After reading Galatians 2 and seeing the way that Peter acted amongst believers, his actions did not appall me. He was eating with the gentiles, apparently as they were and in their tradition, yet when James returned he quickly left and ignored them and went back to the Jews (Christian Jews). The reason that his actions did not appall me: because it was MY actons that appall me. I do the same thing so often. Its like the junior high lunch room. You sit with some of the dorky kids from church because they are your friends, but when the popular kids you are trying to earn points with show up you quickly get up, go sit down and join them. All the while acting as if nothing ever happened with the other people because they are not cool enough or do things differently. THeir traditions and actions are different than the popular kids. This story is not just made up, it was me in many cases throughout my life. If my fraternity brother saw me talking to that girl, or if my political buddies saw me talking to that democrat, or if my church friends saw me talking to that drunkard.....Although the times are different, the idea is similar. The Jews felt superior to the gentiles and the "uncircumcised". Its not that they did not associate with them per se, but rather they often thought that their traditions and ways were beneath them. How dumb is that? Who am I (or Peter) to think that we are too good for another person? I think it is absurd. But i still do it. What does it make me look like, thats the thought running in my head.
In this instance it was talking about how the Jews tried to force the gentiles to live under the Jewish law. But i cant help where my mind goes. It made me think that we so often expect others to live like us, but then we sometimes are embarrassed to be seen associating with the same people. As Christian, we cannot live in a world of blind dogmatism and expectancy that sinners will live like christians or they are unworthy of the church. Preposterous! How can you say that someone who is a sinner must live their life like christ and not do social sins? You cant! You yourself are a sinner, albeit saved by grace, but there was a time where you were no different than these so called "sinners" that must behave like a christian or they are ostrascized from the church. This self-righteousness is so disgusting to me. You cant make a dog meow like a cat, much in the same way you cant make a sinner conform to the christian law. You do not reform someone by their actions, God reforms them through their hearts.
Long post, lots of thoughts, not all on topic but stem from the initial topic. That the Jews and Gentiles serve and worshiped the same God, and the discrimination was unfounded. The idea is that we should be unified, ALL believers. We also should not be the moral police to sinners, instead we should show them the Love of Christ and share with them the gospel of Christ. He who has known no sin, became sin for us. Our debts are paid and we can re communion with a Holy God through His Son in the Holy Spirit. People are not persuaded to become christians by moral policing or lectures or stern headings of "hell". They come to know Christ because they see what Christ has done and understand that they are worthless without His grace. How do they see this? Love. Love for others, servant spirit, and preaching of the convicting truth of Christ. We may be rotten sinners, but in Christ we are pure. You convey this with the true gospel that offends. It offends because no one wants to admit they are nothing and that another person is everything. Ego, Pride. Christ is everything, we must die to ourselves and allow Him to take control. This is the answer to unity.