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In Acts 10:34-36 in the Bible, the Apostle Peter answered this question: “Then Peter replied, ‘I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right. This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel—that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.’" (NLT)

God shows no favoritism

In Acts 10:34-36 in the Bible, the Apostle Peter answered this question:

“Then Peter replied, ‘I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right. This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel—that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.’” (NLT)

This was a conversation that took place when Peter was hanging out for the first time in Cornelius the gentile’s living room. Peter had received a vision where God showed him that God’s door of salvation was wide open and all the people once considered “unclean” were now invited into the household of faith. Because of that vision, Peter accepted an invitation to go and share the word of God to Cornelius and his friends and family.

Acts 10:11-16 describes Peter’s vision: “He saw the sky open, and something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners. In the sheet were all sorts of animals, reptiles, and birds. Then a voice said to him, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.’ ‘No, Lord,’ Peter declared. ‘I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure and unclean.’ But the voice spoke again: ‘Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.’ The same vision was repeated three times. Then the sheet was suddenly pulled up to heaven.” (NLT)

That same invitation stands for all, no matter how clean or unclean we may be.

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Ryan Downie

Eric, how do you explain Jesus’ prayer in John 17:5-9?

Ryan Downie

But that doesn’t answer my question.

Ryan Downie

Eric, okay, so you think the invitation is to all, but you still haven’t addressed the apparently contradictory remarks of Jesus who seemed to suggest that God gave over to Jesus a subset of humanity. He isn’t praying for everyone. He is only praying for those God gave him. What is up with that?

Ryan Downie

You seem to be reading into the passage this idea that God simply knew who would choose “Him”. There is no indication of that. What is this idea of God giving certain people to Jesus, but not others? What does that mean? How do you justify it? Why would God give some, but not all? Is that not favoritism?

Ryan Downie

I don’t see how that analogy works. With God, everyone is his “child” in that we would all be “His” creation. Thus, there would be no “neighbor children”. This verse from Romans seems to support my objection.

Ryan Downie

Oh stop it 😉

Do you not agree that we would all be God’s “children” and that there would be no “neighbor children”?

Ryan Downie

Okay, so my question is: If we are all God’s “children”, what does it mean that God gave a subset of these “children” to Jesus and that Jesus only prays for these and not everyone else?

Are you saying that this subset refers to those God somehow foreknew would have faith in “Him”?

Ryan Downie

So, why do you suppose that Jesus uses this strange language of God *giving* him certain people? Why wouldn’t Jesus have prayed something like, “I pray for all those you have known from the beginning will believe”?

Ryan Downie

Eric, are you saying that Jesus, in his humanity, was falling victim to being vague and ambiguous? But if God intended all of this to be part of a divinely inspired narrative, why wouldn’t “He” clarify matters?

“I beleive God favors His children, who have been adopted by faith in Christ.”

Favors how?

“We choose to place our faith in Christ…”

In what sense do we choose? What about people who just aren’t convinced that there even is a God? How does this apply to them?

“I believe God is the initiator and I am the responder.”

God is the initiator how? Again, what about those who never ‘feel’ God and don’t even know if “He” exists?

Danny Sutherland

…in response to Ryan’s question about Jesus’ prayer in John 17: 5-9: Jesus is praying specifically for his disciples in that passage. But in verse 20, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe….”
Maybe I haven’t quite grasped the whole of your conversation, Ryan, but from the looks of things, your question might have been much more easily answered if you had read on through the rest of the chapter.
When I see questions about the bible, faith and Christianity that can’t seem to be satisfied “enough”, I begin to feel like the questions are no longer motivated by a desire to learn, but a desire to argue/debate.
My resolve then is simply to answer the question with a question; why do I see this so clearly, and you don’t?
For much of scripture, the answers to most questions can be easily discovered simply by reading it ALL. However, if it were “all” able to be explained with human reason and rationale, where then would be the need for faith?

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