A Roman military commander by the name of Cornelius lived in the city of Caesarea in the region of Samaria north of Judea. Although Cornelius was not a Jew, he worshiped God in the custom of the Jews.Cornelius had a vision to request the Apostle Peter, who was staying in the city of Joppa about 50 miles away, to come to his home.
Peter also had a vision in which God told him to kill and eat animals that were ceremonially unclean for Jews to eat. In fact, this vision was repeated three times to confirm its shocking message to the Jewish Peter that nothing God has made is unclean.
Peter went and preached the gospel at the home of Cornelius. While Peter was still speaking to Cornelius and his family and friends, the Holy Spirit was poured out on these Gentile believers in the same way as had occurred with Jewish believers. Peter and the other Jewish believers that were with him were astounded by God’s acceptance of Gentiles as confirmed by the gift of the Holy Spirit given to them.
While this story describes a major progression in the spreading of the gospel and the advancement of Christianity, what’s interesting to me is the change in perspective that God had to work on Peter. It wasn’t until Peter actually began to preach to the Gentiles that he comprehended God’s intentions!
Peter walked alongside Jesus for three years. He was the leading apostle in the church at Jerusalem and had such a powerful ministry that when his shadow was cast on people they were healed. Yet, God was still working on the Apostle Peter! Peter had to realize that God’s redemptive plan was intended not just for Jews, but for all human beings. Peter needed a new perspective so he could explain God’s plan to the other apostles and leaders of the church at Jerusalem (see 11:1-18).
So the point is, just because God forgives our sins, saves us, and sets us on a path toward heaven doesn’t mean there’s not some major transformation that still needs to take place in our lives. We bring all our existing mindsets, prejudices, habits, and beliefs with us when we begin our walk with God.
Our redemption is a lifelong renewal process that requires the transforming power of God to shine the light of His truth on our twisted points of view in order to rid them from our lives! You might say that we need daily deliverance from ourselves!
“You are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth” (Ephesians 4:23-24).