Galatians Part 14 - Galatians 2:11-14

4. As Paul rehearses the determination of the Jerusalem council, he refers to James, Peter (Cephas, JOH 1:42) and John as pillars. v. 9. A. Pillars are prominent supports in great structures. So it is with the apostles. EPH 2:20; REV 21:14. B. The man who walks by faith will be made a pillar in God's house. 1JO 5:4-5 c/w REV 3:12; JER 1:18. C. It is a comfort to the faithful who overcome temptations and trials that, as in times past, the King stands by the pillar. 2KI 11:14; 23:3; ACT 27:23; 2TI 4:17; MAT 28:20. 5. The council had also emphasized the support of the poor, who shall be with us always (in spite of utopian dreamers). v. 10 c/w MAT 26:11; PRO 28:27. A. There may be poor saints. ROM 15:26. B. The Good Samaritan shows us general relief. LUK 10:30-36 c/w GAL 6:10. vs. 11-14. 1. Of all people to have so done, Peter succumbed to the pressure of the Jews. Even the best of men are but men at best. JOH 13:37-38; 1CO 10:12. A. At issue here was an inconsistency. Peter had been willing to live as a Gentile (eating bacon, shellfish, etc. in their homes) but by his turnaround example was compelling Gentiles to live as Jews. (1) Peter knew full well (as did others) that the Holy Spirit had made clear that Jew and uncircumcised Gentile believers alike are saved by grace and accepted by God. The Jerusalem council in ACT 15 had confirmed this and issued decrees (ACT 16:4) which caused rejoicing and consolation in Antioch. ACT 15:30-31. (2) The issue here was whether Gentile Christians should be admitted to social intercourse with Jewish Christians without conforming to Jewish institutions (v. 12 c/w ACT 11:3). Peter ate with Gentiles until the Jews arrived, then stopped doing so. What kind of message was this sending to the Gentile believers? What were they? Chopped bacon? (3) Peter and others there “...walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel...” (v. 14). Practical Christianity must be in accord with the truth of Christ: our intercourse with others should be congruent with the tenets of our faith. (4) An analogy to this might be if white Christians came to the realization that black Christians had as much a part in Christ as themselves (or vice-versa) but could not bear social intercourse with them. (5) NOTE: It is only the fullness of the gospel that delivers men from bondage to sin and from foolish prejudices that run contrary to grace. B. This event most likely occurred after the Jerusalem council, when Paul and Barnabas returned to, “...and continued in Antioch...” (ACT 15:35). (1) It probably happened in “some days” between ACT 15:35 and ACT 15:36. (2) Barnabas would have caught indirect fire from Paul and it may be wondered if that reproof had some influence on Barnabas’s insistence in the John Mark affair that followed. ACT 15:36-41. a. A prophet was “...subject to like passions as WE are...” said the Apostle James. JAM 5:17. b. Weakness and temptation of all kinds are common to men (PRO 27:19). Not even apostleship guaranteed against succumbing to the influence of the old man. ROM 7:8, 18-19. c. Beware of thinking/saying, “I would never...” c/w MAR 14:29-31. C. Because the Papists value the Apostle Peter so highly, they have tended to argue that this was a different Peter (perhaps one of the seventy disciples, LUK 10:1). (1) The context and grammar clearly show that there is only one Peter under consideration: the Apostle Peter. GAL 1:18-19; 2:7-11. (2) Here was a lapse in judgment from which Peter (and Barnabas and others) needed conversion. LUK 22:32 c/w JAM 5:19. D. Peter’s “...fearing them which were of the circumcision” (v. 12) was a great departure from his earlier boldness concerning the uncircumcision. ACT 10:45-48; 11:1-3; 15:5-11. (1) The fear of man brings a snare. PRO 29:25. (2) The Judaizers themselves were letting the fear of man dictate their thinking and actions. GAL6:12-13. E. The powerful sway of the Pharisees and apostate Jews deterred many from following Christ. MAT 23:13; JOH 9:22; 12:42. F. Politicians were prone to pacifying the powerful Jewish element in the land. LUK 23:23-24; ACT 12:3; 24:27; 25:9. G. In a sense, this remains a persuasive factor to this day. Many professing Christians mistakenly endorse Pharisee religion based upon a faulty interpretation of Scripture. GEN 12:3 c/w GAL 3:7-9. 2. Peter had been given an exalted position as an apostle and elder. He that walks with a full cup must walk very level. ECC 10:1; JAM 3:1. A. See here the terrible consequences that a bad example in leadership brings and thus, the responsibility incumbent upon a man of God to stand fast under pressure. EXO 32:1-2. B. Peter's bad example was all that others needed to give in to their fears and weaknesses (v. 13). Fear is infectious and hinders the armies of Christ (JOS 14:8; DEU 20:8). Leaven spreads quickly. GAL 5:9; 2TI 2:17-18; HEB 12:15. C. Peter and those that followed his example had been guilty of dissimulation, an error consistent with Pharisaic influence. LUK 12:1 c/w ROM 12:9. (1) dissimulation: The action of dissimulating or dissembling; concealment of what really is, under a feigned semblance of something different; feigning, hypocrisy. (2) They had surrendered gospel principle and practice to the interests of the flesh, making religion a hollow set of platitudes. 3. Paul withstood Peter “ the face...” (v. 11). One of the hardest things a Christian must do is confront an errant brother or sister to their face. But, it must be done. LEV 19:17; PRO 27:5. A. A wise man will respond favorably to godly reproof, though he may initially resent it. PRO 9:8; 28:23. B. This underscores the benefits of corporate fellowship and the ministry of fellow-saints. HEB 3:13; ECC 4:9-10. 4. An apparent problem arises here. If Peter's offence was open and evident, why was he not disciplined for a common-report transgression? A. Hypocrisy is not listed as an excludable offence in ROM 1:29-32; 1CO 6:9-10; GAL 5:19-21; EPH 5:3-5; 2TI 3:1-5. B. For a professing Christian, ANY conduct contrary to his profession would be hypocrisy. We are all hypocrites since we subscribe to a perfect standard of righteousness, and are especially hypocrites when we think we could never be wrong. C. It does not say that Peter was blamed, but that “...he was to be blamed” (v. 11). The phrase “was to be” implies futurity or potential. c/w ACT 21:37; 2CO 3:7. D. If Peter were to be charged at all for his actions here, it would have to be with heresy. Peter was creating a division or schism in the body of Christ, which things are borne of heresy. ROM 16:17; 1CO 11:18-19. E. Heretics are allowed two admonitions before action is taken against them. TIT 3:10.