Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:…
I. THE EQUAL JUSTICE AND LOVE OF GOD. He is no respecter of persons. The conditions of acceptance in his sight are everywhere and for all men the same, viz. reverence and rightness of moral conduct. Does this imply, it matters not what a man believes, so long as he fears God and does what is right? Certainly, belief is not immediately under the control of the will. But indirectly it so far is that we are bound to keep our minds open to the light, and to seek some belief that may guide conduct. The truth is that the reverence and the moral rectitude spoken of cannot exist apart from the root of faith in a supersensual order and Divine Law. Indifferentism is not recommended nor excused. But the truth that it is only the genuine qualities of the heart, the real disposition of the will, not external associations nor advantages of birth, which constitute true worth in God's sight. And any other principle of Divine dealing than this would shock the conscience as unjust.
II. RECAPULATION OF THE GOSPEL.
1. It was a good message of peace sent to the sons of Israel. He says nothing about natural religion and the universal conscience, on which St. Paul dwells in the Romans. The gospel is pre-eminently a message by man to man; by a selected people as ministered to the race. It was diffused through the Holy Land, and its substance was well known.
2. Its substance - Jesus: his person, his sanctified character, and his mighty deeds. His life of perpetual beneficence, his healing of those under the bondage of disease and of ignorance. It was manifest to men that God was with him, setting the seal of power upon his character and deeds.
3. The existence of living witnesses to those truths. The apostles were witnesses of the facts in the physical world on which Christianity was founded. Christian teachers and Christian men now are witnesses of the facts in the moral world which are eternal, and which interpret the physical facts.
4. The death and resurrection of Jesus. The suffering and the triumph of love; here lies the very kernel of the gospel. This triumphant Christ has been made manifest to chosen witnesses - to his close companions and intimate associates during his earthly life. And they have a commission to make proclamation of these truths to the people, and to testify that he is appointed Judge of the living and the dead. Finally, the gospel has the confirmation of prophecy; and all who believe on him may receive the remission of their sins. Here, then, is a useful summary of the gospel.
(1) Peace through Jesus Christ, who has lived, suffered, and risen for men.
(2) This is a message to all men, and a call to salvation.
(3) Its aim is universal human blessedness. - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: