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.”