The Mystery of Cornelius the Centurion Part 2

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Copyright 1994 - 2023 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
November 23, 1997

Last Updated :
December 31, 2012

NOTE: This article or series has not been updated recently. As such, it may possibly contain some outdated information, and/or ideas and beliefs which I no longer embrace, or which have changed to some degree.

How This Article Came About, Apostles Immediately Forsook All To Follow Jesus, Apostle Paul: God Uses Drastic Recruitment Measures, Prove Otherwise, Did Cornelius Remain In The Roman Army Or Serve Christ?, Our Great Commission, The Lord's Army, Give Your Body And Life To God, Conclusion, BBB Reading List

The idea for this article came about as a result of someone challenging my view in which I stated that one cannot serve in the Lord's Army and man's army at the same time. One cannot follow Jesus' commandment to save lives while at the same time he destroys lives through the mandates of some Earthly government or military force. To refute my statements, the example of Cornelius was offered to show that one can serve in the military and still serve the Lord. The purpose of this article then has been to show that it is quite possible that after being filled with the Holy Spirit, Cornelius may very well have chosen to leave his old military life behind, in order to embark on a new life of winning souls into the Lord's Kingdom. When Jesus called Simon and Andrew, this is exactly what they did:

"And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him."
Matthew 4:18-20, KJV

When the Lord came upon James and John, who were also fishermen, and called them to follow Him, they likewise dropped everything on the spot to do exactly that:

"And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him."
Matthew 4:21-22, KJV

Matthew the tax collector also did not hesitate when it came time for him to make his decision:

"And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him."
Matthew 9:9, KJV

In some cases, the Lord had to use more drastic measures. Such was the case with Saul of Tarsus whom the Lord not only knocked off of his horse, but blinded him for three days as well. This is more fully discussed in the article "Biblical Cafeteria Or The Whole Course?". Considering these examples, I don't see how Cornelius could have done otherwise after the Lord had sent an angel to him, plus given Peter his heavenly vision. What other signs than those could he have possibly needed to realize that the Lord was calling him into special service?

For those who continue to challenge my speculations, I return the challenge and ask you to prove otherwise. Prove to me through the Scriptures that Cornelius retained his position as a centurion. After such a miraculous in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit which resulted from two supernatural events, how could he even think about continuing to partake of the sins of the evil Roman Empire by serving in its army? As a Christian, how could Cornelius possibly participate in the slaughter of thousands of Jews and Christian Jews in Jerusalem which occurred some years later? From my perspective, there is no way that Cornelius could have continued in his same occupation afterwards. He must have left his old life behind in obedience to the Lord's commandment:

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Mark 16:15, KJV

While my conclusion is based partially on conjecture, the scriptural evidence seems to support this view. God does not make mistakes. He had a plan for Cornelius, and I believe He fulfilled it in him. Looking at my own life, and the lives of many others I have known who have been truly touched by God's Spirit, I know how the Lord works. It is very difficult for devout Christians to resist God's Spirit working in their lives. Based on the description of Cornelius in Acts chapter ten, and possible links to him in the Gospels, I believe he was one such faithful man who heard the Lord's calling and followed it without giving it second thought. I believe he hung up his Roman sword and took the Sword of the Spirit and began fighting the good Fight of Faith. He forsook his profession as a soldier of Rome, and entered a new profession as a soldier in the army of Jesus Christ preaching the Gospel of the Good News of Salvation:

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."
1 Timothy 6:12, KJV

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV

Can you prove otherwise? To those young Christians who are considering joining the military service, I present this challenge to you: Instead of giving your life to Satan and man's armies, won't you please consider giving your life and your body to Christ so that He can use you to bring new life and new hope to the lost?:

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:1-2, KJV

"If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
1 Corinthians 3:17, KJV

"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, KJV

With these thoughts I will bring this article to a close. I trust that you have enjoyed it, learned something from it, and I pray that it has been a blessing in your life. The choice is yours. What will you do? If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or with any other social network, I would really appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thank you so very much! May God bless you abundantly!

For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this article, or which contain topics which are related to this article. All of these articles are likewise located on this very same Bill's Bible Basics website:

Biblical Cafeteria or the Whole Course?
Roman Catholicism, Water Baptism and the Holy Trinity
Where Are the First Century Churches?

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