“So Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.'” (Acts 10:34-35)
The 10th chapter of the Book of Acts is one of the most thrilling in the Bible as it depicts the salvation of the first Gentiles. Up to this point Christianity was little more than a sect of the Jews. All those who had believed in Jesus had been Jews or proselytes, converts to Judaism, all under the Mosaic covenant, all conforming to the Jewish religious traditions, feasts, rituals and laws of what was clean and unclean. They considered uncircumcised Gentiles to be unclean and tried to avoid all association with them, this despite the fact that the Lord had called Abram and his descendants to be a blessing to them (Gen. 12:1-3). Yet the Lord wanted to give the gift of salvation to all men and he used Peter to effect it.
He prepared the apostle with a vision that ripped to shreds all the dietary and ceremonial laws of clean and unclean which marked the Jews as God’s people. Not only did God bless all food, but He also did away with the separation between Jew and Gentile. This all became clear to Peter when he went to Cornelius, and in response to the message of the gospel, he, and all those gathered believed and were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Now all men can become one in Jesus and are made righteous through the love and mercy of God.
The Church in America is undergoing a similar dramatic change in this new millennium. We are experiencing the influx of people of languages, cultures, and races that are quite different than ours. We may resent this and find it disconcerting, but we should accept it as a great opportunity to preach the gospel. God Himself has placed us where we are and called us to do His work. He often works in us to upset our biases and preconceived notions. Now He is exposing us to people of races ethnic groups that differ from our own, people we may not like, people we may think unclean. Yet the Lord extends His love and grace to all for He desires that all come to repentance and faith. Those who have faith in Him, regardless of where they come from or what they look like are our brethren. We must love them as we love Christ Himself.