“What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.”
Acts 10:1-23 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in and said to him, “Cornelius!” 4 And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God. 5 Now dispatch some men to Joppa and send for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter; 6 he is staying with a tanner named Simon, whose house is by the sea.” 7 When the angel who was speaking to him had left, he summoned two of his servants and a devout soldier of those who were his personal attendants, 8 and after he had explained everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.
9 On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. 10 But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance; 11 and he saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, 12 and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. 13 A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything [l]unholy and unclean.” 15 Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky.
17 Now while Peter was greatly perplexed in mind as to what the vision which he had seen might be, behold, the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions for Simon’s house, appeared at the gate; 18 and calling out, they were asking whether Simon, who was also called Peter, was staying there. 19 While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.” 21 Peter went down to the men and said, “Behold, I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for which you have come?” 22 They said, “Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you.” 23 So he invited them in and gave them lodging.
And on the next day he got up and went away with them, and some of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
In today’s text it says: On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance; and he saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.” Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky. What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy. To understand the meaning of Peter’s vision, it is important that we understand what God has cleansed. There is more to the vision than a permission to eat previously forbidden foods. We know by the context of the account that what God was showing Peter is that he was no longer to consider gentiles as unholy. Jesus died on the cross, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish. The blood of Christ was shed to cleanse the sin of both Jew and gentile. Peter was no longer to consider gentiles unholy, but rather to share the gospel with them also. In Acts 1:8 Jesus said: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Peter and the apostles were to be witnesses to everyone; to all mankind, made holy by the sacrifice of Christ.
We too should not consider any people unholy. John 3:16 says: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Whoever believes, regardless of national origin; regardless or race or ethnicity; regardless of social standing. Again though, along with understanding what God has cleansed, we also need to understand what He, through the sacrifice of Christ has not cleansed. Jesus died to save; to cleanse and to redeem sinners; people, regardless of who they are, but the sacrifice of Christ on the cross did not redeem sin. What God considers sin remains uncleansed by the blood of Jesus. In Isaiah 5:20 God says: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” In Revelation 21:6-8 the Lord says: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Those who practice; continue in sin and lawlessness; the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, are not cleansed. They are unholy because they have chosen evil over good. In Revelation 22:12-15 the Lord says: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes (are cleansed), so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.” “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” What God considers unholy, by no means consider cleansed.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit for the life changing, cleansing blood and sacrifice of Christ. No one regardless of national origin, race, ethnicity or social standing is excluded from grace; redemption from sin and eternal life. All can be made holy and cleansed by the blood of Christ. No one regardless of national origin, race, ethnicity or social standing, who chooses to practice lawlessness, to continue in sin; to choose evil over good, is excluded from death. Thank You for Your grace and the cleansing blood of Christ. Amen.