God Broadens the Vision of the Church - The Warrior's Journey®

God Broadens the Vision of the Church

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.’” (Acts 11:18) 

Acts 11 deals with the initial aftermath of the first presentation of the Gospel to Gentiles. Up to this point the church consisted entirely of Jews and of a few Gentile converts to Judaism. In fact, the early church only sought to preach the Gospel to other Jews. Even though Jesus had told His disciples to be His witnesses “to the uttermost parts of the world” (Acts 1:8), they only envisioned reaching out to Jews scattered abroad.   

How could Gentiles be saved? The assumption was that they would first have to convert to Judaism and become part of the House of Israel.  And it made perfect sense. After all, the promises in the Old Testament about cleansing from sin, the new birth, and salvation were made to “the House of Israel and the House of Judah” (e.g. the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31-34). How else could the Gentiles possibly hope to partake of Israel’s promises unless they first became Jews? 

But this notion crumbled when God sent Peter to Cornelius’ house in Acts 10, and gloriously saved the Gentiles who believed as Peter preached. There God circumvented any efforts by Peter to first circumcise or baptize these believing Gentiles. God cleansed their hearts and gave them His Spirit when they simply believed in Jesus. 

And how could anyone argue with God? The leaders of the Jerusalem church were forced to admit, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.” Suddenly, the vision for the church exploded in its scope. All of humanity now qualified to hear the Gospel message and be given the opportunity to put their faith in Jesus. This should have come as no surprise. For Isaiah had foretold of the Messiah, “It is too small a thing for You to be My Servant to merely restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the remnant of Israel. I will also make You a light for the Gentiles that My salvation may reach to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6). 

Exactly how the Gentiles can become partakers of the promises made to Israel would be thoroughly explained by Paul the apostle in Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians. According to Paul, Christ is the true Seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16-19) and the true heir of all God’s promises (Romans 8:17; Hebrews 1:2). When we put our faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit baptizes us into Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). And it is “in Christ,” not “in Israel,” that we become joint heirs with Jesus of all that God has promised (Romans 8:17; Ephesians 3:6).  


  • If God places no limitations on who should hear the Gospel, should we? 
  • God desires all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). Are we in sync with God? 
  • Let’s allow God to broaden our vision and let’s share His love for humanity.

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