the next sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. but when the jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by paul, reviling him. and paul and barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “it was necessary that the word of god be spoken first to you. since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the gentiles. for so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

“‘i have made you a light for the gentiles,

    that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

and when the gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. [acts 13:44-48]



the word leads to eternal life


there are two reactions to the word of God–when we speak the word of God boldly, the reactions are death–or life, there is no middle ground:


for we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, tto one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. who is sufficient for these things? for we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. [2 corinthians 2:15-17]


to the devout jews of high standing who did not believe paul and barnabas, they saw the crowds and saw their power and status dissipating in the crucified Christ. to them, the message of the gospel was the “fragrance from death to death”–they contradicted and reviled the gospel, and if they persisted in their rejected of Jesus, they died in their sin.


 but what about the gentiles, what was it that made the Gospel a means for rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord?  it wasn’t their own goodness or intellect, it wasn’t their own ability to receive the gospel–it is clear in verse 48-it wasn’t their own power that they believed, then as a consequence were appointed to eternal life, but–”as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”  appointment came first–then belief. God is the author of their–and our–salvation.


paul puts it this way in the book of ephesians:

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. in love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. [ephesians 1:4-6]


as you rest in the salvation and presence of the Lord, know yourself appointed to eternal life, chosen before the foundation of the world and adopted as as son or daughter through Jesus Christ–our identity is not in the world, but in him! we are here for his glory–let us thank him for the glorious gift of salvation he has bestowed on us!


~ ce