Acts 10:34-35 “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”
It is a name given to those who suffer loss, choose a different career path, or take on a whole new perspective.
The apostles were exposed to such a culture shock when they were led of the Holy Spirit to reach the Gentiles. The account of Peter leading Cornelius and his household to saving faith in Jesus Christ reveals how God brought Peter to his ‘new normal.’
First, we read of God blessing Cornelius’ faith by visiting him and taking him to the next step. In that vision, Cornelius is told to send for Peter. Peter, in turn, is visited by God and prepped for what he is about to experience.
Acts 10:11 “And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:”
The very fiber of Peter’s being was wrapped up in his culture. He was a Jew. He worshipped at synagogue. He celebrated the feasts. He brought a sacrifice on the Day of Atonement. He was zealous for those of his kind, and against those who were not.
Now, God had placed a situation before Peter that went against the grain.
The vision he saw challenged the law and that which God had called unclean. Now, God had opened the door for all to hear the gospel. Peter was going to have to talk, walk, and be among those he had once shunned.
After meeting Cornelius and bringing him to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, he witnessed the miracle of tongues as the Holy Spirit feel on those present.
Acts 10:44-47 “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?”
When a person trusts Jesus Christ as Savior, new things replace old, and this new life becomes the new normal.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Without discipleship, many fall back into our old ways of thinking and living. It is the job of that one who was witness to follow up and teach and train that one in the ‘all things’ Christ spoke of here:
Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
The Christian life should not have to be a self-taught exploratory venture. It should be with the one who spoke first of the saving grace, then, of the power to live out the life, he/she was meant to live.
There will be questions for sure. Rough waters may rise where we once had smooth sailing. Mountains where once there was a straight path. Having someone alongside to point out the pitfalls, the stumbling blocks, and the right road when a fork appears is the job of the church. But it begins personally; one on one.
Peter transitioned into his ‘new normal’ with the help of the Holy Spirit and men like John, who walked every step with him. We need to be there for those who need a helping hand to see differently; to help them gain a new perspective.
It is then; we can witness such a miracle of seeing a person transformed by the power only God can bring.
The most excellent comfort we can have in this new life is that God has already seen the end and can and will lead us through. We must first step out in faith – God promises to do the rest.