Was “Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world?” Most of us got this notion from the NIV translation. It gets the first half of verse 13:8 right, but still wrongly uses “from the creation of the world” to modify “the Lamb that was slain.” Other translations use the phrase to modify when the names were written. It’s easy to see there’s confusion even among the scholars around where this phrase belongs.
Ephesians 1:4 “God chose us in Christ to be holy and blameless in God's presence before the creation of the world. God destined us to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ because of his love. This was according to his goodwill and plan...” (CEB). Along with the shocking revelation of the Gentiles inclusion in the family of God, it was just as surprising that anyone could become family with God. God's plan to make (any) people his sons and daughters through adoption was only just being understood at the time of Paul’s writing—the first generation of Christians.
Some use the phrase, “all who were appointed for eternal life believed,” from Acts 13:48 as proof of predestination. I hope to show you, that’s not what Acts 13 is saying. Contrary to the way the phrase reads in the NIV, this passage is not suggesting that only individuals who had been chosen by God beforehand can believe. We must remember that the biggest and most culturally disruptive revelation of the New Testament is inclusiveness.
Invitations go out first to the few and then to the many. In the first story, the reward is the wages; in the second, the reward is the banquet itself. Both stories seem to focus on people freely choosing or refusing an invitation. So, why would Jesus conclude, “many are invited to be saved, but only few are chosen to be saved?” He wouldn’t. Because, that isn’t the point of these stories.