11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
Peter was being convinced by the Circumcision Party of the need to follow Jewish ordinances and traditions of men in order to gain salvation. These people believed as they always had, Torah first and salvation second. Today we would more closely associate this with the preacher telling a new guest in the church they would need to read the whole Bible, get baptized, receive communion and make a tithe and then they would have Jesus as Savior. The truth is, as we all know, that we receive Christ in faith and as a result of that grace we in turn read the Bible, get baptized, receive communion and make a tithe. It is the evidence of our faith. The sad part is that many do not see the same thought behind abstaining from pork, worshipping on the Sabbath and keeping the Feasts. They too are evidence of the faith of YHVH.
12 For before that certain (Peter) came from James, he did eat (associate) with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
A sect of Judaism with the strict adherence of the Pharisees, this is a major topic of discussion in Acts 15, all of Romans and here in Galatians. The Talmud had a rule that the goyim or Gentiles, were unclean and were not to be associated with for fear of being ostracized by the community. Peter is thus visited by YHVH to set this misconception straight.
Acts 10:10-20 “And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate, And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.”
Then in verse 28 “And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” This vision is about mankind and not about food as many mistakenly teach.
13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with (to act hypocritically in concert with) him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. (hypocrisy, feigning moral character, deceit)
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 after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
Peter is showing through his behavior that he is caving to the Pharisees/circumcision party by joining their table. Romans 2:24-25 “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.”
15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law (performing Torah) but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law (tradition of keeping Torah): for by the works of the law (tradition of keeping Torah) shall no flesh be justified.
The key here is this: once Yeshua had completed the sacrifice for sin, there was no need for the actions of sacrificing an animal, and it was the innocent blood along with the contrite heart that repaired the relationship with Father God. If you missed either part, then the actions were not acceptable and God did not have to pardon the sin. [Numbers 14-15]
So Yeshua provides the perfect sacrifice and the believer has to supply the contrite heart, then the person has a repaired relationship THAT is Salvation. Sanctification in the continuation of a repaired relationship in which the person strives to live according to God’s word which is accordingly the Tanakh/Old Testament.
17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. (1 John 3:4 “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”)
18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
Paul is making it obvious here of his understanding of Jesus’s sacrifice and who it was that compelled his personal change in belief of Christ’s redemption, as well as, keeping the Torah out of love for God.
19 For I through the law (the complete Law-of-Liberty in Jesus for the redeemed (see James 1:25, James 2:12, Romans 8:2)) am dead to the law (Oral-Law of tradition; the Mishnah or Pharisaic law), that I might live unto God.
20 I am crucified (to impale in company with) with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (I no longer live with the constant need of the tradition and ritual of the Pharisees, I now live in the mercy shown on the cross and the victory of the resurrection)
21 I do not frustrate (violate) the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law (If you could get salvation by the law.), then Christ is dead in vain.
A reminder before getting into Chapter 3:
2 Peter 3:14-17 “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked (G113 ἄθεσμος athesmos – lawlessness), fall from your own stedfastness.”