Good News for All People

KEY VERSE: “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” —Acts 11:9


WHEN the time came in the divine plan for the Gospel to go to the Gentiles, miracles were required to prepare the mind of Peter to accept this broadened ministry and to cooperate in it.

Through the Prophet Amos, God had said to the nation of Israel, You only have I known of all the families of the earth.” (Amos 3:2) It was in keeping with this that when Jesus first sent his disciples into the ministry he said to them, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”—Matt. 10:5,6

After his resurrection, Jesus broadened the scope of his commission, saying to his disciples, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) But the uttermost part of the earth at that time was not a large territory. Gathered at Jerusalem at Pentecost were devout Jews “out of every nation under heaven.” (Acts 2:5) So the apostles could have misunderstood Jesus’ commission, supposing that they were to witness merely to Jews who lived in the uttermost parts of the earth.

The Gentiles were looked upon by the Jews as being unclean; hence the appropriateness, in the vision, of the unclean animals let down from heaven. So when, as a result of the instructions of an angel to Cornelius, the, first Gentile convert, to send for Peter, and he met and conversed with those who had come for him, he began to see the meaning of the vision. When Peter arrived at the home of Cornelius and preached the Gospel to him and to his household, another miracle occurred—a miracle identical with the one all the disciples had witnessed at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the Jewish believers there. Peter knew beyond doubt that this was a token God had accepted these Gentile converts.

Now Peter recognized that in truth God was “no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” (Acts 10:34,35) God had never been a respecter of persons. It was merely that he had made special promises to the natural descendants of Abraham, and he was faithful to those promises until the time limit he had placed upon them had expired. God had always loved the people of all nations, and so did Jesus. Indeed, Jesus laid down his life for the sins of the whole world.

But God had entered into a special covenant with the natural descendants of Abraham. God promised Abraham that through his seed he would bless all the families of the earth, and he had said to the Israelites, Abraham’s natural seed, “If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: … ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.”—Exod. 19:5,6

This implied that the seed of blessing promised to Abraham would be made up exclusively from his natural descendants, if, by their faithfulness, they qualified for this high honor. But the nation as a whole did not qualify. As the plan of God unfolds, it is revealed that, primarily, Jesus is the promised seed of Abraham. (Gal. 3:8,16) But Jesus will have joint-heirs. (Rom. 8:17) These will be those who follow him, suffering and dying with him. This faith seed is made up of both Jews and Gentiles, although these distinctions vanish as they all merge into the oneness of Christ.—Gal. 3:27-29

And so it is incumbent upon us today to witness the Gospel worldwide as opportunity permits since it is God’s purpose that those called should come “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation.”—Rev. 5:9

Dawn Bible Students Association
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