Day 16

Good News for the Gentiles

from the reading plan

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

A white sheet, heavy with livestock and lowered from the heavens, is a surprising way to communicate equality. But this vision from God came to Peter as an alarming and powerful announcement of freedom. Like the ceremonially unclean animals in the sheet, we also are unclean in our sin, except that God, being rich in mercy, credits to us His righteousness and makes us clean.

All men come to salvation by grace, and grace alone, Jew and Gentile alike.

Although God shows no partiality, we are always at risk of judging by false standards (Acts 10:34). God’s ways are higher than our ways, and He calls us to set aside our inclinations toward human partiality.

Our inclination to partiality is rooted in a selfish narrowness of perspective and a great underestimation of God’s grace. Like Peter, we find the ordinary needs of human frailty intruding on our prayers. Like Peter, when God gives us instruction and direction, we are often, at first, perplexed. I wish I could say that, like Peter, I am quick to respond in obedience, but that is often not the case. Instead, I like to understand what I’m doing before I do it. I want answers and clarity before I walk forward in faith. I want to manage God’s grace.

But God’s grace is mysterious, and it intrudes upon our lives in the most unexpected ways. Here in Acts we see a striking example of God’s unexpected and intrusive grace.

First, we see that God is working at all times, everywhere. As Peter goes about his day, God has already sent an angelic vision to a devout centurion named Cornelius, who would summon Peter to bring the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10:3-9), so that “all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (Is. 52:10).

Second, God often provides what we need to know one step at a time (Acts 10:16-17, 29).  Peter’s calling is not a step-by-step instruction. God calls Peter to walk in faith, by the Spirit, rather than by sight.

Third, God has already prepared the way. Notice that when Peter arrives at the house of Cornelius, he’s not sure what to do. When Cornelius says, “We are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord” (Acts 10:33), Peter did not have a prepared talk. But God prepared Peter long beforehand with the words to say. Peter’s job was simply to bear witness of Christ, to preach the gospel (Acts 10:33, Matt. 28:19).

Fourth, God’s work is His doing, not ours. God has graciously invited us into the joy of participating in what He is doing, but the work is ultimately His. Indeed, we read that “while Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word” (Acts 10:44). Peter had not even finished his brief sermon, and God was already working. The Gentiles were not won over by Peter’s persuasiveness or eloquence, but by the Word of God and the work of His Spirit.

What a glorious reminder this is. Because God is at work, because His grace is surprising and sufficient, because His Spirit is active and enlivening, we can, like Peter, enter into the work of the Kingdom with great joy and confidence. We need not be hindered by uncertainty, nor worried about what we will say (Matt. 10:19).  God is always at work, and we have the great joy and privilege of proclaiming His salvation to a world in need, “preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:36).

Written By Caleb Faires 

Post Comments (17)

17 thoughts on "Good News for the Gentiles"

  1. Josh says:

    He knows what He is doing. He is already at work. He prepares the way long before we even know what He intends. And He will lead us step by step. If He knows what He intends, He is more than capable of getting us there.

  2. Josh says:

    We are called to follow God into His world to be agents of His redemption. Many times, that call will ask us to step into uncomfortable places, but if we know we have heard the Spirit, we can walk into situations with confidence–not in our own ability, but in His.

  3. Josh says:

    God is not ‘above’ loving and saving any individual. He loves unconditionally–across man-made borders and classifications. His work is bigger than we could ever imagine–and He is willing to let us sit in on what He’a doing!

  4. Josh says:

    I will look to the Spirit, asking Him to speak clearly into my life, and asking Him to help me obey–even when things seem odd. I want to be available to Him in every area of my life.

  5. Josh says:

    You are amazing. Your work is incredible. Thank you for speaking to Peter–and then walking him into a situation where You had already done the work: he just needed to be available. Please help me to be available to you. Help me to hear Your voice–and to know that it is you. Silence false voices and fear in my life. Lead me to You and Your purpose for this day.
    In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

  6. Craig Torgerson says:

    Jesus died for every person. I don’t get to pick and choose who I share the Gospel with. I am called in the Great Commission to share the Gospel with everyone. That includes people who wrong me, who hate me, who I hate, people that I don’t think understand my words, and even when my words fall on deaf ears. God will make the way for the Gospel and work it into people’s hearts. I am fortunate to be a tool in the process. He can speak through me but it isn’t about me and I can’t move anyone to accept the Gospel message. Only God can do that.

  7. Craig Torgerson says:

    Sometimes intentionally, but sometimes unintentionally, man is short sighted. Even our best efforts fall short of what God knows, what He sees, and what He is capable of.

    I am the guy that wants to listen to God but then manage God’s plans. I ask people to trust and blindly follow me all the time. It should be so much easier to trust and obey God.

  8. Craig Torgerson says:

    God is proud of, and claims, all of his creation. He has every person on His mind all the time and I easily forget that He sees and thinks of things in a much larger scale than I do. God is thinking of each and every person right now.

  9. Craig Torgerson says:

    I will trust and obey. I want to quit trying to manage God’s plans in my life. I need to see everyone through God’s lens so I see the potential each person has to let the Gospel invade their lives. It’s too easy for me to pick and choose who I think will be receptive to that message. It’s not in my hands. I need to think less and do more. It’s okay to think critically but not okay to manage God’s plans for me.

  10. Craig Torgerson says:

    I pray that God gives me an opportunity today to share the Gospel just like Peter did. I pray that God softens my heart so I am not so guarded; rather I love more openly. I pray that People see Christ in me today with my words and actions.

  11. JonSeth sammons says:

    God is so sovereign. He is always working. He is even in the midst of my struggles he is in control.

  12. JonSeth sammons says:

    There is neither Jew nor gentile. ALL because Christ has set us free. No whites or blacks or Arabs. It’s freedom in Christ by Faith in him.

  13. JonSeth sammons says:

    How utterly lost we are without a sovereign God!

  14. Will Haussler says:

    This teaches me that God is always working. He is paving the way for us to be sent and preach the gospel and to lead other people to Jesus.

  15. Will Haussler says:

    Man needs to be obedient and listen to the Holy Spirit. We need to trust God and trust where he is leading us even if it doesn’t seem to make much sense. God leads and empowers man to advance his kingdom.

  16. Will Haussler says:

    All are included in the good news. God shows no partiality, salvation is available to everyone.

  17. Will Haussler says:

    I will pray that I will not judge others or show favoritism. I don’t usually see people and think that they aren’t worthy of the gospel… However I may choose one person to share it with over another for my own selfish reasons. I will continue to try and let the Holy Spirit guide me in everything I do.

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