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Read Introduction to Galatians


“And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.”


so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy

The hypocrisy of Peter and his friends lead even Barnabas away from the truth. “Hypocrisy” is to act behind a mask. A stage actor pretends to be someone he is not. Hypocrisy is pretense. An outward show of something he is not inwardly. This is to be two-faced. He does not present his actual self. 

In the ancient Greek play, the play-actor would wear an enlarged wax mask that covered their entire head. They had a smiling mask for the happy role and a frowning mask when they played the tragic part. When they acted, they judged from behind a mask. In either case, neither was the real person. Peter, Barnabas, and others put on the front of legalism, denying the grace of God.

Their hypocrisy led others to defect from grace. Others disowned the truth of grace by the behavior of their leaders. They took their cue from leaders. No Christian should let himself become disillusioned over leaders who go astray doctrinally. It should surprise no Christian who understands the sin capacity. Our sin capacity never improves or gets better.

Barnabas was a colleague in ministry and a close friend of Paul. Barnabas was there for Paul when few others would trust him (Acts 9:27). Paul left Jerusalem as a murderer and returned as a missionary. Who would believe this? Barnabas believed Paul even though everyone around did not believe him. Everyone was skeptical, but Barnabas took him in (Acts 11:19f). Barnabas was a good man, a man of faith (Acts 15:25). He introduced Paul into the ministry of teaching the Word at Antioch of Syria. He was with Paul on the first missionary journey to what is called Turkey today. 

Both Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel of grace together. Now Barnabas put on a mask that did not show his true belief in grace. It was implausible that Barnabas would fall into legalism. This was a cruel blow to Paul. Barnabas’ action was a real shocker. Even a senior and veteran missionary can go bad. Barnabas put too much confidence in Peter by eating with legalists. However, they were men, and as men, they had all the potential of failure residing within them because they had a sinful capacity to pull them down.


Expediency never justifies deception.


True Christianity must operate on truth, not deceit. Truth is more important than unity. When Christians present themselves as something they are not, the relationship can have no integrity.

Expediency never justifies deception. Many leaders today fall into the trap of fearing to teach the truth. Leaders should never succumb to public opinion about communicating truth. We cannot allow the pressure of the mob to get to us; otherwise, the ministry will suffer significant losses.