It’s interesting to read the different ways that Jesus and then the apostles describe the gospel and the kingdom of God. By the time Paul wrote Romans, the theology seems to have been fairly well worked out – and Paul describes our need, the work of the Cross, and the resurrection in detail.
But the apostles got the main message from the start. Peter preached in his first sermon, “Repent and be baptized… in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” (Acts 2: 38). In his next sermon, Peter charged, “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come…” (Acts 3: 19)
When arrested, Peter told the religious leaders that “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name [than Jesus] … given among men by which we must be saved. ” (Acts 4:12) And later before the same religious leaders, Peter said of Jesus, “God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 5: 31)
The apostles and Saul also preached that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah. And Philip explained to the Ethiopian eunuch that the Messiah was also the slain lamb.
So, in Acts 10, Peter comes to understand through a dream and his visit to the Gentile Cornelius that “God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable…” (vs. 36) Peter continues to preach Jesus’ story, through to the cross and resurrection, ending with “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.” (vs. 42-43).
As Peter finished preaching, the Gentiles received the gift of the Holy Spirit, and were then baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
The offer of forgiveness through the Messiah, Jesus, now clearly extended to the Gentiles. And by God’s grace, I received his forgiveness, too.
Dear Lord: Thank you for your death “on a tree” (as Peter preached) for me – so that you would take the judgment due me on yourself. Thank you that I can now receive your forgiveness. Give me the burden and the boldness to tell others about your offer of forgiveness. For there is NO other name… Amen