The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
Passing from the Jerusalem conference, Paul next mentions the strife which Peter and he had at Antioch. Peter had come down to see the work of God among the Gentiles. In his large-heartedness he had not only approved of it and rejoiced in it, but, laying aside all his Jewish prejudices, he had taken his seat at the table of the Gentiles, and had eaten whatever was placed before him. But certain "false brethren" having come round, and having urged the imperative necessity of ceremony, he yielded to his fears, withdrew from Gentile society, and lived in quarantine with the Judaizers. It would appear also that Barnabas was entrapped into similar vacillation; so that there was nothing for it but for Paul to stand up like a man and denounce Peter for his weakness. In doing so he was contending for the truth of the gospel. Let us look into the subject a little more closely.
I. CONSIDER PETER'S LIFE OF LIBERTY. (Ver. 12.) It was only right, and what we should expect, for Peter to throw aside his Jewish narrowness, the punctiliousness about meats and drinks, and to go in for brotherhood with the Gentiles at their feasts. Here we have the noble and big-hearted apostle acting upon his own better impulses. It is such liberty the gospel fosters. It is the foe of that narrowness which so often keeps men from uniting. It is the foe of that little-mindedness which keeps so many in estrangement. We cannot be broader in our sympathies or freer in our life than the gospel makes us. It can be easily shown that the so-called liberties beyond its sphere are real bondages.
II. CONSIDER PETER'S RETURN TO BONDAGE. (Vers. 12, 13.) When the Judaizers came down from Jerusalem, they were so positive about the necessity of the Jewish ceremonies and scrupulosities, as to put pressure upon the apostle; so that, taking counsel of his fears, he deliberately withdrew from Gentile society and shut himself up with the Jews. This was a sore fall. And so astute were these brethren in their dissimulation that Barnabas was also led away. It is well to see clearly how bondage sets in immediately on our abandoning principle and acting on the pressure of our fears. Men fancy that, when called upon to act on principle, they are forfeiting their liberty; but the truth is all the other way. The free are those who act upon the dictates of truth; the slaves are those who have surrendered principle because of pressure.
III. CONSIDER PAUL'S NOBLE REPRIMAND OF PETER. (Ver. 14.) It must have been a trial for Paul to take his stand against his senior both in years and in the apostolate. He must have appreciated the delicacy of his position in standing up against the conduct of the apostle of the circumcision. But he felt constrained to rebuke his brother as by his vacillating conduct traitorous to truth. And in no way can we testify so powerfully to truth as when we take the field, however reluctantly, against those we respect, and who are deservedly popular, but who have somehow erred in judgment upon some point of importance. It requires courage and firmness; but it always has its reward in the extension of truth and of God's kingdom.
IV. PAUL SHOWS THAT THE QUESTION OF JUSTIFICATION WAS REALLY INVOLVED IN PETER'S CONDUCT. (Vers. 15-17.) Peter had very properly, though a Jew, lived after the manner of Gentiles, and so manifested his Christian liberty. Why, asks Paul, does he now turn round and require Gentiles to live like Jews? Is it to be thus insinuated that ceremonies save men's souls? Is not this the vilest bondage? Is not the gospel, on the contrary, the embodiment of the truth that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? If Jewish ceremonies are still necessary to justification, then the work of Jesus Christ, in which we are asked to trust, cannot be complete. Such ceremonialism is thus seen to be in conflict with the gospel of justification by faith alone. To tell men that ceremonies must save them is to turn them away from Christ as the object of trust to rites and ceremonies as the object. Am I to believe in the power of baptism and of the sacraments as administered by certain persons in order to salvation? or am I to trust my Saviour? The two methods of salvation are totally distinct, and it is fatal to confound them. The meaning of all such ceremonialism is to put souls upon a false track, so far as salvation is concerned. It is to translate man's justification from the true foundation in Christ's work to the rotten foundation of self-righteousness. Against this we must ever wage persistent war.
V. PAUL CONSEQUENTLY INSISTS ON THE SINFULNESS OF THE LEGAL SPIRIT. (Ver. 18.) For what we destroy in accepting the gospel is all trust in ceremonies as grounds of salvation. The works of the Law are seen to be no ground of trust for justification and salvation. If, then, after having destroyed the self-righteous and legal spirit, and fled for refuge to Jesus as our Hope, we turn round like Peter to rebuild the edifice of self-righteousness and legalism, we are simply making ourselves transgressors. We are forfeiting our liberty and piling up fresh sin. Hence it is of the utmost moment that we should clearly and constantly recognize the sinfulness of the legal spirit. It robs Jesus of his rightful position as Saviour of mankind. It casts away the gospel and goes back for salvation to the Law, which can only condemn us; it makes the sacrifice of Jesus vain and only increases sin. Against all legalism, consequently, we must wage incessant war. Nothing is so derogatory to Jesus or destructive of men's souls. It is another gospel, but an utterly fallacious one. Unless Jesus has the whole credit of salvation, he will not be our Saviour. He must be all or nothing. "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." - R.M.E.
And the other Jews dissembled.
It is not difficult to trace here the characteristic temperament of Barnabas on its weak side. He was just that kind of disposition which makes it easy to become a partisan, to flow on with the general current, to take the complexion of surrounding opinion, and to sanction by acquiescence many things which ought to be resisted. It is not pleasant for a warm-hearted and generous man to tell his neighbours that they are all wrong. Where there is ready facility for giving and receiving confidence, and for securing co-operation, there must also be the danger of easy yielding, in order to please. But we may carry this trustful and inquiring acquiescence so far that it becomes unfaithfulness; and then harm results instead of good. The desire to make everything smooth with everybody is to be most resolutely resisted. If our end is to save souls we shall often find resistance a duty; and certainly the tolerating of erroneous human admixtures with revealed truth is not the way to save souls.
As it sometimes happens on the snow slopes of the Alps that one man's slip will involve the overthrow and destruction of all his fellow-travellers, so it is in the spiritual life. Peter drags Barnabas and the rest of the Jews with him; and in our own day men too often exercise the same fatal spell on those within the region of their influence.
This is hypocrisy — not simply for a man to deceive others, knowing all the while that he is
deceiving them, but to deceive himself and others at the same time; to aim at their praise by a religious profession, without perceiving that he loves their praise more than the praise of God.
()The hypocrite sets his watch not by the sun, i.e., the Bible, but by the town clock; what most do he will do.
When a number of ships are moored, or anchored, or buoyed in the river, all have an interest in the safety of each. If some of those that lie farther seaward break off from their moorings, and drift up with wind and tide, they will run foul of us as we lie secure in the channel farther up. The drifting ships may sink, but they will drag others down.
III.Totally inconsistent with Christian character,
PeopleBarnabas, Cephas, Galatians, James, John, Paul, Peter, Titus
PlacesJerusalem, Syrian Antioch
TopicsFALSE, Along, Astray, Barnabas, Carried, Concealed, Dissemble, Dissembled, Dissembling, Dissimulation, Hypocrisy, Insincerely, Insincerity, Insomuch, Jews, Joined, Lack, Led, Likewise, Opinions, Overcome, Played, Real, Rest, Result, Straightforwardness
Outline1. He shows when he went up again to Jerusalem, and for what purpose;
3. and that Titus was not circumcised;
11. and that he resisted Peter, and told him the reason;
14. why he and others, being Jews, believe in Christ to be justified by faith, and not by works;
20. and that they live not in sin, who are so justified.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGalatians 2:11-13
5114 Peter, apostle
5293 defence, human
7759 preachers, qualifications
5010 conscience, matters of
7336 circumcision, spiritual
7512 Gentiles, in NT
LibraryFebruary 10. "I am Crucified with Christ; Nevertheless I Live" (Gal. Ii. 20).
"I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live" (Gal. ii. 20). Christ life is in harmony with our nature. A lady asked me the other day--a thoughtful, intelligent woman who was not a Christian, but who had the deepest hunger for that which is right: "How can this be so, and we not lose our individuality! This will destroy our personality, and it violates our responsibility as individuals." I said: "Dear sister, your personality is only half without Christ. Christ was made for you, and you were …
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth
September 25. "The Faith of the Son of God" (Gal. Ii. 20).
"The faith of the Son of God" (Gal. ii. 20). Let us learn the secret even of our faith. It is the faith of Christ, springing in our heart and trusting in our trials. So shall we always sing, "The life that I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Thus looking off unto Jesus, "the Author and Finisher of our faith," we shall find that instead of struggling to reach the promises of God, we shall lie down upon them in blessed repose and be borne up by them …
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth
December 18. "The Faith of the Son of God" (Gal. Ii. 20).
"The faith of the Son of God" (Gal. ii. 20). Faith is hindered most of all by what we call "our faith," and fruitless struggles to work out a faith which is but a make-believe and a desperate trying to trust God, which must ever come short of His vast and glorious promises. The truth is that the only faith that is equal to the stupendous promises of God and the measureless needs of our life, is "the faith of God" Himself, the very trust which He will breathe into the heart which intelligently expects …
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth
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Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
The Duty of Remembering the Poor
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Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 2: 1856
"And if Christ be in You, the Body is Dead Because Sin,"
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Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning
Nor have I Undertaken that in the Present Discourse...
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St. Augustine—Against Lying
Or are we Indeed to Believe that it is for any Other Reason...
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St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.
Thus the Spirit of Man, Cleaving unto the Spirit of God...
29. Thus the spirit of man, cleaving unto the Spirit of God, lusts against the flesh, that is, against itself: but for itself, in order that those motions, whether in the flesh or in the soul, after man, not after God, which as yet exist through the sickness man hath gotten, may be restrained by continence, that so health may be gotten; and man, not living after man, may now be able to say, "But I live, now not I, but there liveth in me Christ."  For where not I, there more happily I: and, …
St. Augustine—On Continence
So Great Blindness, Moreover, Hath Occupied Men's Minds...
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St. Augustine—On Lying
Neither do they Confess that they are Awed by those Citations from the Old...
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St. Augustine—On Lying
Introduction to Apologia De Fuga.
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Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius
The Main Current of the Reformation
I One of the greatest tragedies in Christian history is the division of forces which occurred in the Reformation movements of the sixteenth century. Division of forces in the supreme spiritual undertakings of the race is of course confined to no one century and to no one movement; it is a very ancient tragedy. But the tragedy of division is often relieved by the fact that through the differentiation of opposing parties a vigorous emphasis is placed upon aspects of truth which might otherwise have …
Rufus M. Jones—Spiritual Reformers in the 16th and 17th Centuries
Whether God Became Incarnate in Order to Take Away Actual Sin, Rather than to Take Away Original Sin?
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Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica
Bread and Wine Cont.
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G. A. Chadwick—The Gospel of St. Mark
The Great Debt She Owed to Our Lord for his Mercy to Her. She Takes St. Joseph for Her Patron.
1. After those four days, during which I was insensible, so great was my distress, that our Lord alone knoweth the intolerable sufferings I endured. My tongue was bitten to pieces; there was a choking in my throat because I had taken nothing, and because of my weakness, so that I could not swallow even a drop of water; all my bones seemed to be out of joint, and the disorder of my head was extreme. I was bent together like a coil of ropes--for to this was I brought by the torture of those days--unable …
Teresa of Avila—The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus
Relation ii. To one of Her Confessors, from the House of Dona Luisa De La Cerda, in 1562.
Jesus. I think it is more than a year since this was written; God has all this time protected me with His hand, so that I have not become worse; on the contrary, I see a great change for the better in all I have to say: may He be praised for it all! 1. The visions and revelations have not ceased, but they are of a much higher kind. Our Lord has taught me a way of prayer, wherein I find myself far more advanced, more detached from the things of this life, more courageous, and more free.  I fall …
Teresa of Avila—The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus
Estimate of the Scope and Value of Jerome's Writings.
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St. Jerome—The Principal Works of St. Jerome
The Commentary is in three books, with full Prefaces. Book I., Ch. i. 1-iii. 9. Addressed to Paula and Eustochium, a.d. 387. The Preface to this book begins with a striking description of the noble Roman lady Albina, which is as follows: Only a few days have elapsed since, having finished my exposition of the Epistle of Paul to Philemon, I had passed to Galatians, turning my course backwards and passing over many intervening subjects. But all at once letters unexpectedly arrived from Rome with the …
St. Jerome—The Principal Works of St. Jerome
Twentieth Day. Holiness and Liberty.
Being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness: now present your members as servants of righteousness unto sanctification. Now being made free from sin, and become servants unto God, ye have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end eternal life.'--Rom. vi. 18, 19, 22. 'Our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus.'--Gal. ii. 4. 'With freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage.'--Gal. v. 1. There is no possession more …
Andrew Murray—Holy in Christ
Charity and Rebuke.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.--1 COR. xiii. 13. The second main point of difference between a true and a false Charity, we want to remark, is, Divine Charity is not only consistent with, but it very often necessitates, reproof and rebuke by its possessor. It renders it incumbent on those who possess it to reprove and rebuke whatever is evil--whatever does not tend to the highest interests of its object. This Charity conforms in this, as …
Second Great Group of Parables.
(Probably in Peræa.) Subdivision A. Introduction. ^C Luke XV. 1, 2. ^c 1 Now all the publicans and sinners were drawing hear unto him to hear. 2 And both the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. [For publicans see p. 76, and for eating with them see p. 349. The Pharisees classed as "sinners" all who failed to observe the traditions of the elders, and especially their traditional rules of purification. It was not so much the wickedness of …
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel
The Critical Reconstruction of the History of the Apostolic Age.
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Philip Schaff—History of the Christian Church, Volume I
This Question I Should Briefly Solve, if I Should Say...
24. This question I should briefly solve, if I should say, because I should also justly say, that we must believe the Apostle. For he himself knew why in the Churches of the Gentiles it was not meet that a venal Gospel were carried about; not finding fault with his fellow-apostles, but distinguishing his own ministry; because they, without doubt by admonition of the Holy Ghost, had so distributed among them the provinces of evangelizing, that Paul and Barnabas should go unto the Gentiles, and they …
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.
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