In the Book of Acts, chapter 10, we find the account of the Centurion Cornelius and his household. Since he was a gentile, Acts 10, is most commonly used as one of the proofs showing that salvation was not limited to the Nation of Israel; but that it was also extended to the Gentile Nations. However, the account contained in this chapter of a book of the Bible is also a good proof of the process of salvation. It clearly lays out the events that take place in the salvation process.
(Note: This page is in support of the Bible studies contained on Baptism, what the Bible teaches and Salvation - the order of events pages.)
We read in Acts 10:2, that Cornelius has come to a knowledge of the One, True God.
- - " one devout and fearing God, with all his household, both doing many merciful deeds to the people, and praying continually to God."
Bible study also shows us from these verses:
- - " Jehovah looked down from Heaven on the sons of men, to see if there were any who understood and sought God.
All have gone aside, together they are filthy; there is none who does good, no, not one."
- - " as it is written: 'There is none righteous, no not one;
there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God."
- - " But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
(1 Co 2:14)
that natural man does not seek or understand God. Therefore it is evident that something extraordinary has happened to Cornelius, and his household. They, being born as natural man, now fear, acknowledge, and pray to the One, True God. Jesus gives us the answer to how this has occurred:
- - " Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
- - " It is the Spirit that makes alive, the flesh profits nothing." (John 3:8)
The Bible clearly teaches that natural man must be born again (quickened) as spiritual man by the action of the Holy Spirit, which is the first step in the order of events of salvation.
Although Cornelius, and his household acknowledged and prayed to the One, True, God it is evident that this was not enough to save them, for we find in Acts 10:22 & 30-32:
- - " And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man and one who fears God, and one of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by a holy angel to send for you (Peter) to come to his house and to hear words from you. "
- - " And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour. And at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing. And he said, Cornelius, your prayer is heard, and your merciful deeds have been remembered before God. Therefore send to Joppa and call here Simon whose last name is Peter, he is staying in the house of Simon, a tanner by the seaside; who, when he comes, shall speak to you. "
We know from Acts 10:34-43, that Peter spoke the Gospel message to all those who were at Cornelius' house. This brings us to the next step of salvation, which Jesus teaches us, in John 5:24, is two-fold,
- - " Truly, truly, I say to you, He who hears My Word and believes on Him who sent Me has everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death to life."
Jesus, through Holy Scripture, says that a person must hear and believe the Gospel message to be saved.
That those present believed the saving message of the Gospel is evidenced by Acts 10:44,
- - " While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those hearing the Word."
This bible verse shows us that the final element in the salvation process occurs at the moment of belief in the salvation message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Scripture tells us in Eph 1:13-14,
- - " in whom also you, hearing the Word of Truth, the gospel of our salvation, in whom also believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the earnest of our inheritance, to the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory."
The sealing, and in-dwelling (Romans 8:11), by the Holy Spirit is the final step in the actual process of salvation. All those present, who believed, received a guarantee of their salvation by the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. Additionally, Scripture tells us that they have received, what is called by some, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. For we find confirmation of this in Acts 10:45-46,
- - " And those of the circumcision, who believed (as many as came with Peter), were astonished because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on the nations also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God."
It is evident, from Bible study, that Cornelius, and his household are saved by the grace of God.
What makes this biblical account noteworthy in the studies of Baptism and
Salvation. is that neither Cornelius, nor his household have been baptized; yet, they are guaranteed their heavenly inheritance by, and have received gifts of, the Holy Spirit. We know they have not been baptized from Acts 10:47-48,
- - " Can anyone forbid water that these, who have received the Holy Ghost as well as we, should not be baptized? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord."
Acts 10, Cornelius & his household, and Luke 23, the crucified thief, disprove the assertions, and teachings, of some Churches & Denominations, that to be saved you must be baptized. (NOTE: read the next paragraph before you discount being baptized.)
Although salvation is not obtained through baptism, the Bible clearly teaches, that in the normal course of events, if you are saved, you are required to be baptized as a matter of obedience to Our Lord & Savior Jesus, Christ. (For more in-depth info see Baptism, what the Bible Teaches.)