Spiritual Things
The Conversion of Cornelius

If you carefully read Acts chapters 10 and 11, you will see that Cornelius received gifts of the Spirit and not the indwelling Spirit. One receives the indwelling Spirit when one is baptized for the remission of sins. (Acts 2:36-39.) On the day of Pentecost, three thousand became believers and asked what to do. Peter told them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” When sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus at baptism, one's body is cleansed for a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. Sin goes out and the Holy Spirit comes in. In Galatians 3:26-27 we are told that we become children of God when we believe and put Christ on in baptism, and he tells us that because we are children, God sends forth His Spirit into our hearts. (Galatians 4:6)

In Acts 10:6, Peter was to tell Cornelius how he and all in his house could be saved. The Holy Spirit fell upon Cornelius as Peter began to speak. (Acts 11:15.) The Holy Spirit did not come to dwell in him, but the Holy Spirit “fell on them.” There is a difference in the indwelling Spirit which is given to every child of God and spiritual gifts, one of which was given to Cornelius at this time. The Holy Spirit gave him the gift to speak in tongues. (Acts 11:45-46)

This gift was given to Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, to prove to the Jews that God had accepted the Gentiles. (Acts 11:18.) Peter took seven Jewish brethren with him to witness the events; but he still had to go to Jerusalem and explain to the Apostles and brethren why he went into a Gentile home. In Acts 11, Peter explained in order the events as they took place. First, his vision of clean and unclean, and the spirit telling him to go; Peter enters Cornelius' house and begins to speak. The Holy Spirit falls upon Cornelius and his house. Peter was to tell them how they could be saved; but before he told them, the Holy Spirit fell upon them. This is showing to all that God approved of this meeting. And as Peter reported these things to the Apostles and brethren they glorified God and said, “Then to the Gentiles has God granted repentance unto life.” (Acts 11:18)

If we look back to Acts 10:47-48, we see that they were commanded to be baptized in water.

The blood of Christ washes away our sins when we believe, repent and are baptized. (Revelation 1:5; Acts 22:16.) And then we have a clear conscience. (1 Peter 3:21)

Roy Dunavin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR

Please send questions and comments to:  office@westark.org

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