Acts 10

From Vern Rempel:

The words of God to Peter ring out “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” This passage is critical to my sense about sexuality and holiness. We must discern whether what we are talking about is something named clean by God or not. I look at so many same-sex relationships and see faithfulness at their center. To me, this, like the new insight Peter has about Gentiles, says God has named this “clean.”

From Zach Gleason:

Acts 10:28 – “God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.”

Peter sees a vision of all the animals of the world, and a voice tells him to eat, but Peter says no. That is not allowed for an observant Jew. This happens three times, just like when Peter was ashamed to be associated with Jesus. So after the vision, when Cornelius’ men call out (the same expression used to describe the rooster crowing on the morning before the crucifixion), Peter goes with them. He is learning to distrust his inherited shame reflex. He associates with Gentiles even though this was not done in his culture. He says as much to Cornelius. “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.”

The story goes on. Cornelius is baptized with Spirit and then with water, despite being a Gentile – despite being a Roman soldier. What is interesting is the jump Peter makes. Eating unclean food in a vision is one thing; dropping purity law altogether is something else. But that is what God does through Peter here. While moral standards have their place, arbitrary distinctions of clean and unclean are ignored by the Spirit. Prohibitions against same-sex sexuality clearly fall into the category of purity laws – the category which the Spirit ignores. Peter has the good sense to follow the Spirit’s lead and formally include those upon whom the Spirit has already fallen. We should do the same.