|Galatians 2:11-14 |
11 But when Peter had come to Antioch, I opposed him according to his judgment because it was blamable.1
12 For before certain men came from James, Peter ate with the Gentiles; but when the men had come, he drew back and held himself aloof [from the Gentiles], for fear [of offending] those who were of the circumcision [Jewish Christians sent by James]. [To eat with the new, visiting Jewish-turned-Christians, Peter withdrew from eating with the Gentile converts to Christianity. Paul's point was that the Gentile-turned Christians would mistakenly conclude they needed to observe the Mosaic Law in order to have the same status as the Jews-turned Christians.]
13 And the other Jews also concealed their true convictions; so much that Barnabas was also carried away with their hypocrisy.
14 But when I saw that they did not walk uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live after the manner of Gentiles, and not like the Jews do, why do you compel the Gentiles to live like the Jews do?
1 But when Peter had come to Antioch, I opposed him according to his judgment because it was blamable. So here Paul opposed Peter, telling us that Peter's judgment was blamable. There are many who joyfully say, "See, Peter sinned, proving that if Peter sinned, then no one can be sinless." To those who judge Peter a sinner, I say: Who are you to judge Peter! Who are you to say his mistake was a sin? Are you so wise a judge and close to God as to conclude that Paul's words of "blamed" and "hypocrisy" constitute sin? Be careful that you do not fall in the steps of the Jews, who said Jesus sinned by healing on the Sabbath, who said his disciples sinned by gathering grain on the Sabbath; and the scriptures clearly said so, didn't they?
In fear of offending the Jewish Christians, who were evidently still practicing portions of the Mosaic Law because they had not yet been convinced by the Holy Spirit to relax its many restrictions, Peter withdrew from eating with the Gentile converts to Christianity. Paul's point was that the Gentile-turned Christians would mistakenly conclude they needed to observe the Mosaic Law in order to have the same status as the Jews-turned Christians. Though when previously challenged for association with uncircumcised Gentiles, Peter had informed other Apostles and brothers that eating with the Gentiles had been permitted by the Holy Spirit; in this case Peter was evidently waiting until the Jews-turned Christians received the appropriate teachings from the Holy Spirit personally.
Peter unintentionally slighted the Gentile Christians. Perfection is not being without mistakes; perfection is to be without sin in God's eyes. According to William Penn, to God a perfect man is: blameless, sinless, a shunner of evil; yet can still make mistakes that are not sins, still be subject to disease, and be without perfect wisdom or glory. And quoting John Gratton: "So it is plain, men may be really, perfectly, sincerely, children or branches, yet may grow from strength to strength, faith to faith, in and by the spirit of the Lord, yet be perfect children, and grow to be young men, and overcome the wicked one, and still grow to be fathers, and still press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded. This is the perfection we mean; we do not mean such a perfection as that nothing can be added to it."
In the Body of Christ one individual does not have all knowledge or all gifts; what you don't have is made up by other members of the Body, so whatever knowledge is needed, is received and shared to be sure the Body works together — all controlled by the Head, Christ Himself. Sometimes, you are deliberately left in need of another member of the Body to complete your knowledge and understanding on some point. This is to maintain your humility and to strengthen the Body as a whole. This is why Peter was corrected by Paul regarding his not eating with the Gentiles when the Hebrews were around; a correction that Peter immediately owned because his Spirit of Christ confirmed it. Christ could have personally corrected Peter; but for the sake of the Body, he let Paul, the Apostle of the gentiles, correct Peter. After you are perfected, (freed from sin), you will still be receiving wisdom and knowledge from Christ the Head or from fellowship with other mature members of the Body, including occasional correction; but if you have matured to perfection, that correction must be confirmed by the Spirit of Christ within you.