This passage of the life of the apostle Peter in which he is exposed to a situation not caused by his own agenda, nor directed to obtain apostolic results of extension of the Kingdom, illustrates that the proclamation of salvation and eternal life goes beyond of the content of the message preached.
¡¡How can you give words of salvation to one you do not want to be saved!!
The words that produce salvation and eternal life do not lie in the message per se, but in the veracity of the attitudes that accompany the one who transmits them. If we read carefully the story of the story, we will realize that the “preaching” of the apostle was a historical recount of what had happened in Jerusalem rather than the proclamation that Jesus is the Messiah,
In the reading of chapter ten it is verified that the content of the message was not profound, without scriptural references, as in the other cases of apostolic preaching.
Just before Cornelius sent for Peter, as instructed by the angel, the apostle discovered the fundamental principle of the Kingdom to establish “Words of Salvation.” Nobody who does not walk in integrity can impart to others, words of salvation.
God led Peter to confront his lack of integrity
The apostle was confronted by God with his discriminatory conception towards the Gentiles. He himself confessed:
Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation (10:28a)
And followed by this, notice the path of the apostle’s integrity. First, he recognized that integrity is based on God is no respecter of persons:
but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean (10:28b).
And he admitted it again after listening to Cornelius,
Second, the apostle recognized that integrity is to admit that others can receive equal or greater than what they had received:
Finally, the humility of recognizing and accepting the teaching that comes through others:
Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. 17Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? (11:16, 17)
How could the apostle have spoken words of salvation discriminating against someone?
Confronting his lack of integrity was the constant struggle that the apostle fought in his ministerial life. In Antioch we see him suffer again the lack of veracity that his discriminatory concepts towards the Gentiles provoked him:
11But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. Galatians 2:11-13
A message of scarce integrity on the part of the messenger will only serve to sow deceit and death, and a work lacking salvific value.
Salvation and eternal life is not achieved with the content of a message, it is imparted by words that are faithful to the integrity of the behavior of the one who imparts them.
We speak life only when we have cultivated integrity, when our actions respond to convictions and not to interests; when we seek benefit for others rather than personal promotion; when we are willing to learn and understand that another can have the revelation of what is happening, and we sit down to learn.
How can we speak words of salvation if our behaviors are often wicked? The lie is not only false information, it is a perverse intention to prevail over others, or the attitude of showing them an imaginary appearance so that they live out of fantasy.
We do not need to be preachers to impart words of life. We can give life every day, in offices, in workshops, in shops, in schools, in universities, … in the street … all we need is integrity, the content of the message can be so alone, Peace !. .. and will suffice.
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. – Matthew 5:48