Let’s start with what Peter said to Cornelius and his household. Cornelius was a Roman centurion who was devout and feared God, but was not a Jew.

Acts 10:34-43 And opening his mouth, Peter said, Truly I see that God is not a respecter of faces, but in every nation the one fearing Him and working righteousness is acceptable to Him. The Word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching the gospel of peace through Jesus Christ, this One is Lord of all.

 You know the thing that happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed, Jesus the One from Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all those having been oppressed by the devil, because God was with Him.

 And we are witnesses of all things which He did, both in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem. They did away with Him, hanging Him on a tree. God raised up this One the third day and gave to Him to become visible; not to all the people, but to witnesses, the ones having been before hand-picked by God, to us who ate and drank with Him after His rising again from the dead. 

And He commanded us to proclaim to the people and to witness solemnly that it is He who has been marked out by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To this One all the Prophets witness, so that through His name everyone believing into Him will receive remission of sins.

Peter knew Cornelius had knowledge of the Jewish religion, and Peter himself spoke as a Jew. So we have some mention of judgment and sins. Seen through grace, we know that sin was taken away by Jesus. Peter is speaking at a very early time in the early church, and before the message was tailored to the nations in Paul’s ministry.

Paul in Lystra, Acts 14:8-19 

8 And a certain man was sitting in Lystra, powerless in the feet, being lame from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. This one heard Paul speaking, who, looking intently at him, and seeing that he had faith to be cured, he said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet! And he leaped up and walked about.”

 And seeing what Paul did, the crowd lifted up their voice in Lycaonian, saying, “The gods have come down to us, becoming like men”. And they called Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the leader in speaking. And the priest of Zeus being before their city, carrying bulls and garlands to the gates, he wished to sacrifice along with the crowds.  

But Paul and Barnabas, the apostles, hearing, tearing their garments, they sprang into the crowd, crying out, and saying, “Men, why do you do these things? We also are men of like feelings to you, announcing the gospel to you to turn you from these vanities to the living God, who “made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all things in them,” (Ex. 20:11) who in the generations which have passed allowed all the nations to go in their own ways, though indeed He did not leave Himself without witness, doing good, giving rain and fruitful seasons to us from heaven, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Green’s Literal)

 Notice there is no mention of the law, or even of Adam. They did quote Exodus.

Now, consider Paul in Athens, Acts 17:16-34

But awaiting them in Athens, Paul’s spirit was pained within him, seeing the city full of images. Then, indeed, he addressed the Jews in the synagogue, and those worshiping, also in the market every day, to those happening to be there.

 And some of the Epicureans and of the Stoics, philosophers, fell in with him. And some said,” What may this seed-picker wish to say? And these others, He seems to be an announcer of foreign demons (because he announced Jesus and the resurrection to them)”.

 And taking hold of him, they led him to the Areopagus, saying, “Are we able to know what is this new doctrine being spoken by you? For you bring startling things to our ears. We are minded, then, to know what these things wish to be. And all Athenians and the strangers living there have leisure for nothing else than to say and to hear newer things”.

 And standing in the middle of the Areopagus, Paul said, “Men, Athenians, I see in everything how god-fearing you are; for passing through and looking up at the objects of your worship, I also found an altar on which had been written, TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Not knowing, then, whom you worship, I make Him known to you.”

 “The God who made the world and all things in it, this One being Lord of Heaven and of earth, does not dwell in handmade temples, nor is served by hands of men, as having need of anything. For He is giving life and breath and all things to all.” 

“And He made every nation of men of one blood, to live on all the face of the earth, ordaining fore-appointed seasons and boundaries of their dwelling, to seek the Lord, if perhaps they might feel after Him and might find Him, though indeed He not being far from each one of us.” 

“For in [by, through, with – my brackets] Him we live and move and exist, as also some of the poets among you have said, For we are also His offspring. Then being offspring of God, we ought not to suppose that the Godhead is like gold or silver or stone, engraved by art and the imagination of man.”

 “Truly, then, God overlooking the times of ignorance, now strictly commands all men everywhere to repent, because He set a day in which “He is going to judge the habitable world in righteousness,” by a Man whom He appointed; having given proof to all by raising Him from the dead. (Psa. 9:8)” 

And hearing of a resurrection of the dead, some indeed ridiculed, but said, We will hear you again concerning this. And so Paul went out from their midst. But some men believed, joining themselves to him, among whom also were both Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.(Green’s Literal)

So we see Paul quoting Greek poets and a Psalm. He appeals to the brotherhood of man, basically. And he stresses the idea that as offspring of God, they ought not to be worshiping idols made by men.

Why, then, do the preachers in our churches, and on the mission field, teach law to people in order to get them to see they have broken it? Peter and Paul did not do this. Think about it. They have done us no favors by bringing into a law mindset.

The gospel is the same, but the presentation varied with the audience. It’s still the same message to all. There is no Jew or Greek in Jesus. We are all one. We come to Him by faith, which means we are persuaded and trust the message. The message is not law or sinning. The message is Jesus, His death, and His resurrection. Jesus reveals Himself in the hearing of this simple gospel.

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