This passage describes a hair-raising confrontation between the two great Apostles. Paul’s strong language is like an electric shock! The situation was very specific, but the challenging lesson is timeless. Who we (do or don’t) eat with is a litmus test of the gospel we claim to believe. Social divisions, barriers or hierarchies of value within a church could not be more serious. But the gospel of Jesus is a game-changing remedy. Will we live in line with it?
(1) What was so distressing to Paul about what Peter was doing? How serious was it?
(2) Why was it ‘not acting in line with the gospel’ for Jewish Christians to stop eating with Gentile believers?
(3) How should knowing we are justified by faith in Christ affect social or ethnic divisions in the church?
(4) Looking at our relationships and inclusivity as a church, can you think of ways we might be in danger of not acting in line with the truth of the gospel? What might we be ‘afraid’ of?
(5) How might v20 change the way we see ourselves and other Christians who are different from us?