There is a difference between being a “God-fearer” and a “God-believer”. In Acts 10 we read that Cornelius falls into the first category. He fears God and in the only way he knows, he is seeking this God that he knows about but does not know personally. We meet the Cornelius’ as we wander through our day to day activities. If asked they say, yes I “believe” but they do not “know” the God of the universe in a personal way. Thus this story about Cornelius is significant for us.
For us, it means we must recognize that God has called them for he is not willing that any should perish. Then it takes a step out of our comfort zone to share our faith. This is where Peter, like us, is being nudged by the Spirit to take this step towards a Gentile whom he does not know and one that he considers to be apart from God’s blessings. God’s ways are mysterious but deliberate when He knows that one is hungering but they do not know God’s love and salvation.
It is also significant that God calls Cornelius by name for this is our assurance that God knows us by name whether we are a “God-fearer” or a “God-believer.” We are told that his prayers have been heard and God has the answer and it will come through Simon Peter. Cornelius’ hunger to know this God of the Jews is relevant for this is our world as well. In addition, Peter is much like us in so many ways. We know God, believe God, but often are hesitant to share our faith because of any number of reasons. But God’s ways are not our ways. God sees and hears the hearts of the lost and he uses us to “go and tell the good news” of his love and His forgiveness.
Do you know of someone who is a “God-fearer” but not a “God-believer?” Let God move you and use you!