Paul had the incredibly religious background, but in ignorance he attempted to destroy God’s work. Because of his blasphemous and violent past, he considered himself the chief of sinners. The beginning of his story just precedes the story of Cornelius.
Cornelius was a Gentile – a race of people whom Paul described as “separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). Cornelius was all that, but he was devout and generous.
So there are people with strict religious backgrounds and those without them. There are those who are so interested in the way of God that God sends someone to them knowing they will hear. There are others so opposed to the way of God that God has to blind them to make them see the error of their ways.
What people need, regardless of their past or present, is Jesus. What if your upbringing was far from godly like Cornelius’ likely was, and you are now blasphemous and violent like Paul definitely was? What if you had a strict religious background like Paul, but are devout and generous like Cornelius was? You need Jesus.
When you tell a doctor your health history, he listens carefully, evaluates, and then prescribes the medicine he believes will work. When God examines you, he prescribes what he prescribes to every other person – oneness with Christ. For your sin sickness, which all of us has – or had – there is one cure, the precious blood of Christ. No evaluation. No questions about potency. No consideration of other cures. Jesus is the Life.
Where you’ve been doesn’t change what you need. Where you are doesn’t change what you need. What decision will you make today about life with Jesus?