Is Salvation a Divine Appointment?
In this study I want to deal with one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian faith. This mystery has to do with appointments. Did you know that according to the Scriptures, each saved person is saved by appointment?
Let's talk about it.
This is Bible Study DU020 - Is Salvation a Divine Appointment?
The place to begin is with this Scripture:
"When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word [gospel message] of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed." (Acts 13:48 nasb)
What Paul had just spoken a rebuke to the nonbelieving Jews, followed by a prophecy to the Gentiles: "For so the Lord has commanded us, 'I have placed you as a light to the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the end of the earth.'" (Verse 47)
Back to the word 'appointed.' Some would have this to read, "As many as were disposed to eternal life believed" but that does damage to the language. The Greek for 'appointed' is 'tasso.' It means to assign someone to a particular task, to arrange, to set in order. This statement can also be translated, "Those who had been designated for eternal life became believers."
Consider how the word 'tasso' is used on other Scriptures. (I'll use caps for the English word.)
"But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had DESIGNATED." (Matt 28:16)
"Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are ESTABLISHED by God." (Romans 13:1)
The Greek word 'tasso' is used seven times in the New Testament. There is no mistaking its meaning. It speaks of a set time or a set place or a set event.
This issue of being appointed to eternal life is not something we easily grasp. To the natural mind it seems like unfairness, but we have to balance this out with the understanding that, not only is God totally just in all His ways, but He is also 'all knowing', and 'ever present.'
This means that God is present in past, in the present, and in the future. He is outside of time and He often speaks in those tenses. For this reason it can be said that any person who is ever going to be saved, this person already has his name recorded in the Lamb's book of life. (Revelation speaks of the saved having their names recorded in His book of life from the foundation of the world.)
Sometimes we like to connect the words 'appointed' and the word 'predestination' with the word foreknowledge. That is probably the safest ground for we humans, since the Lord has already told us that His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. (Cf. Isaiah 55)
But there is something interesting in all this. One testimony that I often hear from a believer is that it is as if they knew the Lord as a child. It was like finding an old friend.
That's the way it was with me. Anyone who has read my testimony will recall me speaking of my childhood praying, with my mom, of 'Now I lay me down to sleep.' Yet the very first time I heard Jesus speak directly to me was from from the Scriptures.
I was reading in John 14 with a searching heart. When I reached verse 9, the Lord spoke directly to me. He said, "Have I been so long time with you, Buddy, and you have not come to know Me?"
I will always believe that that day was the day of my appointment to eternal life. And though I was surrounded with a Pentecostal environment, I never doubted afterwards that I had heard from the Lord. To this day the Lord speaking to me is just as fresh as that first time that I heard Him.
Of course what made things difficult was having to wade through all the UPC hoopla, which I did with the help of the Lord.
This issue of divine appointments goes beyond the appointed time of our salvation. I believe it extends into the entirety of our life on earth. For example, I don't believe anyone is a member of this forum by chance. Too many times I've heard how the searching heart found DepartingUPC.
In fact Ecclesiastes 3 says there is an appointed time for all things. The Hebrew word for 'appointed' as it is used here, is only used four times in the former testament. It literally speaks of a fixed time, that is, or a certain season that is set apart. As used in Ecclesiastes, it means that everything has a predestined time.
This is why Jesus cautioned the disciples over their concern for Israel. After the Lord's resurrection, they wanted to know if the kingdom of God was to be returned to Israel at that time. Here is the Lord's response:
"It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority." (Act 1:17.) He then speaks to them of the new life they will find in the covenant of grace.
So, there are many 'fixed' things that are not for us to know. This is why we must learn to trust in the Lordship of Jesus.
David said it as well as it can be said: "You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it." (Psalm 139:5,6 nasb.)
Is this truth of God's appointments important for us to grasp? I think this truth is crucial to a Biblical walk of faith. Knowing this truth allows us to get on the same page with the Lord, not in knowing about everything, but in learning how to be led by the Holy Spirit.
This is the soul-winner's truth. I've found over the years to only work with those with whom the Lord is working with. After a bit it is not hard to recognize these folk. In fact you'll pretty much see whose heart is being opened by the Lord. All you need to see is if this is that person's appointed time.
I was preaching in a village in Honduras. (Some of you have heard me speak of this.) When I took the pulpit, I simply said, "I come to you as an ambassador of the kingdom of God, and I have a message for you from the King." It became totally silent.
As I spoke you could have heard a pin drop. When it came time for responses, I watched this elderly Indian stand up. He began making his way down front. The Lord let me see by the Spirit, that this was that gentleman's appointed time. He was coming to meet his King.
Let me close out my part of the study with another Scripture. Just something to think about:
"And a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshipper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul." (Acts 16:14 nasb.)
What about it? What do you believe about divine appointments?
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
This study was originally shared on January 22, 2007. It was written by Pastor Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister, who founded Christian Challenge International. Writings are the copyright of Buddy Martin and reprinted on this site by permission.
Page added January 25, 2007
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