(Thoughts on reading Ch.12 of “Do Not Call Anything Impure what God has Made Clean” by H. C. Kim)
Cornelius was a devout man who feared God. Was he regenerated before the gospel was proclaimed to him? We do not have enough evidence to give a definite answer. But regardless of the answer, God showed that he needed to know the full gospel. And by giving him the same Holy Spirit as was given to the Jewish Christians, God proved that Cornelius now shares the mission of the church — namely, giving and demonstrating the Kingdom answer to the world.
We know that spiritual ancestors like Abraham and David, to name a few, were also regenerated through faith based on the dim (but whole) revelation given at their time. But the revelation of God, through Jesus, has been now revealed as bright day light. And through Cornelius’ incident we see that God asks the generation with full revelation not to remain in dim light but to know the abundant truths given to the church through His completed written revelation.
Thus, it is a shame to remain knowing only half of the gospel, knowing Christ as someone who sends you to paradise after death; the gospel as a whole says that Christ has redeemed us from the slavery of darkness and incorporated us into His body, the Church, the Kingdom of Grace so that we can freely serve Him and bare the mission of His Kingdom as it marches in history toward its completion. All of this is based on the finished work of Christ on the cross.