No Partiality / part 2Peter & Cornelius
Throughout history, God seems to believe His Greater Love is more powerfully inclusive than all our flawed and often exclusive understandings—and it is!
And it was…
Ultimately, the early church’s us or them thinking began to change—often with Peter first. Then one day, when the soil of Peter’s heart could bear good fruit, our Father gave him an offensively good vision that was insightful in two ways. First, God seems to like bacon. Second, as it turns out, God really loves Gentiles. You can read about this vision in Acts 10.
But the fruit of this vision is that it empowered and led Peter to visit the house of Cornelius, a Gentile, a heathen, an outsider, one of them. And on that day, Peter discovered a gospel so expansive as to include the whole world in the finished work of the cross—you see, God was present within the Gentiles.
Peter told Cornelius and his household, “Truly, I understand that God shows no partiality.”
That’s worth underlining.
Then Peter began to share the story of Jesus and cruciform love, the Good News. And as he spoke, “…Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter (the us) were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles (the them).” 1
“Then Peter declared, ‘Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
No, of course not!
For nearly a decade, when it came to what the early church believed, Gentiles were out. Then suddenly, Peter discovered what was always true, the Truth that set him free: there is no us or them, no, in or out when it comes to our Heavenly Father and His kids. Peter discovered what Paul later wrote about in Galatians, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” 2
“And he (Peter) commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” 3
The same Peter, who years earlier swung a sword on behalf of his hierarchal thoughts about clean and unclean, Jew and Gentile, in and out, for and against, suddenly recognized and embraced the inclusive nature of reconciling love for the whole world.
Confronted by God’s goodness, Peter repented of the long-standing exclusion on his ideological and theological lens. He changed his mind and aligned his thoughts and actions with Greater Love—and that’s a big deal!
The willingness to face our offense, and repent of our bias and exclusivity when confronted with the measureless nature of God’s inclusiveness, is the birthplace of personal transformation and an absolute requirement for friends of Jesus—especially leaders who are feeding His sheep.
Peter recognized eternal life in the ever-present now through the infilling Spirit of Christ in Cornelius and his household. Suddenly Peter could see what was always true, revelation—Christ’s image and likeness dwelled within all humanity; “Truly…God shows no partiality!”
Because of this revelation, Peter welcomed you, me, and several billion more into the Family—all creation!
As it turns out, we’re all insiders—every tribe and tongue, all humanity—welcomed sons and daughters, the whole world included in the friendship of the Trinity. As it turns out, the Good News is always more inclusive than we last imagined.
To read part 1, CLICK HERE
1 Acts 10:44-45
2 Galatians 3:28
3 Acts 10:47-48