One of the better known stories from Acts is that of Peter and Cornelius, which illustrates so wonderfully God’s graciousness and willingness to save all who come to him. The Jews had struggled with the notion that salvation could be found outside the legal constraints of their religion, failing to realize that the OT itself was pointing them to a Savior who would bring redemption, not by legalistic performance but by faith in him and through the gospel.
This story is full of so many lessons: God’s salvation is for the whole world, not just for the Jews; the gospel is not bound to any one culture; God will get the gospel to those who seek him; the necessity of the gospel being preached or told by a messenger (the dream did not provide the gospel, it connected Cornelius with Peter, who could share the good news with him); like Peter, we can harbor cultural and ethnic biases that keep us from sharing the gospel; opposition sometimes comes to those who push the boundaries of gospel proclamation (some of the Jerusalem Jews opposed Peter’s preaching to Cornelius who was a Gentile). Hear Peter’s testimony: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (10:34,35). Aren’t you glad this is true!
Good Christians all, rejoice and sing!
Now is the triumph of our king!
To all the world glad news we bring:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! -- Cyril Alington (1931)