When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For 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. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas 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? “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of 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 the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.
“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
This piece of the letter is a brief summary of our Faith. We are justified because of the love of Christ and no other reason. It is no longer us who live but Christ in us and it is by faith in Christ that we live from day to day. It seems simple but it is really not. Cephas (Peter) lived with Jesus for 3 years. He saw many miracles, he performed many miracles. He even walked on water. Peter was the disciple that first recognized Jesus as the Christ (Messiah). It was Cephas who Jesus chose to lead the church and even he got it wrong. We have this need to control the world around us. Legalism is safe, its definable. It can be measured and taught. Our life lived in Christ is a daily conflict between our freedom and our need for routine and boundaries. If Peter can get it wrong then we can have a little grace for ourselves. Hope you have a great weekend