.

After three days Paul called together those who were the leading men of the Jews, and when they came together, he began saying to them, “Brethren, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.  And when they had examined me, they were willing to release me because there was no ground for putting me to death.  But when the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar, not that I had any accusation against my nation.  For this reason, therefore, I requested to see you and to speak with you, for I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel.”  They said to him, “We have neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren come here and reported or spoken anything bad about you.  But we desire to hear from you what your views are;  for concerning this sect, it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere.

When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers;  and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening.  Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe.”  Acts 28:16-24.


We notice in today’s Scripture that two parties came together.  Paul requested to see and to speak with the leading men of the Jews, and the leading men of the Jews desired to hear from Paul and what his views were.

But, we also read:  “Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe.”

Other doctrine takes the view summarized by the common saying:  “It takes two to tango”, teaching man’s alleged free-will.

But, Reformed Doctrine takes the view of Scripture, teaching God’s sovereign will, purpose, and power.  “When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord;  and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.”  Acts 13:48.

Consider the following from the Canons of Dordt in the section THIRD AND FOURTH HEADS OF DOCTRINE Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof.

Article 9.  It is not the fault of the gospel, nor of Christ, offered therein, nor of God, who calls men by the gospel, and confers upon them various gifts, that those who are called by the ministry of the word, refuse to come, and be converted:  the fault lies in themselves;  some of whom when called, regardless of their danger, reject the word of life;  others, though they receive it, suffer it not to make a lasting impression on their heart;  therefore, their joy, arising only from a temporary faith, soon vanishes, and they fall away;  while others choke the seed of the word by perplexing cares, and the pleasures of this world, and produce no fruit. – This our Savior teaches in the parable of the sower.  Matthew 13.

Article 10.  But that others who are called by the gospel, obey the call, and are converted, is not to be ascribed to the proper exercise of free will, whereby one distinguishes himself above others, equally furnished with grace sufficient for faith and conversions, as the proud heresy of Pelagius maintains;  but it must be wholly ascribed to God, who as he has chosen his own from eternity in Christ, so he confers upon them faith and repentance, rescues them from the power of darkness, and translates them into the kingdom of his own Son, that they may show forth the praises of him, who hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous light;  and may glory not in themselves, but in the Lord according to the testimony of the apostles in various places.

God accomplishes all of His good pleasure.  Total Perfect Triumph.

“9 “Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken;  truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.”  Isaiah 46:9-11.


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