A covenant promise for everyone…

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Acts 10:34 Then Peter began to speak to (the people gathered at the home of the centurion named Cornelius): “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37 That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40 but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

If you read the Old Testament it’s clear that ours was a tribal God – a God for Israel, not for everyone else. God defended Israel, destroying her enemies and pushing out the original inhabitants of the Promised Land. A Jewish God for the Jewish people. But here we see a seismic shift in that paradigm as Peter says:

“I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him”.

God was the one who encouraged the centurion Cornelius to send for Peter. God was the one who told Peter to go to Cornelius. God was the one who opened the hearts of Cornelius and his family to receive the gospel message and, in the next verses, be baptized in the name of Jesus. This was God’s doing and Peter knows it. He realizes that the gospel covenant in Jesus is far more inclusive than the first covenant of the law. The gospel is for “anyone who fears (God)”. This was a total game-changer for Israel and for all creation.

I’m not a Jew, so I am eternally grateful for the gospel, which is for me. For you. For everyone. Come Lord Jesus! Amen.

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