This is the manuscript of the sermon I actually preached. It’s a good deal shorter and, in my opinion, much clearer on the matter. What do you think?
11 When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12 Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
15 “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.
17 “If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
When I rejected the Gospel
Before certain men came from James, [Peter] used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. (Galatians 2:12)
I am Peter.
It’s just tradition. It’s the way it’s always been. So what’s the big deal? Just go with it. As far back as anyone can remember, Jews and Gentiles don’t mix. We just don’t eat together. We’re not saying they’re worse than us, it’s just, you know, we don’t eat together. So it’s not that big a deal if I go back to the traditions. I mean, I showed that Gentiles aren’t that bad by eating with them before. And here’s a group of Jews that love their traditions. So I’ll go back and keep the traditions. It’s just easier this way.
Besides, if I don’t keep the traditions, if I don’t go back and do things the old way, they’ll cause all sorts of trouble here. They’ll accuse me of not being a Christian. They’ll say that Christians are supposed to act a certain way. That we’re supposed to keep all those old traditions. And it’s better that I don’t make waves. It’s better that I keep the peace. And it’s just tradition. What does it matter? (more…)