GOD ACCEPTS THE ONES WHO FEAR HIM AND DOES WHAT IS RIGHT
“Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” (Acts 10:34—35)
Peter was a disciple of Jesus and one of the believers that spread the good news and thought their calling was to the Jewish community. His activities were still very limited to outreaches to the Jewish community. He did not see that the message of salvation also was for the gentiles. It is essential to know that our agendas can blind us from Jesus’ plans which include others than just ourselves. Cornelius was a God-fearing gentile whom the Lord sent a messenger to tell him that God had heard and answered his prayers. Cornelius often prayed and gifted the poor, and God has noticed what he does. Though Cornelius was a centurion in the Italian regiment, he and his family were devout and god-fearing. Cornelius gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
It is not about Cornelius’ good works that got God’s response, but the position of his heart and the way he fears and is devoted to God. Our works flow out of our relationship with God. He was first knowns as a GOD-FEARING, PRAYING, AND GENEROUS person. Everything Cornelius did, even as a centurion, reflects his relationship with God first rather than what he did. It is important to note that Cornelius’ relationship with God flows through his action; praying for people and being generous with them usually happens. With his position in the Italian regiment, he could’ve been abusive and used his authority and power to mistreat people. However, he treated people well because he was a devout God-fearing person. God has favor on Cornelius.
A god-fearing person is a person who fears God and lives his life according to the principle of God. His or her life lives out what is acceptable to God. Cornelius prayed, and God answered his prayers. At the same time, Peter also prayed; though he is a follower of Christ, he still has prejudiced thoughts about the gentiles. He considered them unclean. God showed him a vision of his plans and purpose, but Peter struggled with it because he saw in the visions things that he had grown up with and was taught not to eat or touch. God had to correct Peter’s perspective. God told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him again, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
I learn that when God wants to accomplish his purpose, he will use whomever he chooses to make it happen. The angel instructed Cornelius to send for Peter, who was in the city of Joppa, because God wanted to relay a message to him. Peter got the message and understood the meaning of God’s vision.
Peter said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” God does NOT show favoritism. God uses those whose hearts fears him and does what is right. God knows whose heart does what is right. This is something that I have and must learn. My prejudiced thoughts of others do not disqualify them from being used by God. God knows whom he can use and whom he will not. God can use a gentile as much as he can use a Jew. I am reminded of this verse that says; For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.
I now realize that I don’t have the power to disqualify anyone from serving the Lord. I am reminded to look for a godly character like the ones displayed by Cornelius and encourage people to serve Jesus faithfully. I will not allow my prejudiced perspective to label someone disqualified to serve Jesus. I want to develop a godly character of a devout and God-fearing person. As I go about His business, I will continue to walk in fear of the Lord daily.
Jesus, thank you that you are someone who shows favoritism in the manner that I do. Thank you for reminding me that you are the only one who calls people for your purpose. I thank you for opening my eyes to the error of my thinking. I want to see people that you call the way you do. Please help me to devote myself to walking a God-fearing life so I may know your more. Teach me to behave in a manner that represents your purpose well. Amen!