The gospel had come to the Gentiles – to Italy, the Roman province – to Cornelius, an esteemed centurion leader. Those who knew him best could attest to a life marked by obedience, prayers, and unmeasured giving. Moreover, he was a devout man with a reverential fear for God and a desire to know God. Yet, Cornelius found no peace in his soul, no satisfaction, no measure of joy, no assurance that he was accepted by God!
What could be wrong? Was not this the way a man could find peace with God?
Standing at the threshold of his door, with his kinsmen, family, and friends waiting anxiously behind him, Cornelius greeted the man they called “Peter.” The cries of Cornelius to heaven had not gone unheard. The desire of his soul to know peace with God had not been ignored. The Spirit of God had directed Peter to his home to deliver God’s message of grace!
Desiring to hear heaven’s message, Cornelius commanded Peter to speak! Peter preached peace through Jesus Christ (v 36), as Cornelius and his house listened intently. They heard the message of the cross and of the Lord Jesus crucified, bearing the judgment for sin that was reserved against mankind. Peter testified of the empty tomb and resurrection of the Lord Jesus – the Living and True God, the Judge of all. This was God’s plan of salvation!
At last, the reality of knowing one’s sins forgiven pierced Cornelius’ soul as he understood that true peace, joy and satisfaction could only be found in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross of Calvary. The message was simple and God’s grace was powerful that day. Cornelius received the gospel that moment and was saved!
Peter preached to an earnest, humble spirit that day – Cornelius was ready to receive the good news of the Gospel. Cornelius came to understand that receiving peace and being delivered from the guilt and penalty of his sins must come from God and not himself. The Bible states that regardless of our moral standing, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). As well, we are all found in the same condition – separated, far from God by our sins (Isa 59:2).
Through Christ’s death, He has “made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col 1:20) and for the individual that accepts the gospel, the Bible proclaims, “Yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight” (Col 1:22).
The most important and defining moment in Cornelius’ life was when he received Christ as his Savior. For you, the message of the gospel at this moment resides in your hands. It is the only way to find peace in this world and the assurance of heaven for eternity! What will you do at this moment with God’s offer of salvation?
“Verily, verily I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).