The Berean Expositor
Volume 12 - Page 38 of 160
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The conversion of Cornelius is next recorded. Here Peter makes the statement that he
is still "a man that is a JEW', and that he had been bound until that moment to observe
the law which forbade such to keep company or come unto one of "another nation". Till
then all Gentiles, even though they might be "devout", and even though they "feared God
with all their house", "gave alms" and "prayed to God always" (10: 2), were reckoned as
"common or unclean" (10: 28). It needed a thrice repeated vision to convince Peter
otherwise, AND YET WE ARE TAUGHT that the church BEGAN AT PENTECOST!
This attitude exhibited by Peter was not something personal to himself, it was shared by
"the Apostles and brethren in JudŠa" who contended with Peter for going in to men
uncircumcised and for eating with them (11: 2). How could a Gentile have "continued
stedfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread . . . . . and
have all things common . . . . . and eat meat with gladness"? There would have been an
uproar instead of fellowship had a Gentile been included.
After the rehearsal of the case of Cornelius by Peter, who concludes by saying "What
was I, that I could withstand God?" we find:--
"When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then
hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life" (11: 18).
This admission is immediately followed by the statement that they which were
scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled a far as Phenice,
and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the Word TO NONE BUT JEWS ONLY.
Acts 13: commences the second and larger half of the Acts. Barnabas and Saul are
separated by the Holy Spirit unto a special service. This is somewhat parallel with the
baptism of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. As a result a Jew is blinded and Sergius
Paulus, a Gentile, is saved. This foreshadows the new turn of events.
The Synagogue witness at Antioch shows the Gentileward trend by the concluding
words (13: 40-48):--
"Lo, we turn to the Gentiles . . . . . I have set thee to be a light to the Gentiles."
It is, we trust, abundantly evident that Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles and it was
his commission and ministry that gathered the Gentiles to Christ, and founded churches
in the heathen cities of Corinth, Thessalonica, Philippi, Ephesus, etc. It will be from his
epistles therefore that we shall learn the place of the Gentile during the Acts.
Galatians teaches that both Gentile as well as Jewish believers were "All the children
of God by faith in Christ Jesus", they were "All one in Christ Jesus", and argues "If
ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise"
(Gal. 3: 36-29). They were by virtue of being "in Christ Jesus" a new creation
(Gal. 6: 15).
The first epistle to the Thessalonians shews that the Gentiles converted from the
heathendom were "waiting for His (God's) Son from heaven" (1: 10; 4: 14-18). They
had been "called unto His Kingdom and glory" (2: 12), they had not been appointed to