Daily Word

Redefining holiness | Acts 10:9-16

9 On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the [d]housetop about [e]the sixth hour to pray. 10 But he became hungry and wanted to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance; 11 and he *saw the sky opened up, and an [f]object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, 12 and on it were all kinds of four-footed animals and [g]crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the sky.

13 A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, [h]kill and eat!” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything [i]unholy and unclean.” 15 Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer [j]consider unholy.” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the [k]object was taken up into the sky.

Acts 10:9-16 (NASB) 中文

Peter’s ministry

Peter has been ministering outside Jerusalem. He’s healed crippled Aeneas and revived the life of a blessed widow, Dorcas. Due to that miracle, many came to believe. Now God is preparing him for his next mission – to gentiles. God starts by giving a vision to a centurion, Cornelius in Caesarea. Now He works in Peter to make two worlds collide.

Kosher Jew

Peter was born and raised as Jew. He had kept all the ceremonial laws regarding acceptable eating habits. God prescribed in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14) what food Jews could and couldn’t eat. Most “religious” Jews abided by these. Even today many Jews are Kosher – which means they observe dietary restrictions. There is no way Peter could even consider eating any of these animals inside the tarp. 

Religious test?

It’s about lunch time and Peter decides to pray. Seems he is so hungry he falls into a trance and sees this vision. He knows it is spiritual and teaching him something. “Was this a test?” Peter may have thought? “God knows I’ve never eaten any of these.” 

Redefining holiness

But God is  teaching Peter what the proper definition of holiness is.  “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” Not that the law of Moses was wrong but that it could not lead to holiness since man can never fulfill the law. God is teaching Peter that holiness is what God defines as holy.


  • God’s call to us is to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). Take a personal holiness assessment. Is our holiness like God’s? We can come up with our own standard but it falls way short. How can we be holy without calling on Him?Our goal should not be just to sin less but to be sinless.
  • Do we find ourselves being “religious”? Following certain rules or patterns of behavior thinking that in them we are holy? Even good spiritual disciplines (like prayer, Bible reading and study, worship) can become religion if our heart is not in it.
What is holiness. Image from idlehearts.com *

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