As many as were ordained to Eternal Life Believed.Acts13:48

Hugh Latimer comments on Acts13:48.We read in the Acts of the Apostles,that when Paul had preached a long sermon at Antioch,there believed, “as many as were ordained to everlasting life.”With this saying a great number of people have been offended,and have said, “We perceive that only those shall come to Jesus,and so to everlasting life,who are chosen of God unto it;therefore it is no matter whatsoever we do,for if we be chosen to everlasting life we shall have it.”So they have opened a door unto themselves for all wickedness and carnal liberty,against the true meaning of the Scripture.For if the most part be damned,the fault is not in God,but in themselves.They themselves procure their own damnation,and despise the passion of Christ by their own wicked and inordinate living.

Here we may learn to keep ourselves from all curious and dangerous questions,when we hear that some be chosen and some be damned.Let us seek a good hope that we shall be amongst the chosen,and live after this hope,that is,uprightly and godly,that you be not deceived.Think that God hath chosen those that believe in Christ,and that Christ is the book of life.If thou believest in Him,thou art surely written in the book of life,and shall be saved.Let us rather seek to know that we may be in Christ;for when we are in Him,then are all well.

But you will say, how shall I know that I am in the book kof life?  I will tell you how you may know if you are in the book.  There are three special marks whereby you may know this.  The first mark is, if you know your sin, and feel your own wretchedness and filthiness, which is a great matter.  The most part of people are so drowned in sin, that they no more feel their sin, for sin grieveth them no more.  According to the saying of Solomon, “It is sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom” (Prov. 10:23; 14:9).  But, as I said the first mark is, when you know your sins, and feel them, then are they heavy unto you and grieve you.  Then follows the second point, which is faith in Christ; that is, when you believe steadfastly that God, our heavenly Father, through His Son will deliver you from your sins. When you hope and believe, I say, that the blood of our Savior was shed for you, for the cleansing and putting away of your sins.  When you hope and believe, I say, that the blood of our Savior was shed for you, for the cleansing and putting away of your sins; and believing this stadfastly with an unfeigned heart, then you have the second point.

The third point is when you have an earnest desire to amendment and hatred against sin, study to live after God’s will and commandments, as much as is possible for you to do, then you have the third point.   When you find these three points to be in you; namely, first, when you know your sin and are sorry for it, and afterward hope and believe to be saved through the passion of Jesus Christ; and thirdly, have an earnest desire to leave sin, and to flee from it.  When you find these three things in your hearts, then you may be sure your names are written in the book.  And you may be sure also, that you are elected and predestinated to everlasting life.

On the other hand, when you see not your wickedness, and sin grieveth you not, neither have you faith or hope in our Savior, and therefore are careless of repentance and study not for amendment of life-then you are in a heavy case, then you have cause to be sorry, and to lament your wretchedness.  Truly, the devil hath power over you as long as you are in such a state.

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