In the previous post, we learned that Peter deserted grace and returned to the law for righteousness.
He reverted to the law, following its mandate for a Jew to not mix with the Gentiles so the nation of Israel would not abandon God by following the false gods of the Gentile nations.
They were not to eat with or marry Gentiles.
The nation of Israel was to be a light to the Gentiles by revealing the truth about God.
When Jesus came, he was the light to the Gentiles.
Through his death, Jesus ended the Law of Moses, enabling Jews and Gentiles to assemble in on body...one family of grace.
This is called the church
Both Jew and Gentile would now relate to God and each other through grace, meaning all that God did for them in Christ.
Jesus sent Paul to be a light to the Gentiles and Peter to the Jews to teach them the truths of grace (Galatians 2:7-9).
However, Peter deserted grace and returned to the Law of Moses for righteousness (Galatians 2:11-13), telling the Gentiles they must not only believe in Jesus as the Messiah for righteousness, but they also must follow the Law of Moses - its diets, days, duties, and demands for righteousness.
The reason he did so was because he was influenced by men sent from James, the leader of the Messianic church in Jerusalem, to spy on the freedom from the law and freedom in Christ the people of the grace-based church in Antioch were enjoying (Galatians 2:12).
These men infiltrated the church and were persuading people to set aside grace and return to the law for righteousness and for how a Jew should relate to a Gentile.
By doing this, they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel of grace (Galatians 2:14).
One of these persuaded was Peter.
Before these men came from James, Peter enjoyed friendship with the Gentiles (Galatians 2:12).
He enjoyed eating with the Gentiles.
But when these men came, he ceased friendships and eating with the Gentiles.
He returned to the law to seek righteousness, and he persuaded others to follow him in his desertion of grace.
In his heart, Peter knew the Law of Moses had been abolished through the death of Jesus.
In a dream and in an encounter with Cornelius (a Gentile), God revealed to Peter he was to no longer follow the Law of Moses (Acts 10).
Yet Peter so feared the rejection and craved the acceptance of those from Jerusalem, that he set aside grace and returned to the law, leading many others away with his decision.
Paul confronted Peter for his hypocrisy (Galatians 2:11, 14-21).
Paul told Peter that if Peter, a Jew, lived like a Gentile by no longer following the Law of Moses, then how could he tell the Gentiles to follow the Law of Moses for righteousness (Galatians 2:14).
He told Peter that since he (Peter) knew a person is not justified (declared by God to be righteous) by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus, and that through the works of the law no one be will be justified, then how could he tell the Gentiles to pursue righteousness through the works of the law (Galatians 2:15-16).
In the next post, we will continue Paul’s confrontation of Peter.