Peter Baptizes a Gentile Family Into The Church
The second event occurred when the Apostle Peter baptized a Gentile named Cornelius and his family. (NIV, Acts 10, 11 and 15) The church was about to make a decision of paramount importance. In a vision Peter is commanded to visit the home of a Gentile. This is something a Jew would not consider without the urging of God. The Holy Spirit made himself present to all. This outpouring of the Spirit paved the way for non-Jews to become Christ-followers.
“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.” (The apostle Peter as noted in Acts 10.34, 35)
The Deciding Moment
This issue reached its crescendo in Acts 15.7-11. A meeting was called to discuss the matter, subsequently referred to as the Council at Jerusalem. At this council some strict Jews pushed for all Christians to be circumcised and obey the Law of Moses.
“Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” ESV
Peters action in Acts 15 was the event that swayed the opinion of the elders and apostles. It was the decision of the elders and apostles that grace would be the message that would invite conversion, not the law. Peter was clear when he said “No! It is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” This message is true today; it is by grace that we are saved! This confirmation by the Holy Spirit of God is why this event is the second most important event in Christianity.