We Cannot Save Ourselves
So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” — Acts 10:34-43
I mentioned at the beginning of our journey through the book of Acts and a few times following that everything in this letter hinges on one event — the resurrection of Jesus. And you will notice here that Peter's message to Cornelius also focuses on this event. This is the message that God wants Peter to deliver. This is because the message of the resurrection validates everything. It validates Jesus as the Messiah, his message as true, and the promise of a relationship with God. And Peter is one of about 500 people who had seen Jesus after his resurrection. He is also one of 12 who walked with him for his entire ministry, so he knew what Jesus looked like. And even more, Peter was one of 3 men in Jesus's inner circle, so there was no doubt that he knew a lot about him. So there could not have been a better choice to testify to the resurrection than Peter. And keep in mind, Philip is right down the street in the city of Caesarea. God could have chosen Philip for this task, but he didn't. Maybe because God wanted to teach Peter something while he was delivering his message to Cornelius. And thus, Peter has to travel 30 miles over 2 days to deliver his testimony and message.
But there was also one thing that Cornelius lacked knowing and thus needed to know. And Peter states it right at the end of this message. "That everyone who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
The point is this. The only means of becoming good enough for God is by believing in Jesus. It's not through a person's good deeds. There is no good deed that we can do that will ever save us because humanity cannot save itself. Only Jesus can save humanity because God must rescue us. And thus, Cornelius has done a lot of good things but lacks having done the one good thing that actually matters — receiving forgiveness by believing in Jesus, the risen Savior of the world. That's it, friends. We believe. He saves. And yes, we do good deeds, but they only punctuate our belief. They are not the object of our belief.
ASK THIS: Do you need to be saved?
DO THIS: Let Jesus do the saving. You do the believing. And keep living in it!
PRAY THIS: God, I need you to rescue me from the sin of trying to save myself.
PLAY THIS: Jesus Saves — Tasha Cobbs Leonard.
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