“Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed…”
because he was to be blamed
Literally, “was to be blamed” is to know something against someone, to condemn him. When Peter first arrived in Antioch, he partook in meals without regard to Mosaic food regulations. When James’s representatives came to Antioch, Peter withdrew from the Gentiles because he feared the Judaizers. Others soon followed Peter’s example. They were “carried away” by his model of legalism. Peter was blatantly wrong in this.
Paul called Peter on this compromise, for he had taken the cowardly way out of the conflict between believers in Antioch. Peter became a faker for expediency reasons. He departed from God’s grace by an act of concession by siding with legalistic Judaizers. The church at Antioch was on the move; they had already launched their first missionary journey. Paul and Barnabas catapulted the service of this church by their grace teaching to the Gentiles. Because of this, most missionary movements from this point launched from Antioch, not Jerusalem.
A mature person can take rebuke objectively.
Sin can overtake even the finest men when they let their guard down. When fine men fall, they leave a bad example for many others.
Samson, David, Elijah, and Jonah all had their problems. None of them sunk so low that they were beyond recovery. None of them was so secure that he was beyond the pale of temptation. Although Peter was one of the most outstanding leaders of the first century, he was not infallible. No great leader is infallible.
Peter took his rebuke from Paul with maturity. Sometimes the greatness of our walk with the Lord depends on how we handle rebuke. Pride might cause us to defend ourselves in the face of the facts. It may cause us to resent the person who calls us on our problem. There is no justification in saying, “You are no better than I am.” No, a mature Christian evaluates rebuke and accepts it objectively if it applies to him. We lose out if we resent those who try to correct us.