God created diversity

Published 10:59 am Friday, February 17, 2017

As the children’s song goes, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.”

The God who created all has a love for all. As diverse as God is, He has winnowed it down from time to time.

Out of all people on earth, God chose Abraham to be the father of His people. Abraham is the father of nations and the father of faith.

God put another divider in place by sending his son Jesus Christ into the world to become the Savior of the world. With Abraham, God excluded other people but, in Jesus Christ, the doors are wide open with one caveat: one must believe who Jesus is and in what He has done for them through His vicarious death on the cross.

Now it is the gospel of Jesus Christ that is the filter for all people everywhere.

In the early days of the gospel after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the disciples of Jesus were carrying on his work, which was to share the gospel with every nation, tribe, and tongue. The minds of these early disciples were not as expansive as God’s.

We see one incident in the New Testament book of Acts where God had to change the mind of one of his messengers.

In Acts, chapter 10, there was a guy named Cornelius. He was a Roman centurion, a soldier of the army occupying Judea. Cornelius was a good man but he was a Gentile, a non-Jew, which made him “off limits” for the disciples of Jesus who were Jews.

Even though the gospel of Jesus Christ had touched these disciples, the gospel had not erased their deep-seated cultural mores.

God wanted Cornelius in His family. Peter, one of the disciples, would be the one to reach out to Cornelius with the gospel. But not before God did a mighty transformation in the heart of Peter.

Peter had a vision from heaven (Acts 10:10-16), and he was instructed that just because he had racial or ethnic restrictions, God did not. Peter was convinced enough that he made the trip to the house of Cornelius.

Peter was tentative. He was in the house of a Gentile eating food. The time came for Peter to speak to Cornelius, his family, his friends, and business associates.

Peter was a good speaker and held nothing back. As he shared the gospel narrative giving first-hand accounts of the miracles of Jesus, and speaking of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and the post-crucifixion appearances of Jesus, God performed an amazing thing right in front of Peter.

The people in the house of Cornelius received the gospel. It was evidenced by the Holy Spirit coming on these Gentiles in power and glory. These evidences of the Holy Spirit are not necessary for salvation but, in this case, it was necessary to convince Peter that God was okay with Gentiles becoming Christ-followers.

Peter was convinced and returned to Jerusalem telling the story of how a pagan Gentile came to Christ. That event changed the course of the early Christian church.

The gospel of Christ is and always should be the barrier breaker. It is also the bond that becomes unbreakable.

Maybe it is time for us to get back to God’s basics like Peter had to.

Dan Puckett works with road team operations at Life Action Ministries in Buchanan, Michigan.