Apart from Titus’ circumcision there is another twisted, misunderstood, and confusing Scripture in GALATIANS. In 2:14 Paul is rebuking Peter for–what exactly? For suddenly treating the Gentiles as if they were unclean when the men from James came? For eating with the Gentiles? For living like a Gentile? For living like a Jew but not telling the Gentiles? For not being straightforward about the truth of the Gospel? To whom? The Gentile converts? The Jews from James? Themselves?
One thing we know for certain is that Peter, followed by Barnabas and the other Jewish Christians there, were being hypocritical. Another most certain fact is that the unlearned and unstable, mentioned by Peter in his second letter (3:16), can make just about anything out of this they want, with the result that any reader lacking the will to explore the passage’s deeper truth will accept it.
First let’s look at the relevant Scriptures as they are written:
GALATIANS 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. V.12 For before that certain (men) came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. V.13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabus also was carried away with their dissimulation.
V.14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest not after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
V.15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
It is obvious from verses 14 and 15 Paul is not here advocating that Peter and the other Jewish apostles live as Gentiles. But in Antioch it appears they, who previously assembled with the Gentile converts suddenly shunned them out of fear of some newly arrived Jewish Christians from Yerushalem. Peter and the others were afraid the Jewish Christians would condemn them simply for eating with ‘unclean’ Gentiles, a practice forbidden to Jews (not Christian Jews). The result was that the apostles were not living like Jewish Christians either for both parties, Jews and Gentiles, had been cleansed by the blood of Messiah upon conversion.
We can understand this passage if it was written like this:
GALATIANS 2:11 When Peter came to Antioch, I (Paul) opposed him. V.12 For he had been eating with the Gentile Christians, but when some men came from James, he withdrew (so as not to be condemned by them for eating with unclean–uncircumcised–Gentiles, nor was he honest with the Gentile converts about what the Law says).
V.13 The rest of the Jewish Christians followed him (their hypocrisy offending the Gentile Christians who had been taught they were all one in Messiah).
V.14 (Paul) asked them, “If you live as if the Gentiles are not Jews (i.e. unclean), how can you lead them to live like Jews (who obey YHWH’s Law)? V. 15 We are not justified from the works of the Law if there is no faith through Yahshua (to cleanse these Galatians and make them spiritual Jews).
JAMES 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works (of the Law), is dead, being alone.
We cannot exist as Christians without both faith and the Law, for without faith we have legalism, and without Law we have licence (licentiousness).
Through the Law we discover that we are sinners. We are convicted of sin or transgression of the Law (I JOHN 3:4) by Yahshua (who kept the Law perfectly), forgiven and justified by His sacrifice (not by works of the Law, that is, animal sacrifices which do not remove sin, but remind us of it). Now we live for YHWH by obeying His Laws. He gives us the Holy Spirit to direct us in this and to reveal His will for our personal lives–which will never oppose the Law. Now that we are reconciled to YHWH through Yahshua’s sacrifice, we remain righteous through obedience to His Law (DEUT. 6:25).
It was well Paul rebuked Peter and the others, for by offending these previously Gentile but now ‘little ones’ of YHWH, they were in danger of having a millstone hanged about their necks and drowned in the depths of the sea (MATT. 8:6).
What I find almost amusing about this entire situation is that there is no evidence the Jewish Christians from James and the Yerushalem Church were actually condemning or judging Peter and the others FOR hanging around with the Gentiles. It was all a demonic attack in their imaginative, delusional minds!