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Divine Sovereignty in Acts

Lest we think that, after Adam and Eve blew it, the cross was God’s Plan B:


Peter announced that Christ had been crucified according to the eternal, sovereign will of God as part of a plan determined before time began. In this “definite plan,” Jesus was chosen to die for chosen sinners:

“This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and fore knowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”

—Acts 2:23

Speaking on the day of Pentecost, Peter declared the sovereign purpose and predetermined plan of God. The word translated here as “definite” (horizio) literally means “to mark out with a boundary” or “to determine before.” It is rendered in other translations as “predestined” (NASB, NKJV, KJV). This word signified the destination at the end of a journey, one marked out before the trip began. The traveler would see his destination on the horizon—hence, horizio—before arriving there. In like manner, the cross was the “definite plan” of God, the destination for Christ selected by God before time began. Although evil men were responsible for their sinful actions in crucifying the Son of God, they were carrying out the eternal purpose of God. imgJohn Calvin writes, “Peter said that Christ suffered nothing by accident or because He lacked the power to rescue Himself, but because it was ‘by God’s set purpose.’ Christ’s death was ordained by God’s eternal counsel. . . . Peter taught that God did not only foresee what would happen to Christ, but that it was decreed by Him. . . . God does not show less of His providence in governing the whole world than He did in appointing Christ’s death. So God not only knows the future, but He determines Himself what will happen.” Clearly, the crucifixion was God’s set purpose, sovereignly predetermined in eternity past for His glory and the good of His people.

—Steve Lawson, Foundations of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2006), 310.

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