Acts: Day 16

Good News for the Gentiles

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Today's Text: Acts 10:1-48, Isaiah 52:7-10, Galatians 3:13

Text: Acts 10:1-48, Isaiah 52:7-10, Galatians 3:13

The gospel is for everyone. Thanks be to God.

Even when we aren’t sure it can extend to cover our sins.
Even when we want to keep it just for ourselves like Jonah.
Even when we cannot imagine it being powerful enough to cover the wickedness of the world.

Christ died for the world and ascended into heaven, leaving His disciples with a command to preach His gospel to all people.

Today’s passage is deeply significant to us as believers. It is the moment in church history—in world history—when God makes plain to both Jews and Gentiles that we “should not call any person common or unclean” (Acts 10:28) as “God shows no partiality” among those who fear Him (Acts 10:34).

This is the moment that allows us to trace our fingers across the pages of our Bibles to see God’s gospel plan throughout, beginning with the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis, where God “brought [Abram] outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them… So shall your offspring be’” (Genesis 15:5).

As our fingers follow the hand of God across centuries and generations, tabernacles and temples, kings and kingdoms, we stop here at this moment in Acts chapter 10—where the children of Abraham grow exponentially to “sand and stars” status—when God extends His family of sons and daughters to every kindred, tribe, and nation.

His long-ago promise of “I will be your God and you will be My people” (Exodus 6:7), which was once kept for the Jewish nation only, is now made available to all, the entire world, making “no distinction.” Repentance is now for everyone.

Do you see it, too? God’s covenant to Abraham is fulfilled in the new covenant by Christ’s blood, right here in black and white, in the pages of His Word (Luke 22:20).

Of course, God operates in significance, and this moment is no exception. From Acts chapter 1 until chapter 10—from Christ’s Great Commission to Peter’s vision—there were exactly three categories of people: Jews (God’s holy nation), Gentiles (anyone who wasn’t a Jew), and converted Gentiles (non-Jews who believed in the gospel of Jesus).

His invitation of life to the rest of the world was significantly personal. He did not send a Jew to tell the Gentiles they’d been grafted into God’s plan (Romans 11:11-31); He sent one of His own angels to appear to the newly converted Cornelius, a Gentile. Only then—a day later—did He send an angel to appear to Peter with the official word that from that point on, “God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34).

It was a meeting arranged by God. He gave Peter the message to share and Cornelius ears to hear it. He made sure both of His sons knew they were both equally His, that there was no longer any distinction or need for categories. No matter Jew or Gentile, we who believe are now all sons and daughters of Abraham.  

Perhaps you haven’t looked at it this way before. Perhaps you’ve forgotten that you, too, “were once far off” (Ephesians 2:13). But now because of Jesus, “God has granted repentance that leads to life” for all who believe (Acts 11:18).

He has granted us repentance. It is a gift, an invitation to bow before Him and not be called common. An invitation to repent and to be forgiven. To be called sons and daughters of Abraham—sons and daughters of God Himself. Thanks be to God, indeed.

“The Lord has displayed his holy arm in the sight of all the nations;
all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.”
Isaiah 52:10

SRT-Acts-Instagram16s

  • Wouldn’t there be four categories? Jews, Jews who believed in Christ, Gentiles and believing Gentiles?

  • Carrie Rogers

    Thanks be to God ❤️

  • Today I am thankful for the gift of repentance! The chance to be clean and uncommon! Thanks be to God!

  • Sarabeth

    “What God has made clean, you must not call common.” This struck home. How many times have I looked around me and shrugged off who I thought were “common” people? On the flip side, how many times have I considered myself ordinary, common, nothing special? Praise be to God that He has made us clean and not “common”. The song “He know my Name” is playing in my head.

  • Jennifer C

    These are powerful words I’m reading here on my phone as I sit watching my kids play at a sprinkler playground near my Philadelphia home. I am surrounded quite literally by every people and tribe and nation. The Mexican woman speaking Spanish next to me, the Cambodian families, my African American and Syrian sisters. All of these He came to redeem for Himself. Right here in one small square block of concrete! Lord help me to be faithful to share and hear your call as Peter did.

  • Amen! I need to be more diligent in praying – not as an afterthought but a beforethought. Thanks for this great reminder and insight.

  • PRAYER. It all started with prayer.

    It’s one of those things that I KNOW is important, but most days I spent my time reading the word and then running off to my next agenda item saying a quick “thanks for your insight, God!” As I hurry myself along.

    But the great revelations that both these men had, the visitation of angels and the vision Peter received and the great impact this has on our lives today, all started with PRAYER.

    prayer was a habit for both men. It says Cornelius ‘prayed continually’ and we’ve read before that the apostles dedicated themselves to prayer.

    It just made me stop and ponder how much more does God want to reveal to me? How much more does he want to use me? But I just keep running, not making prayer a priority.

    Lord, I repent of my attitude towards prayer as something less important in my walk with you. Thank you for your grace each day as I learn to be more like your son, Jesus.

    • Dusti

      I needed this!!!! Thank you.

    • Becky

      Awesome insight. Thank you for sharing it, and a reminder to pray! To take your point one step further, how many of us compartmentalize the activity of being in the word (and praying) into a check-the-box item on our to-do list, a part of our busy day? How much better to ponder what we have read all day long, and to pray without ceasing? “How much more does God want to reveal to me?” What a great question.

    • Tamara B

      How much more could God do trough us if we let Him? The more we pray, the more He can speak to us and use us

    • Taylor

      Steph W … Your comment is just what I needed to hear. How often do I get frustrated or yearn for God to do or show me something big, give me outstanding opportunities to show His love, or hear His directions in an equivalent to flashing a neon sign at me… But what am I doing while waiting for these things to show up? Where have these things been shown to happen? In prayer… What a simple thing to do and how often is it pushed aside or rushed in my life.. Or or side tracked by multi-tasking. I need to take after Peter as he “went on the housetop” to pray… To go somewhere that puts me close to God. And “at noon” … Or regularly. That is where it all starts, prayer. Thanks sister!

    • Ruth

      Thank you for this, I needed it today.

  • Sisters, may I ask you to pray for me. Right now I feel like my life is moving in fast motion and I have some life changing decisions to make. Tomorrow I’ll have my last oral exam, which I’m super nervous about, before I graduate high school in July. As said I have to make some decisions about my future that will change my life. I’m praying, asking God for wisdom what’s the right decision for me and I get frustrated because I don’t get an answer. I wish he would talk to me the way he talked to Peter and Cornelius – they knew God was talking, they knew what he wanted them to do. I think I just want a precise answer because I’m scared I’ll make the wrong choice. And even though I know Jeremiah 29:11 that his plans for are prosperous and good there is still a small glimpse of doubt in me.

    • Dusti

      I just want to encourage you by saying, if the Holy Spirit is in you, wherever you go and whatever you do is God’s will for you – because He is IN you. I spent so long waiting for a specific answer before I realized that God could do big things no matter where I was, simply because I chose to invite him in. If he’s not speaking directly, make a decision and pursue it. God is big enough to reroute your path if it’s wrong or not His best for you. Take the first step! Praying for you.

  • The acceptance of Cornelius reminds me that even though people know about God – know of God – do things for God, they – we – I must know and believe in Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Man. He alone is the only way to heaven – doesn’t matter what race, sex, or nationality one is – one must have Jesus. Thankful for Cornelius and Peter being obedient. Thankful for God accepting me – a non-Jew into His kingdom – all because of Jesus.

  • I think too often “repentence” has a negative undertone to it, like ugh it’s something we HAVE to do… But I love here the reminder that “He has GRANTED us repentence. It is a GIFT, invitation to bow before Him and not be called common.”

    • She Reads Truth

      I love this too, Andrea! Thanks for joining us today!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • “He has granted us repentance. It is a gift, an invitation to bow before Him and not be called common. An invitation to repent and to be forgiven. To be called sons and daughters of Abraham—sons and daughters of God Himself. ” Amen, thanks be to God!! Love, love, love!

  • Caroline

    So thankful that He invites us into a continued relationship with us despite our sin. I always love the reminder that we are sons + daughters of Abraham

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Keri Underwood

    “God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” – Cue warm fuzzy feelings of love! I LOVE seeing this whole picture. I love being able to read the Old Testament knowing that many. many years later Christ comes and invites ALL to believe and repent. I wish I could just whisper in all the ears of all in the Old Testament “It’s going to be worth it, keep trusting!” We have it good. We get to read about God’s new covenant and to live it and breathe it! How blessed we are!

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • Christina

    God is “all” yet there is still oppression and war due to misinterpretation of God’s word. I am pro-peace and sincerely believe everyone has their own path to God.

  • It is so true that God shows no partiality to a Jew or Gentile or the righteous and the
    un righteous He sees us all equal.
    It is amazing how God gave Peter the message to share and Cornelius ears to hear it and they knew that they were both
    equal in the eyes of the Lord.

  • Rosebergamot

    God shows us that yet again there is nothing we can do to earn salvation. We don’t even need the right genes. It’s free for all. Thank you Jesus.

    • Irina

      But why then Cornelius, “a devoted man, and one that feared God with all his house” was chosen to be the first among converted Gentiles ?

      • Alice

        I don’t know, but I feel like this should be answered – or the attempt to answer it should be made: maybe it’s because God wanted to show Peter that even a Gentile could be devout and God-fearing, as he may only believe that Jews could be so up until this point in the story. God allowed Cornelius to have a heart open and willing to receive the Holy Spirit when Peter came and prayed for them. But please also ask this to someone with more insight.

      • Drasch

        Remember in Acts 9:43, when Peter stayed with Simon the tanner? This was purposeful; tanners were disliked by the Jewish leaders because they handled dead animal skins. He was probably shunned by his local synagogue for this reason. Peter stayed with him to demonstrate that these accepted cultural barriers were being broken down. Similarly, Cornelius represented a believer who had abandoned pagan beliefs and began worshiping God. As a Roman Centurion, he was another despised by the traditional Jewish leaders. By being the first Gentile convert, he signaled an end to what was traditionally accepted.

        • Steph W

          Beautiful explanation, ladies!

          I also love the insight Drasch pointed out about Simon the tanner. I had not thought of that cultural barrier before. How amazing is our God that he would prepare Peter for even greater things!

          May we also break down the cultural norms and extend love to everyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation or political views. I admit it’s difficult for me to step out of my comfort zone in some of these areas.

    • Nancy

      Love that–there are no “right” genes, only a believing heart!!

  • I loved the way this story of two different people was woven together through His Spirit. I love how God prepares both of them beforehand and that they are so in tune with Him they know to be obedient. There is no hesitation on either side. God prepares the heart of Cornelius to receive while equipping Peter to speak His truth to him. God works in and through both of them ahead of time and then brings them together. His timing is always perfect. The verse that stood out to me was.. “So we are all present before God, to hear everything you have been commanded by the Lord” Acts 10:33b. Cornelius invites others to hear about Him. Obedience is a beautiful thing when everyone is opened to His call. Maybe He’s calling you to go or maybe He’s calling you to bring others in… We all need to remember if He’s speaking to our hearts about reaching out to someone or going somewhere then He’s already working on the ones He is sending you to … And that should give us confidence without hesitation. Lord, work in our hearts to be obedient to Your call in our lives.

    “Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.”
    ‭‭Philemon‬ ‭1:21‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

    • Jenna

      Wow. Amen.

    • Tricia

      Wonderful insight.

    • Keri Underwood

      I just love this. It’s such a great reminder that sometimes we don’t know God’s plan. We can’t see the future. So, just like these two men were being prepared separately, we have to trust our Father that He will pull all of the things going on in our lives together for His will. I love this reflection today, Gina!

      http://www.littlelightonahill.com

    • churchmouse

      Thank you for this, Gina. Amen to all you’ve written.

    • Sue

      Thank you Gina for the reminder to listen and act if God is asking us to reach out.

    • Kristin Ashley

      Thank you I needed this! The beauty of obedience and His perfect timing.

  • Michaela

    God, thank you for extending your salvation to me!

  • God shows us that we are all His children if we believe. It does not matter what your race, origin, male or female, we are all God’s children. This comes at a time when there is such unrest in the country and I love how it shows us all that we are all of one family, God’s!
    Acts 10:15 (ESV)
    15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”

    Acts 10:34-35 (ESV)
    34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”

    What amazing statements that need to be heard throughout the country and the world and I truly hope that everyone will believe God and know that His is our judge and we are not to judge, but to show compassion and love to everyone.

  • churchmouse

    What lengths God went to in order to invite us into His family : the Cross first, Pentecost with all the varied languages, Paul’s Damascus Road experience and the angelic visitation here to Cornelius and Peter. God relentlessly pursues us to repentance. He makes it impossible for us to not see His hand and His heart. Oh, open our eyes to see, our ears to hear and our spirit to receive! No one need be an outside any longer. The front door is wide open, welcoming us all. Come in. Come in. Praying today for all to come in. Amen.

  • Lord like you showed Peter “that no race is better than the other” forgive me for my biases and ignorance and prejudice. Your redeeming love overwhelms us

    • Keri Underwood

      Amen! Praying this with you today, Abz!

      • Abz

        And reading further Acts 11:18 Hearing it all laid out like that, they quieted down. And then, as it sank in, they started praising God. “It’s really happened! God has broken through to the other nations, opened them up to Life!”

  • Elisabeth

    I am so grateful for this story and that God extended His grace to me, so that I can know Him today and get to know Him even better every day of my life. I woke up today feeling very unmotivated because Tuesdays are the days where I’m home all day studying and completing assignments for uni and it all seemed to much for me today. But reading in God’s word gives me power and motivation and strength, and I love that.
    I also noticed today how often there were passages that summed up the gospel and God’s plan. And in these passages it is also always underlined, that even the prophets in the Old Testament prophesied what was about to happen. This was always God’s plan – but it took a long time to be completed. May I remember that when I don’t understand why things happen – God’s plan is much bigger than my small life on this earth.

    • She Reads Truth

      Love this, Elisabeth! Thanks for sharing your heart with us today.

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • What a beautiful reflection. I was thinking about the idea of “once-was” vs. “But now am” while reading in John, about the man born blind, and the reflection reminds me of it. How we, once were enemies of God but now we are children of God. I want to repent of that “once was” and walk free and clear into the “but now.” So thankful for the invitation into the family.

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