Posted by: Jonathan Stepp | August 1, 2008

Peter and the Gospel

In Acts 10 Peter has a vision in which a voice tells him to eat food that is ceremonially unclean by the standards of the law of Moses. In the vision the voice tells Peter not to “call anything impure that God has made clean” (Acts 10:15). A few verses later Peter interprets this vision and says that God has show him that he “should not call any person impure or unclean” (Acts 10:28).

If you think about it, Peter’s vision fits neatly in with Paul’s explanation of the gospel in Ephesians 2:15, where he says that Christ has created in himself one new humanity out of Jew and Gentile.

The Jewish people initially saw themselves as the sole participants in God’s covenant of salvation. Others could join the covenant, if they went through the right rituals – sometimes including baptism and always including circumcision.

But the revelation of Jesus to Peter and Paul is that all people are included in the covenant, not just the Jewish people! Peter tells us in Acts 10 that no human being should ever be called impure or unclean. Why? Because God the Son, by his incarnation as the man Jesus Christ, has made all people clean (Rom. 5:18, Col. 1:20).

Now that’s gospel! It’s the good news that, as Peter tells Cornelius, God does not play favorites. The Father loves and includes all humanity in the life he shares with his Son and their Spirit.


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