Acts 10 tells us about a man named Cornelius. Cornelius was a good man who served as a soldier in the Roman army. His conversion teaches us many important principles concerning what we must do to be saved.
Cornelius was a good man…but he was lost. He gave generous gifts to the poor (Acts 10:2) and did all that he could to help people around him. In fact, it appears that Cornelius was perhaps as good as any Christian we find in the Bible. But his goodness was not enough to save him.
Cornelius was a sincere man…but he was lost. He was devout and feared God with all of his heart. He even encouraged his household to follow God as well. Cornelius did everything he knew to do in order to follow God. But his sincerity was not enough to save him.
Cornelius was a religious man…but he was lost. He prayed constantly to God. He had a relationship with God that was noticed by everyone around him. Yet his religion was not enough to save him.
What did Cornelius need to do in order to be saved? He needed to recognize the power of the blood of Jesus. There’s not anyone today who can live a good enough life to get to heaven. For all people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We must recognize that we are lost and that we need Jesus. As we study the Bible we learn of Jesus and his plan for our lives. Faith comes by hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17). When we learn of God’s love for us and his commands for our lives we will repent of our sins. No longer will we be shaped by this world; rather we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds into what God’s wills us to be in life (Romans 12:2). Confessing the name of Christ we will then be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16). This baptism is not a literal washing away of the filth of the flesh, rather when we are immersed into Christ we have responded in obedience to the will of God (1 Peter 3:21).
There are so many people today who are in the same condition of Cornelius—good, sincere, religious, but lost. Let each one of us examine ourselves closely and respond to the wonderful grace of God to save sinners!