But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 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. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 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?” We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
Comment: Not in Jerusalem now but in Antioch the same problem is faced again. Cephas (Peter) was eating with the gentile believers (and I suspect with other unbelieving gentiles) until some of the ‘circumcision party’ arrived and then Cephas would eat with them no more. It was not now just a matter of circumcision but of Jewish food laws. Barnabas, a Jew, a fellow worker with Paul as the evangelist to the gentiles, was led astray by Cephas’ behaviour. Paul ‘squares up’ and faces them with the truth of the gospel. It is grace through faith that saves, no one is saved by the law except if they keep it perfectly, which no one but Christ ever has. This is not a negotiable matter Paul is saying!
Prayer: Even though I am not saved by the things I do, please help me live a life which glorifies You!