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Who was the God of Cornelius?
The God of Cornelius
Who was the God of Cornelius (Acts 10)?
I was fortunate to witness a discussion or you can call it an argument between two Christians that had different views. One of them believes that God would not judge people based on their religion but on their deeds so, in his view, one can make heaven if one did good deeds while the other person believes that anyone without Jesus as his or her lord and personal savior will never make heaven.
The former said his stand is because he has observed that some people of other religion do good deeds than they, Christians, so it is unreasonable that God would condemn such people simply because they were not Christians. The later used the story of Cornelius in Acts chapter 10 to support his claim that no matter how good one can be one will not make heaven except one accepts Jesus. He said, in his words, that Cornelius was a good man but God said he was ignorant of something which is Jesus. That was why God told him to invite Peter to teach him.
We know that God did not say that Cornelius was ignorant however we cannot certainly say why God requested that Peter speak to Cornelius. I listened to them and I made no contribution not just because I know that people have different interpretation of the bible but also I thought deeper about that subject that is why I asked, who is the God of Cornelius?
Acts 10 started like this, “there was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band. A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always…” from the story it was clear that the man, Cornelius, was not a Jew and as such he did not hold the Jewish belief nor can we say that he prayed to the Jewish God. The story also made it clear that Cornelius was not a disciple of Jesus so we cannot call him a Christian. The only thing we can certainly say is that he feared God as it was written and he prayed daily. It simply means that he prayed to the God he knew how to pray to and communicate with. It is likely that he prayed to the God of his own people which they knew by other names and reached through other religious paths different from the Jewish religious system.
Then how and why did he receive a message from the God that is same God of Peter (The God Jews since Jesus was said to be sent by the Jewish God)? How come he prayed to another God while he got an answer from the Jewish God? Is there a connection between the God he prayed to and the Jewish God?
We may not really know why the Angel of God instructed him to call for Peter but we know that the angel appeared to him while he still held his belief which was different from that of the Jews. No wonder peter acknowledged that God does not respect person but works with anyone that fears him in any nation.
The question some people may ask is, did Cornelius need to receive Jesus to be completely saved or he needed to receive the Holy Spirit, like he did, so that he could have the powers of the Holy Spirit? Can it be that Cornelius needed to be saved through Jesus Christ and some people can claim that salvation is only through Jesus but even before Jesus came, David had the knowledge of salvation as he sang in his Psalms.
We may not know the answer but we know that Cornelius was not a Jew yet his supplications and alms were welcome by his God who happened to also be the God of Peter. That is one of the mysteries which the mortal do not really know about the God and the path to God yet many people insist and claim to know and have full knowledge of God. They claim to understand God and his ways that they condemn others of different religious views and doctrines.
Some people can claim that Cornelius was a good man that did not know the true God, just as the Christian said in his argument. We may not know if such view is correct but we know from the story of Cornelius that God did not allow the efforts and prayers of a good man to be in vain. Doctrines, religious system, creeds, laws, and religious differences did not stop God from communicating with Cornelius.