Saving the Devout Man

by Donny Weimar

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Cornelius was a righteous man. He believed in God and prayed regularly. His family trusted in God because of Cornelius’ devotion to Jehovah. With all his sincerity Cornelius still had to be told what he must do to become saved. Some people take Acts 10 to teach the sinner’s prayer. We don’t read of that in Acts, however. In fact, there is no place in the entire Bible where a not yet saved person is told to pray a prayer that will save him or her. Saved people are told to pray, as Simon the former sorcerer did in Acts 8. Yet, Simon had already obeyed the Gospel by being baptized (Acts 8:12). After being brought to Christ, he wanted to purchase the ability to perform miracles as the apostles did. Peter rebuked him and Simon requested prayer. An angel told Cornelius to send men to Joppa to bring an answer to his prayers. The angel said, “Thy prayers and thine alms are come up a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and call one Simon whose sir name is Peter…he shall tell thee what thou must do” (Acts 10:4b-5, 6b KJV). Peter goes to Cornelius and while he is teaching his household, the Spirit falls upon them and evidence is given the apostle that the Gentiles are welcome into the church of Christ. At the end of the chapter he says, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” (Acts 10:47-48a). Cornelius was not saved until he did what the apostle gave instructions to do. As sincere as he was in his prayer life, and as devout as he was; it was the Lord’s command that he be immersed (Greek definition of baptism).

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