Acts 11:17

Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift,.... Of the Spirit, of speaking with divers tongues:

as he did unto us; the apostles: who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ: which clause stands either connected with "us" the apostles, and so is descriptive of them who first believed in Christ, and became followers of him; or with "them" the Gentiles, as the Syriac version renders it, "if therefore God gave that gift equally to these Gentiles which believed on our Lord Jesus Christ, as unto us"; for it seems most likely, that faith in Christ came by hearing Peter's discourse, before the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit fell upon them:

what was I that I could withstand God? or hinder the baptism of these persons in water, whom God baptized with the Holy Ghost, and who believed in Christ Jesus: from whence it appears that the Spirit of God is a gift, which he bestows on whomsoever he pleases, without any desert of man's, and that both in his extraordinary operations, and in the common influences of his grace; for it is equally the gift of God to believe in Christ, which is a grace of the Spirit, as it was to speak with divers tongues; and these, though they did not always go together, yet here they did, as on the apostles, so on Cornelius and his house: and hence they became qualified for the ordinance of baptism; not by the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, but by his special grace; the extraordinary gifts were partly to confirm the Gospel preached unto them by Peter; and partly to assure him that he was right in going in to the Gentiles, and preaching to them; and to encourage him to baptize these persons who appeared to have also the grace of the Spirit, and to have believed in Christ; as well as to fit them, at least some of them, for public work and service: and now faith in Christ being a pre-requisite to baptism, and it being the will of Christ, and what he gave in commission to his disciples to baptize such as believed in him, and these being apparently such; to have refused to administer baptism to them, would have been acting contrary to the commission of Christ, a withstanding the will of God, and opposing the grace of the Spirit of God.