Church politics can be messy. Witness the major social upheavals like Henry VIII and Luther’s 95 Thesis and you can see that those divisions can separate the church body. We see in Paul’s day that it was ugly then. If Paul did not stand for the principles of our faith, what might the Church be today?
Prior to Paul confronting Peter in Antioch, Paul and Barnabus had been working there teaching the new believers. Now Jewish Christians came to check on the progress being done. These men were strict about the kosher laws. They wouldn’t eat meals with the Gentiles or eat what they ate.
Peter became afraid of those Jewish Christians and didn’t want his reputation ruined with them so he too refused to dine with the Gentiles as he once did. As a result Paul called Peter a hypocrite publicly. Who would have thought that Peter “The Rock” would fold again as he did in the past?
As it turns out, Paul risked his reputation but brought the other believers around not to require Gentiles to be circumcised but that we were “Made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not the law”-v.16.
How freeing it is to not to live under the law that held us captive and condemned us because of our failure to uphold it! Trusting in the Lord is what can unite us as brothers and as sons and daughters of the Most High.