“All who are appointed for eternal life believe.” (Acts 13:48, NIV)
Luke records the truth that Paul and Barnabas “have to speak the Word of God to [Israel] first.” (Acts 13:46) Only Israel’s rejection and their inability to “consider [themselves] worthy of eternal life” open the door for Paul and Barnabas to take the good news to the Gentiles.
Israel is God’s own people. They are appointed — decided on beforehand; designated — for eternal life. Among the Gentile nations are people “appointed for eternal life,” and these people believe when they hear the good news. How can they believe if no one preaches? asks Paul.
How offensive is God’s sovereign choice? How disturbing is the good news? When the Gentiles hear Paul say “the Lord commands us: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth” (Acts 13:47) “they are glad.” (Acts 13:48) Those designated beforehand honor the Word of God, and believe just as God decides.
“[Christ] comes to that which is His own, but His own do not receive Him. Yet to all who receive Him, to those who believe in His Name, He gives the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:11-13)