Pastor David B. Curtis

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Gentiles Enter the Church

Acts 10:24-48

Delivered 03/01/2009

In our last study we saw God sovereignly orchestrating the events in time to bring together a Jew, Peter, and a Gentile, Cornelius, so that the Gentile might hear the Gospel. Cornelius is told by an angel to send for Peter while at the same time Peter is shown a vision where God declares the "unclean" food as "clean."

I have a question for you: When did God first change the dietary laws, is it here in our text? In the beginning, God gave man permission to eat only that which was from green plants:

Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; (Genesis 1:29 NASB)

In the beginning men were not to eat any meat, but only fruits and vegetables. When did this change?:

"Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. 4 "Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. (Genesis 9:3-4 NASB)

After the flood, God made a covenant with Noah to never destroy the earth again and He also changed the rules as to what men could eat. Now, man could not only eat that which was produced by green plants, but all animal flesh as well. The only requirement was that its blood must be drained from it.

Then after the Exodus from Egypt, God entered into a covenant with Israel and gave them the dietary laws of clean and unclean animals. When did this change? It changed at the end of the Old Covenant, which happened in A.D. 70 with the destruction of the temple. If this is true, then how could God tell Peter about 30 years before the end of the Old Covenant that He had cleansed the unclean?

The statement in Acts 10:15 is a prolepsis. A prolepsis is the representation or assumption of a future act or development as if presently existing or accomplished. What God was teaching Peter was that the law was beginning to fade away. The process had started and would culminate in the destruction of the temple.

This idea of a changing of the laws of clean and unclean, and the uncircumcised Gentiles being brought into the Church is something that is fundamental to understanding the doctrines of salvation. I'll explain this is a little bit.

We left off last week with verse:

And so he invited them in and gave them lodging. And on the next day he arose and went away with them, and some of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him. (Acts 10:23 NASB)

The word "lodging" means: "to entertain as guests." The same word is used in Hebrews 13:2: "Some have entertained angels unawares." Peter entertained them as welcome guests, and he did this against every custom of the Jews.

Peter and his Gentile visitors leave the next day for Caesarea. And Peter takes some Jewish believers with him. We learn from Acts 11:12 that there were six of them. So a total of seven believers, a number of totality or completion, witnessed what took place in Cornelius' house:

And on the following day he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends. And when it came about that Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. (Acts 10:24-25 NASB)

Cornelius was so sure Peter would come that even before the apostle arrived, he gathered a group of his relatives and friends to listen to him. It appears that he had collected the whole circle of his intimate friends. It seems that Cornelius had met Peter at some short distance from his house, and they conversed together till they went in.

"And fell at his feet and worshiped him"--what is this? Is Cornelius worshiping Peter? Is Cornelius the first Roman Catholic? What do we know about Cornelius? We know that he was a devout man, a God fearer, which meant that he was a monotheistic Gentile who worshiped the God of Israel as the one God. If he worshiped the God of Israel, do you think that he knew the decalogue? Do you think he knew the shema? I'm sure he did. He knew that only God was to be worshiped. So what is he doing here? Prostration was the common attitude of approach to a superior, as it yet is in Eastern countries, and Cornelius was complying with this custom. Filled with awe at seeing the one whom an angelic vision said to summon, Cornelius naturally falls down in worship. Worship is worthship, or honor paid to dignity of worth.

To Peter, however, it appeared as if he intended something more, and hence the rebuke:

But Peter raised him up, saying, "Stand up; I too am just a man." (Acts 10:26 NASB)

Significantly, whenever worship is offered to men or angels (Revelation 19:10), it is refused. But Jesus received such worship freely (Matthew 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 28:9). This proves that Jesus is more than a man--He is the God-Man.

In St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome, there is a huge statue of Peter, where people come and kiss the toe of the statue. They have about kissed it off. To all these people Peter says, "I am just a man."

And as he talked with him, he entered, and found many people assembled. 28 And he said to them, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. 29 "That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for. And so I ask for what reason you have sent for me." (Acts 10:27-29 NASB)

Peter gets in Cornelius' house and finds it packed with Gentiles. His first words to them are, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him." This crowd was acquainted with Jewish customs; probably many of them were Jewish proselytes, God fearers.

The word "unlawful" here is from the Greek word athemitos. It emphasizes the violation of established order. It means: "taboo." The Old Covenant ceremonial law didn't say that it was unlawful for Jews to keep company with Gentiles; the rabbis added that. The rabbis said that going into a Gentile home resulted in a seven-day defilement. The only seven-day defilement that is referred to in the Old Covenant came as the result of contacting a dead body.

Normally, a Jew would wait outside in such a situation, and the Gentile would come out to him, thus preventing the Jew from being defiled by something in the Gentile's house. We see this in:

They led Jesus therefore from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium in order that they might not be defiled, but might eat the Passover. (John 18:28 NASB)

The Jews that had gathered at the crucifixion of Christ wouldn't go into the Praetorium. They stayed outside so they wouldn't be defiled. They are killing their Messiah, yet they worried about becoming defiled by going into a Gentile's house! This shows us how the Jews felt about Gentiles, they despised them. For example:

A Jewish man would begin every day with a prayer thanking God that he was not a slave, a Gentile, or a woman. A basic part of the Jewish religion in the days of the New Testament was an oath that promised that one would never help a Gentile under any circumstances, such as giving directions if they were asked. But it went even as far as refusing to help a Gentile woman at the time of her sorest need--when she was giving birth--because the result would only be bringing another Gentile into the world

If a Jew married a Gentile, the Jewish community would have a funeral for the Jew and consider him dead. It was thought that to even enter the house of a Gentile made a Jew unclean before God. Ancient Jewish writings tell us of a Gentile woman who came to a rabbi. She confessed that she was a sinner and asked to be admitted to the Jewish faith. "Rabbi," she said, "bring me near." The Rabbi refused and simply shut the door in her face.

Again, let me say, This hatred of Gentiles must be understood if we are going to understand the doctrines of salvation.

Peter's explanation in these verses stressed the fact that God had convinced him to go against traditional Jewish custom. By entering a Gentile's home, Peter is showing that his heart and mind have changed, and that he has learned the lesson of the vision of the great sheet. If Peter had not received this vision, he would have never traveled with these Gentile messengers!

This speech shows clearly that Peter had interpreted the vision of unclean beasts as referring to men as well as to animal food. And Peter asks, "Why did you send for me? To which Cornelius responds:

And Cornelius said, "Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour; and behold, a man stood before me in shining garments, 31 and he said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. 32 'Send therefore to Joppa and invite Simon, who is also called Peter, to come to you; he is staying at the house of Simon the tanner by the sea.' 33 "And so I sent to you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord." (Acts 10:30-33 NASB)

Cornelius explained his side of the story. Peter and his companions are being made aware that all this is of God and is because of God's command concerning the unclean creatures.

We must consider Peter's response in context. Peter had spent three years evangelizing with Jesus while He was on earth. He had since then proclaimed the Good News for some eight to ten years before Jews, and had received a great response. But he had probably never before walked into a room like this packed with so many people who were just waiting, every one, to be converted. There was no opposition. There were no doubters. And yet these were Gentiles. But they were hungry to know God, and their hearts were filled with desire for Him. Here was a picture of people "to the remotest part of the earth" who were waiting for the Good News.

The sermon that Peter now launches into is the first sermon in Acts addressed to a Gentile audience (14:15-17; 17:22-31). It is quite similar to the ones Peter preached in 2:14-40 and 3:11-26 except that this one has more information about Jesus' pre-crucifixion ministry. This emphasis was appropriate since Peter was addressing Gentiles who would have known less about Jesus' ministry than the Jews did.

And opening his mouth, Peter said: "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, 35 but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him. (Acts 10:34-35 NASB)

"Opening his mouth" is a phrase that typically introduces something very important (8:35; 18:14; Matt. 5:2; 13:35). His words are spoken in awe. He is almost speaking to himself as he looks at the people before him. How is it that he never knew? It was a long and deeply rooted opinion among the Jews that God never would extend his favor to the Gentiles. How could he not have realized that God is no respecter of persons; that Jew and Gentile are both alike to Him?

What is God like? How would you describe Him? The Bible tells us that He is Holy, Loving, Just, Wise, Omnipotent--all powerful, Omniscient--all knowing, Omnipresent-- all of God is everywhere, Immutable--He never changes, Sovereign, Gracious, Merciful, and Faithful; just to name a few of His attributes.

One attribute of God that we don't hear much about is that He is Impartial. God is absolutely and totally impartial in dealing with people. I'm afraid it isn't so with us; we are very partial. We have a virtual cast system that is based on popularity, looks, race, social status, and wealth. But all of these are non-issues with God. A person's education, economic status, looks, clothes, social status, job, fame, prestige; and yes, even his race, all mean nothing to God.

And opening his mouth, Peter said: "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, (Acts 10:34 NASB)

The word "partiality" here is from the Greek word prosopolepsia, it means: "to receive by face," i.e., to judge on the basis of some external or superficial factor--to judge a man by the color of his skin, or physical appearance, or the kind of clothes he wears, or the sort of academic credentials he carries, or his economic status, or his race.

Peter says, "I understand now." Why now? Why didn't Peter already know this? The Hebrew Scriptures taught that God did not show partiality:

"For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality, nor take a bribe. 18 "He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. 19 "So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. 20 "You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name. (Deuteronomy 10:17-20 NASB)

God tells the Israelites that He is impartial, and says that they are to also be impartial.

"Now then let the fear of the LORD be upon you; be very careful what you do, for the LORD our God will have no part in unrighteousness, or partiality, or the taking of a bribe." (2 Chronicles 19:7 NASB)

Because God is impartial, He calls His people to be impartial and disciplines them when they are not:

"So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways, but are showing partiality in the instruction. (Malachi 2:9 NASB)

Because of Israel's partiality, God was disciplining them. The Scriptures repeatedly speak of God's impartiality. Peter should have known this, but his prejudice toward the Gentiles made him feel that God showed partiality to Jews.

James tells believers: Do not show partiality:

My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. (James 2:1 NASB)

James tells believers: Do not show partiality. Do not receive a man by face. We cannot judge a person on the basis of externals. Prosopolepsia is used a number of other times in the New Testament, but in every other case, God is the subject of the sentence, and it is expressed negatively: "God does not show partiality." "God is not a respecter of persons." "God does not receive people by face." God doesn't judge by externals.

God is impartial in Salvation. In our text Peter perceived that God is impartial in the act of salvation. God doesn't care what race you are, or what your bank account is, or what your education level is, or your social standing. God calls all types of men and women to salvation. With this in mind, let's look at:

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NASB)

Most people in churcheanity go to this verse to prove that God loves everybody. Look what it says, "God so loved the world." The problem with this is that they take the word "world" to mean every single person. But that can't be true. because the Scriptures tell us God did not love Esau:

Just as it is written, "JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED." (Romans 9:13 NASB)

God is sovereign in the exercise of His love. What I mean is that He loves whom He chooses to, God does not love everybody. Now I know that when I say that, people get upset, but it is clearly what the Word of God teaches. He didn't love Esau, that is very clear. Now how will you argue? Will you say that He loves everyone but Esau?

One of the most popular beliefs of our day is that God loves everybody. But the idea that God loves everybody is a modern belief. The writings of the Church fathers, the Reformers, or the Puritans will be searched in vain for any such concept. The fact is that the love of God is a truth for the saints only. With the exception of John 3:16, not once in the four Gospels do we read of the Lord Jesus Christ telling sinners that God loved them. In the book of Acts, which records the evangelistic labors and messages of the apostles, God's love is never referred to at all. Does that seem odd to you? But when we come to the Epistles, which are addressed to the saints, we have a full presentation of the truth.

In John 3:16 Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus, a Jew. Now remember all we have said about how Jews felt about Gentiles. The Jews believed that God loved only them. What John 3:16 is saying is that God's love is now international in its scope, He loves Gentiles as well as Jews. This was unthinkable to a Jew.

In our text Peter now understood that God is impartial in the act of salvation. God doesn't care what race you are, He even loves Gentiles. God calls all types of men and women to salvation.

Another misunderstood verse is:

who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4 NASB)

In the context "all men" here, does not mean every single man, but all types of men.

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NASB)

God saves all types of individuals: kings and common men, rich and poor, Jew and Gentile:

but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him. (Acts 10:34-35 NASB)

"In every nation"--not just Israel! Peter was now understanding that God is not a respecter of persons, He loves and saves Gentiles also, and if Jesus Christ is Lord of our lives, then we cannot be respecters of persons either. We are to be like our God. Whenever Christians practice racial discrimination, they need to reread Acts 10.

There is a lot of debate on what a person must believe in order to be saved. Well, here Peter tells us. Peter's words, recorded in Acts 10:36-43, are the Gospel. We are assured of this because it was immediately after hearing these words that the Spirit fell upon those gathered as proof of their salvation. Peter's words were the Gospel.

The Gospel which is proclaimed here by Peter is God-centered, not man centered. The emphasis is not on "What God can do for you," but on who God is, and what He will do to sinners who reject Him.

Luke probably gives us just a synopsis of Peter's sermon. Many commentators point out that it follows the pattern of Mark's Gospel, beginning with John's baptism, telling of Jesus' ministry of doing good and healing, both in Galilee and Jerusalem. He briefly mentions the crucifixion, but camps more on the resurrection and the witnesses who had been chosen beforehand by God to tell of these things:

"The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)-- (Acts 10:36 NASB)

This is a word which he sent to the children of Israel (Psalm 107:20): For "salvation is of the Jews," because it was to them that God has first revealed Himself (John 4:22). This connection was important, because it stressed that the new message was not some new novelty. It was based fully on the truth of the Hebrew Scriptures.

The fact that Christ preached peace implies that there is hostility and alienation between sinful men and the holy God. Many people are oblivious to such hostility. They do not understand God's absolute holiness and His hatred of all sin. While they admit that they aren't perfect, they see themselves as basically good.

"Lord of all" was a pagan title for deity, which the Christians adopted as an appropriate title for Jesus Christ. "He is Lord of all" expressed Peter's new insight. It is probably the main statement in the verse. "Since Jesus is Lord over all, Peter could proclaim to Cornelius and other Gentiles that the Gospel is available to all:

you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. 38 "You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him. (Acts 10:37-38 NASB)

It was the good news of which the prophets of old foretold. It was about Jesus of Nazareth (in Galilee), One who was true man Who existed in the flesh as a human being in a Galilean town, but One Whom God anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power, so that in Him God walked on earth.

The "anointing with the Holy Spirit" linked Jesus with the great prophetic figure in Isaiah 61:1-2. This, Jesus Himself had already done in Luke 4:14-30. He was "the prophet" come from God.

"And we are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. And they also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. (Acts 10:39 NASB)

"Hanging Him on a cross" emphasizes the horrible way the enemies of Jesus killed Him. What was a cursed death to the Jews, was equally despicable to Romans. Crucifixion was fit only for non-Roman citizens, slaves, and provincials. Only if a Roman citizen was convicted of treason would he be crucified.

It is difficult, after sixteen centuries during which the cross has been a sacred symbol, to realize the unspeakable horror and loathing which the very mention or thought of the cross provoked in Paul's day. The word crux was unmentionable in polite Roman society (Cicero, Pro Rabirio 16):

"God raised Him up on the third day, and granted that He should become visible, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us, who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. (Acts 10:41 NASB)

The death of Jesus had been a public spectacle, and everybody knew about it. His resurrection had been witnessed by only a few, and common report denied it, the denial having the backing of the religious authorities, as we learn from Matthew 28:11-15. So Peter now announced the astonishing news that the crucified Jesus had been raised from the dead by an act of God, that he and his fellow apostles had actually seen Him, eaten with Him, and received from Him a command that they were to preach to others.

The resurrection then becomes the heart of apostolic preaching, the heart of the Gospel, the heart of the "Good News." In chapter 2 Peter preaches the first sermon. Notice how he begins:

"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know-- 23 this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24 "And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. (Acts 2:22-24 NASB)

The first sermon focuses on the resurrection. Peter preaches again in chapter 3:

but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. (Acts 3:15 NASB)

All the early preachers were preaching as eyewitnesses to the resurrection. Again in chapter 4 and verse 10, Peter says:

let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead-- by this name this man stands here before you in good health. (Acts 4:10 NASB)

The resurrection is the heart of Christianity. G. B. Hardy, a Canadian scientist, said, "I only want to know two things: Has anyone ever cheated death, and did he make a way for me to do it? If so, I want to find that man." He looked in Buddha's tomb, but it is occupied. He looked in Mohammed's tomb, but it is occupied. When he looked in Jesus' tomb, he found it empty. He concluded, "Someone cheated death." Then he asked, "Did He make a way for me to do it?" Then he read this in the Bible: "... Because I live, ye shall live also" (Jn. 14:19). Hardy said, "That's what I wanted to know." There is salvation in no other than Jesus Christ.

"And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. (Acts 10:42 NASB)

Having risen, He had then given a charge to His apostles to preach to the people, testifying that God had ordained Jesus as Judge of the living and the dead, and was thus establishing His Heavenly Kingship and His Kingly Rule.

"Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins." (Acts 10:43 NASB)

Peter says, "You Romans may not appreciate this fully, but everything that Jesus did was predicted by the prophets. Long before He ever came, what He would be like, and what He would do was written down. Every prophet bore witness to this one fact: The only way you could ever find forgiveness of sins is by believing in Him:

"And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." (Jeremiah 31:34 NASB)

Hebrew Scripture told of His coming and bringing forgiveness of sins.

Note how Peter stressed the universal benefit of Jesus' ministry in this message to Gentiles: It was for Gentiles as well as Jews. Not only is Jesus Lord of all (v. 36), but He went about healing all (v. 38). Furthermore He is the Judge of all (v. 42) to whom all the prophets bore witness (v. 43a), and God forgives all who believe in Him (v. 43b).

"Through His name"--the name of Jesus refers to all that He is and all that He did. Forgiveness is ONLY through Jesus, as Peter proclaimed in Acts 4:

"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12 NASB)

This means that there is no salvation for good Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists apart from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no salvation for good Americans who live in a supposedly "Christian" nation, apart from personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no salvation for good Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses as long as they continue to believe in a false Jesus rather than the person of the Lord Jesus Christ revealed in the Bible. But there is salvation for everyone who believes in Him.

To believe in Jesus means that I believe He is the Lord who gave Himself on the cross for my sins. I believe the promise of God, that whoever believes on Him receives eternal life as God's gift, not based on any human merit, but only on God's free grace. To believe in Jesus means that I no longer rely on anything in myself to commend myself to God. Rather, I trust only in what Jesus did on the cross as my hope for forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 45 And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, (Acts 10:44-46 NASB)

They of the circumcision were astonished because it was a maxim with them that the Shechinah or Divine influence could not be revealed to any person who dwelt beyond the precincts of the promised land. Nor did any of them believe that the Divine Spirit could be communicated to any Gentile.

Peter and his Jewish companions probably heard these Gentiles praising God in Hebrew, which these Gentiles would not have known previously since Hebrews was a language the Jews spoke. The Jews present would have understood that the ability to speak in an unstudied language was an evidence of Spirit baptism, as it was at Pentecost.

The Gentiles did not have to do anything but believe on Jesus. They did not need to become Jewish proselytes, experience baptism in water, undergo circumcision, turn from their sins, or even say they were willing to turn from them. Note that Spirit baptism took place here without the laying on of an apostle's hands. The identification of Spirit baptism with the apostles was not necessary here, as it had been with the Samaritans (cf. 8:17-19). Here the important point was the connection between faith in Jesus Christ alone, apart from any external Jewish rite, and Spirit baptism.

"Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?" 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days. (Acts 10:47-48 NASB)

Circumcision, which was so vital for being a true Jew, can no longer be seen as required in order to be a part of the new Spirit-endued Israel, for God has made these men a part of the New Israel without circumcision.

Peter had unlocked the door of the Church to Jews on Pentecost (Matt. 16:19; cf. Eph. 2:14). What happened in Cornelius' house was the unlocking of the Church for the Gentile world.

The Ethiopian eunuch was probably a descendant of Ham, Saul was a descendant of Shem, and Cornelius was a descendant of Japheth (Gen. 10). Thus with the record of their conversions in chapters 8­10 Luke told us that the Church is equally accessible to all branches of the human family.

Why was the conversion of Cornelius, rather than the earlier conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch, seen as the opening of the Church's door to the Gentiles? The conversion of the Gentile eunuch was a case of individual private salvation. The conversion of Cornelius, on the other hand, involved several Gentiles, and it was public. God had saved individual Gentiles by faith throughout history (Ruth, Naaman). With the conversion of Cornelius, He now, for the first time, publicly brought Gentiles into the Church, the new creation of God, by Spirit baptism. The eunuch became a Christian and a member of the Church, but that was not evident to anyone at the time of his conversion. With Cornelius' conversion, God made a public statement, as He had at Pentecost, that He was doing something new, namely, forming a new body of believers in Jesus.

The Gospel is the same for Jews and Gentiles. Christians are Christians, and there should be no artificial distinctions such as, "Jewish Christian" and "Gentile Christian."

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