Cornelius – A Good Man Yet Not Saved

The Lord Seeks Out Those With A Heart Towards Him

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. ” (Luke 19:10)

Cornelius was a Gentile and “a centurion of the band called the Italian band.” He was in charge of about one hundred men. We will see that he was a good man and a person well respected in his city of Caersarea. The Bible has the following to say about him:

“A devout man, and one who feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.” (Acts 10:1)

So, here we have a devout man who feared God, provided for those in need, and prayed to God faithfully. We will see that although all these qualities were admirable, and something we should all strive after, they did not save Cornelius. Cornelius was unsaved. However, this man’s good life was noticed by the Lord. We will see that the Lord, through the Apostle Peter, will show Cornelius the way of salvation. The Lord always responds to those with an earnest heart.

“He (Cornelius) saw in a vision…..an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius…. And he (the angel) said unto him, your prayers and your alms are come up for a memorial before the Lord.” (Acts 10)

Cornelius was instructed by the angel to send for Peter in Joppa so that he might hear the Gospel and be saved. By the way, this would be the first Gentile to be saved as recorded in the Book of Acts. The Lord was opening the door for “whosoever will” to come to the saving knowledge of the Lord. On this occasion, Peter received a vision from the Lord as well.

“And (Peter) saw Heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to earth. (Acts 10)

In the sheet coming which came down from Heaven were “all manner of four feated beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.” These would be seen by Peter as unclean animals.

“And there a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” (Acts 10)

Peter responds to this by telling the Lord, no, that he had “never eaten anything common or unclean.” These were seen by the Jews as defiled and forbidden by the Law of Moses. The unclean animals were representative of the Gentiles in the vision. Through this vision, the Lord would show Peter that what was done on the cross was for the Gentile (all other nations) as well as the Jew. As Peter pondered these things, men sent by Cornelius arrived.

“While Peter thought of the vision, the Spirit said unto him, behold, three men seek you. Arise therefore and get down, and go with them, doubting nothing for I have sent them.” (Acts 10)

Peter, of course, agreed to go with them, and when he arrived in Caesarea he found Cornelius waiting for him with his whole family. Peter shared with them what the Lord had shown him, that he, “should not call any man common or unclean.” And Cornelius explained to Peter that he had been fasting and an angel had appeared to him and instructed him to send for Peter. And now that Peter had arrived, he and his family were anxious to hear all the Lord had commanded Peter to share with them.

“Peter opened his mouth, and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation, he who fears Him, and works righteousness, is accepted Him (Christ). (Acts 10)

Peter goes on to share the Gospel with Cornelius, starting with John the Baptist who introduced Christ. How Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, went throughout Israel doing good and healing all. He shared with them that the Apostles and others were witnesses to all He did and that God was with Him. How He was crucified and rose from the dead, and that all that believe in Him will receive remission of sins. Cornelius and his family believed all that Peter shared with them. The Bible goes on to say that, now saved, the Holy Spirit fell on them all.

“While Peter yet spoke these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the Word.” (Acts 10)

Cornelius and his family believed and were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit showing that salvation was for all and not limited to the nation of Israel. This record of the salvation of Cornelius shows us that the grace of God is for all those who believe and that salvation is by grace (unmerited favor) alone. Just as the Lord looked favorably upon Cornelius; He seeks out and will come to all those that look to Him with a sincere heart.

God Loves Us

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whoever believes on Him, shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

(See the A,B,C’s of salvation page on this website)

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