If you have been to a funeral recently, eulogies tend to focus on the good that an individual has done over the course of their life. Despite flaws, imperfections and weaknesses, positive qualities are highlighted to give friends and family members hope that their loved one has entered the gates of heaven. This makes me wonder is being devout good enough?
Now at Caesarea [Maritima] there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who, along with all his household, feared God. He made many charitable donations to the Jewish people, and prayed to God always, Acts 10:1-2.
In the passage above, Luke introduces a highly respected individual. Despite his lack of Jewish upbringing, Cornelius earned a reputation of being God fearing. This holy reverence inspired a cheerful heart to give and fueled a desire to pray to God daily. Perhaps, this character makes Cornelius an ideal candidate to become the first Gentile to receive the good news about Jesus Christ.
This Jesus is the stone which was despised and rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief Cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation],” Acts 4:11-12.
Earlier in the book of Acts, Luke makes it clear that being devout is not good enough. There is only one door, one way that leads to eternal life, faith in Jesus Christ. God found favor in Cornelius, using a series of events that led to a meeting with Peter. During Peter’s message within a house in Caesarea, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening. Immediately, following Peter’s mini-sermon, Cornelius and his family were baptized. If you want the eternal security mentioned in 1 John 5:13, place your trust in Jesus to seal the deal, Romans 10:9-11.
by Jay Mankus