“Can Anyone Withhold Water?”
“Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” Acts 10:47. First, Peter had to be convinced to even go to the home of a gentile—even one that was as devout as Cornelius. God’s people had always been just the Jews. But even Jesus, knowing that the kingdom would soon be open to all by faith, was willing to go to another centurion’s house in Mark 8 but was kept from it by that soldier’s great faith. How the believers with Peter must have marvelled as the apostle shared the gospel with Cornelius and his household—and were even more surprised when the Spirit allowed them to speak in tongues and extol God! Already having used the keys of the kingdom to open the door of the church to the Jews in Acts 2, Peter now used them to admit the first gentiles eight chapters later, even remarking that they had received the Spirit of God “just as we have.” Notice, though, that this was only the second time that God chose to give His Spirit before baptism (stated here as the way in!). What about all the many conversions between Acts 2 and 10 who had only received the gift of the Holy Spirit when they were baptized?