No Partiality


Peter has found himself standing before a household of Gentiles, which is an extremely counter-cultural event for a Jew. The owner of the house, Cornelius, has invited him to preach to them. Peter steps up to the plate and shares the gospel. Peter does not quote the Old Testament as he did on previous occasions (Acts 2:14-36, 3:11-26), but his message remains consistent: Jesus lived, died, and was raised; he has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead; and everyone is called to repent and believe, to receive forgiveness of sins through the name of Jesus.

  • If someone asked you how to become a Christian, what would you say? What are the essential elements of the gospel one must hear and believe to be saved?


34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. In verse 34, Peter stated that he now understands that “God shows no partiality.” What did he previously assume God was partial about? What is the significance of this statement in relation to his audience?
  2. From this sermon, what truths do we learn about who Jesus is and what he has done?
  3. How did Peter close the sermon? What was his application? Is this something that has happened in your life?
  4. With whom are you hesitant to share the gospel? What makes you hesitant? How do Peter’s actions challenge you to overcome this hesitation?


Cornelius’ story shows us that even things which are defiled and unfit for God’s presence can be made clean and fit for God. There is no person whom God cannot make clean. Peter went in to this experience with a worldview that assumed that some things were inherently clean and other things unclean. God introduced a new concept: Salvation is not a matter of earning or achievement, but it is what he has already achieved for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. God reveals that external criteria such as appearance, race, nationality, class, or gender has nothing to do with a person being loved, accepted, and approved by God. “To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believed in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43).

  • Pray that God would reveal to you any prejudice, favoritism, or partiality you show people based on their appearance, class, level of wealth, gender, race, or whatever. Ask God to help you see that he has loved you regardless of these things, so that you can love others in the same way.