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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 10 - Verse 35

Verse 35. But in every nation, etc. This is given as a reason for what Peter had just said, that God was no respecter of persons. The sense is, that he now perceived that the favours of God were not confined to the Jew, but might be extended to all others on the same principle. The remarkable circumstances here, the vision to him, and to Cornelius, and the declaration that the alms of Cornelius were accepted, now convinced Peter that the favours of God were no longer to be confined to the Jewish people, but might be extended to all. This was what the vision was designed to teach; and to communicate this to the apostles was an important step in their work of spreading the gospel.

In every nation. Among all people; Jews or Gentiles. Acceptance with God does not depend on the fact of being descended from Abraham, or of possessing external privileges, but on the state of the heart.

He that feareth him. This is put for piety towards God in general. See Barnes "Ac 9:31".

It means, that he that honours God and keeps his law—that is a true worshipper of God, according to the light and privileges which he has—is approved by him, as giving evidence that he is his friend.

And worketh righteousness. Does that which is right and just. This refers to his conduct towards man. He that discharges conscientiously his duty to his fellow-men, and evinces by his conduct that he is a righteous man. These two things comprehend the whole of religion, the sum of all the requirements of God—piety towards God, and justice towards an men; and as Cornelius had showed these, he showed that, though a Gentile, he was actuated by true piety. We may observe here,

(1.) that it is not said that Cornelius was accepted on account of his good works. Those works were simply an evidence of true piety in the heart; a proof that he feared and loved God, and not a meritorious ground of acceptance.

(2.) He improved the light which he had.

(3.) He embraced the Saviour when he was offered to him. This circumstance makes an essential difference between the case of Cornelius, and those who depend on their morality in Christian lands. They do not embrace the Lord Jesus, and they are, therefore, totally unlike the Roman centurion. His example should not be pleaded, therefore, by those who neglect the Saviour, for it furnishes no evidence that they will be accepted, when they are totally unlike him.

{a} "in every nation" Ro 2:13,27; 3:22,29; 10:12,13; Eph 2:13-18

{*} "with" "by"

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