Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. – Acts 10:34-35 KJV
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Simon Peter, the Apostle of Jesus Christ was praying one day in the sixth hour of prayer and was already very hungry. He was waiting for his meal to be served when he suddenly fell asleep and went into a trance where a spread cloth was descended from heaven with all manner of unclean animals spread on the cloth and an instruction coming to him that he should rise, kill and eat. He must have naturally rejected the voice in a “get behind me Satan” kind of manner, as he would have concluded that it could not have been the Holy Spirit that will want to encourage him to do what he was sure was against the instructions of the Almighty God. The same voice responded to Simon Peter’s refusal, cautioning him not to call unclean what the Almighty God has cleaned. The instructions was repeated twice again in that vision, with the same response coming to Peter, who also rejected the offer on all those occasions before he woke up. Still wondering what could be going on with him spiritually, some visitors arrived claiming to have come from one Cornelius, whom they said was a centurion and described him as a just man, god fearing and well reported by all people to be of good conduct. He claimed to have instruction from the Holy Spirit to invite Simon Peter to his house. With confirmation already received from the Lord before meeting these messengers that the message was true, he proceeded to go with them – Acts 10:9-24.
He had arrived the house of Cornelius, and was properly welcomed. Cornelius related his experience that led to his sending an invite to Peter (Acts 10:25-33) and the comment of Peter when he had the floor to speak is the foundation scripture for today’s devotion. He admitted openly that he was now aware that;
- The Almighty God is no respecter of persons.
- He accepts everyone who fears and respects Him.
By that statement, it can be safely concluded that before that event, Simon Peter was one of those who discriminated based on who can or who cannot be accepted by God into this new faith.
Christians today must also come into this awareness, not only in terms of tribe, but also other parameters which are prevalent in the society today. The Almighty God is not interested in personalities and that should also be the standard amongst Christians, but unfortunately that is not the reality. Even among Christians of different sects, there is so much attitude of “us and them” that makes some religious groups feel they are better than the others. There is the talk of Bible believing Christians in a manner that seems like it is possible to be a Christian without believing in the teachings of the Bible. That you can quote every line of the scripture is not the criteria that makes God recognise your Christian life but as revealed today, the extent to which you fear and respect Him is what matters. The first thing to realise is that fearing and respecting Him will make you not discriminate against fellow Christians.
James the brother of Jesus Christ in the biblical book credited to him also strongly advises against discrimination amongst brethren – Jms. 2:1-13. He in his advise concentrated on another common area of discrimination which is the level of social status of people. Simon Peter in the scripture today implies that social status means nothing to the Almighty God as a rich man or an important dignitary who will not defer to the Almighty God is showing dis-respect and dis-regard for God and such will not be recognised by Him. Everyone may honour such but the Lord will not.
Cornelius was not a Jew more so a Christian but the Almighty God recognised and honoured him, and granted him the same grace he granted the Disciples, because just as Peter began to introduce them to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit came on them just as it did on the Disciples on the day of Pentecost – Acts 10:36-46. If you are not getting anything from Him, it will definitely not be because he is discriminating but most likely because it is not yet time for you to have it or because you are not showing that you fear and honour Him in your conduct. You should equally not relate or share His grace on you, based on any other condition than the fear of, and honour for God that the potential beneficiary of the grace you plan to share displays. For the Lord, it is definitely not about who you are or what you are but how you relate with Him. May God grant us the wisdom to operate our Christian lives in a manner devoid of discrimination in Jesus name. Amen.