Acts

Acts 10:34-47 The Holy Spirit And Baptism.

It took Peter a long while before he could pen these words-“In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality” (v. 34). Peter had been showing partiality, choosing to only associate with Jewish believers. God needed to correct this with Peter, and hence the vision and subsequent encounter with Cornelius, his household, relatives, and friends (vv. 9ff.). This is the way God had always intended, as we see even in the law. “The great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality” (Dt. 10:17). Anyone from any tongue or tribe, could become a member of the covenant community. Peter’s thinking needed to be turned away from mere tradition to the clear testimony of scripture.

“But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (v. 35). This is another way of saying that anyone is accepted if they have saving faith, a faith given by God which manifests itself in works. Long ago, and up to Paul’s time, the word of God was sent to the children of Israel, but it was never meant to be confined to one ethnic group-because Jesus “is Lord of all” (v. 36). Paul’s readers had come to know, in a saving way, this very same word. The events which followed the baptism of John occurred in fulfillment of scripture. Jesus had been anointed with the Holy spirit and had the power to heal and cast out demons (vv. 37-38). Peter and the other apostles were a witness to these things (v. 39).

The apostles, and many others, also witnessed both his death and his resurrection (vv. 40-41), and as the risen Lord, he commissioned the disciples to preach the gospel, that He was indeed the promised Messiah who would one day also judge “the living and the dead” (v. 42). “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (v. 43). This is the essence of the gospel, and because the Holy Spirit came upon these Gentiles, such that they spoke in other languages, the Jewish believers that were present were amazed, and circumcision was obviously not required (vv. 44-46). Therefore it was appropriate that they receive the sign of the new covenant-baptism (vv. 47-48).

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