Daily Devotional Thursday 15th Octoberby William Moody
Paul Opposes Peter
11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.1 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas 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?”
Or fearing those of the circumcision
Paul had spoken of how Peter had previously supported him in his understanding of the Gospel (2 v9). But now Peter (Cephas) and Paul have a strong disagreement (v11) and Paul condemns Peter’s behaviour.
The problem was that Peter had mixed with Gentile believers and acted like them, but when some Jewish believers from the Jerusalem church came among them, Peter put on his Jewish hat and withdrew from the Gentile believers (v12-13).
This was a clear denial of the gospel of grace and it resulted in all the Jews in ostracising the Gentile Christians (v13). Even Barnabas, who was normally such an encouragement, got caught up in this.
Paul confronts the terrible hypocrisy in Peter face to face (v14). Behaviour which hinders particularly young believers needs to be challenged.
We need to be so careful that we do not discriminate against or ostracise any believers. Are there those within the church fellowship who you avoid or who have little time for? Pray about this and seek to reach out to such people.
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