“But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face because he was to be blamed” (Galatians 2:11).
Blame (Gr. Kataginosko): To note against, to find fault with
Blame (Gr. Momoamai, from momos): A flaw or blot, blemish, disgraceful act
In his Epistle to the Galatians the Apostle Paul notes an occasion when he had to confront the Apostle Peter in Antioch when Peter was acting in a hypocritical manner over the issue of Jewish dietary laws. Peter’s vituperous behavior was called out by Paul because of his great concern for the integrity of the Gospel.
“When I saw they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel, I said to Peter; before them all, ‘If you, being a Jew, live after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why do you compel the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?'” (Galatians 2:14). The Apostle exposed the double standard in Peter’s actions for he knew it was contrary to the liberty of the believer, harmful to the community of saints and a roadblock to the Gospel of salvation through Grace.
The Apostle expressed this further in his second Epistle to the Corinthians, writing: “Giving no offence in anything, that the ministry be not blamed” (II Corinthians 6:3). It behooves us to hold, as the Apostle did, the Gospel and the ministry in high esteem and to guard them against reproach.
When we as believers act contrary to the Gospel, it is a blot and blemish to the ministry and is worthy of blame to those who conduct themselves in that way. The unbelievers, the other believers and the Lord Himself by the Holy Spirit will find fault and make a note against such disgraceful actions. When confronted in this way it is incumbent upon us to acknowledge our faults, humble ourselves and repent of our hypocritical, carnal, fleshly, and deceitful actions. Only in this way will the Gospel, the ministry and the saints be protected from the erosive influence of the world, the flesh and our enemy, the Devil.
What is the cause of our dissembling? In Peter’s case it was fear. Paul describes the situation this way: “Before certain came from James, Peter ate with the Gentiles; but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision (Jewish believers). And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation” (Galatians 2:12-13).
As Paul wrote also to the Galatians, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9; see also I Corinthians 5:6). We must stand guard over the household of faith and protect it from all harmful influences.
Self-seeking, self-promotion, pride, fear of man, timidity, are leaven in the Body of Christ that will bring reproach, blame and rebuke from the Lord. We must lay such things aside.
The Apostle Peter recovered from his duplicitous ways and wrote in his second great Epistle: “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. Nevertheless, we according to His promise look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. Wherefore, Beloved, seeing that you look for such things, be diligent that you may be found in Him in peace, without spot and blameless” (II Peter 3:12-14).
Blameless, without fault, in right standing before Christ in love. What a glorious vision we have been given as the Bride of Christ. “Presented to Christ a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that She should be holy and without blemish (without blame)” (Ephesians 5:27).
Only the Spirit of Christ working within us can do such a marvelous work of grace. Glory be to His holy Name.