Journal Gal 2 (all references are from the ESV unless noted otherwise; changes in punctuation are mine)

Scripture: But when Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.

For before certain men came from James, (Peter) was eating with the Gentiles (c. Acts 10 and 11); but when they (the certain men from James) came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.

But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the Gospel, I said to [Peter] before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?

We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; YET WE KNOW that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. [So] we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” Gal 2:11-16

Observation: An example of not continually reviewing and preaching the Gospel (in all its facets) to the FACE in the MIRROR. Even a leading Apostle (Peter) can fall victim to wavering in the face of influential men when a disciple doesn’t faithfully pursue the Word of God.

Analysis: Presumably, there was a sort of “apostolic council” or “leading council” of the Way in Jerusalem, inferred by the way that Paul presented his Gospel (c. Gal 1) to a group of leaders for approval and by the way factions have already bubbled up (a “circumcision party” and/or a group heavily influenced by James (the brother of Jesus)).

The politics of the Church starts early.

In Gal 2, the unchangeable FACT of Faith in Christ Jesus for redemption (not works) is listed plainly. (I write FACT instead of “Truth” because of my generation’s tendency to play fast and loose with the definition of “truth”—“my truth, your truth, who’s to know what is right?”)

Works are a result of Faith, but not the way to Faith and resulting redemption. Redemption and Salvation are all of God’s Sovereignty towards Man—man cannot earn his way to favor and salvation.

Ok, review is done so I can pound those FACTS of the Gospel into my puny brain this morning.

These things being said, perhaps the story has another message: the weakness inherent in all men to look to conform to group think; I think the scriptures may refer to this as “fear of man rather than the Fear of God.”

I read Acts 10 and 11 and see that Pete was instrumental to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles AND to teach/instruct the Jews of the Way that Gentiles were NOT second-class citizens of the Kingdom. But what happened?

Peter lost a little bit of heart. He could have opposed the leadership council. But, like Israel’s tendency, Peter forgot what happened to him. “But…they soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel…” (Ps 106:10-13, posting of Monday 08/29/22). Review:

And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said (argued), “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven. (Acts 10:13-16)

Peter had a vision while praying. The immediate result was the house of Cornelius, the centurion, being saved. What a moment! Glorious, right? The supernatural intervention of the Holy Spirit—and it was recorded for our instruction!!

So, what happened to Peter? He forgot the Works of God he was a part of, ignored the Ways of God to bring the Gentiles the Gospel, and Peter succumbed (in weakness) to the current politics, the Fear of Man, not God.

Bold Paul had to figuratively slap Peter around in Council so that he would remember the Gospel again.

What can I take from this?

  1. Continually review and remember the Gospel in every and all aspects. I cannot think that I can “move on” to another subject because “I know the Gospel—time to learn something else.”
  2. First mission: to pursue knowing Him. Every work that I do will ultimately fall to a distant place in the light of “Do I know you? (Matt 7:23)”
  3. Pursue the Word of God and godliness. (1 Tim 4:15, “Practice these things, immerse yourself in them…”
  4. The harvest is out there. Therefore, arm yourself with the Word of God; not that the Word is a tool against non-believers, but is a tool for us to remember the Gospel and to have unblinded confidence in His mighty hand.

Prayer: Father, help me walk in what I wrote. Make clear what is fuzzy, strengthen my clarity.


Ricky Two Shoes