“‘Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. ‘I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.’ The voice spoke to him a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate.” – Acts 10: 14,15, & 17
The Apostle Peter wasn’t perfect. In fact, he struggled with very real prejudices towards the Gentiles. You see, Peter was saved, but he wasn’t yet saved from his idea of cultural or ethnic superiority. This is why Christians can still struggle with racism. Following Christ is a process of purification, but Peter’s prejudice presented a problem to Jesus’ command to make disciples of all people (Matt. 28:19). Why? Because this meant going outside the Jewish community and breaking down these prejudices. So, what happened?
One day, God spoke to Peter through a vision telling him that it’s okay to eat non-kosher foods. As a devout Jew, Peter protested since the strict dietary rules came straight from Scripture (Lev. 11 and Deut. 14). Yet God was clear: “Don’t say what I have cleansed is unclean” (My Paraphrase). In fact, God was really saying that if He can make unclean animals clean, then He can make unclean people clean – no matter their past dirt and sin.
As if on cue, three men suddenly arrived searching for Peter. They had been sent by Cornelius, a Gentile, curious to know more about God. The vision helped Peter to see that he, a Jew, could go into the house of a Gentile – even though it was culturally taboo to do so. So Peter went in faith.
Real faith is not just understanding God’s teachings from God’s Word, but it’s the willingness to obey God’s Word. Many people say they believe, but until there is life change through obedience – until there’s a willingness to put those teachings into practice – it’s not real faith.
Do you need to experience real faith? Are you willing to let God help you overcome prejudice in your life? Or anything that is contrary to God’s will?