Christ Came To Unify {Acts 10}

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By Becky Bramlett Austin 

In this chapter an amazing event transpires....the first Gentile convert is accepted under the saving grace of God.

Meet Cornelius.  He was an important man stationed in  Rome, well known and widely respected. As a Roman centurion, he had a minimum of 100 men under his command and likely thousands of men.  But more importantly, the Bible tells us he was “a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.” (V2) Although Cornelius had not surrendered his life under the Lordship of Christ, he was a man seeking God's favor with sincerity of heart and purpose.  God honored his seeking heart  " You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah29:13)

Jesus came to the Jews first but they rejected him as the Messiah. Now was the time for God to orchestrate a NEW COVENANT that would extend the gift  of salvation to ALL men.  "All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And they shall glorify Your name. " (Psalm 86:9). So there would be no doubt, God gave specific directions to Cornelius and specific directions to Peter to bring these 2 men together for a union that would change the world.
To overcome Peter's ingrained prejudices against Gentiles which he had been taught from infancy through Jewish custom, God had to redefine and widen Peter's view of "clean" vs " unclean". According to Jewish custom, Jews were not supposed to associate with "unclean" Gentiles and they were forbidden to eat the "unclean" foods that these Heathen nations ate. Through a vision, Peter came to understand that God had changed the standards. Through Christ ALL men could be made "clean". 

 “And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean." (V28)


“but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” (v35)
Did you realize that Christ changed all of that?  Did you realize that man's acceptance of Christ as Lord of his life is the pivotal standard that fulfills all the prior customs and teachings of the Law?  Did you realize that you are a Gentile who under the Law would have been excluded and considered "unclean" by Jewish standards? Did you realize that Cornelius represents you? By God opening salvation through Christ to the Gentile nation, it became possible for you and I to become part of his "chosen people" too.  So this story of Cornelius and Peter becomes "our story" to celebrate! 

Peter explains the Gospel to Cornelius and Cornelius understands the salvation plan God lovingly and sacrificially made possible through Christ.  “And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”” (V42-43). And God bestowed the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Gentile believers  which has continued to this day. 

What a blessing that Christ broke down the barriers of sin as well as the barriers of separation between men?  Christ came to help us see past our differences and embrace each other as a unified family in Him. 

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