Thursday, June 30, 2011

Walking tour thru Romans

There is so much to learn!  Where to start!?  

Even though we've been through all of Paul's epistles we decided to dig deeper and then go to Acts.  We're going through Romans and are wondering what your thoughts are about chapter 2, verses 6-10?  We see it as Paul setting up a case for leveling the playing field between the Jews and Gentiles.  Those particulars verses, however, sound like salvation is based on works. We would appreciate your input.

Romans 2
Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

Yes, there is plenty to learn when it comes to the word of God rightly divided!  It will come slowly, but you will grow as long as you are patient and let the Lord teach you thru those who know this truth. 

Even so, as you learn the sound doctrine as given to our apostle Paul, you will be able to handle the "Sword of the Spirit" valiantly!

2 Timothy 2:2, 7
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Consider what I [Paul] say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

Now, on to your question about Romans 2...

The entire book of Romans has for its theme: God is just to condemn both Gentile and Jew in his wrath for rejecting him and his word, but also, because he is very gracious, he extends mercy to those who will accepted it today thru the crosswork and shed blood of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ!

The book breaks down this way:

Chapter 1—God is just to condemn the immoral, heathen Gentiles/Nations.

Chapter 2—(verses 1-16)  God is just to condemn the "moral" Gentile; i.e., the one who does not have God's written word, but who listens to their conscience that has the "work of the law" (condemnation) written on it, and thinks that their good, charitable works are good enough to please God, and that they are better than those that don't do those same "good works" (Think "Oprah," trying to be spiritual but, without the God of the bible).

Chapter 2—(verses 17-29) God is just to condemn, those who actually have his written Word...the religious Jew.

Chapter 3—God offers salvation full and free today to both Jew and Gentile in Christ.

Chapter 4—That salvation is by God's grace thru our faith plus works!

Chapter 5—Our salvation is eternally secure thru the second Adam--the Lord Jesus Christ--just like we were eternally condemned in the first Adam.

Chapter 6—We are dead to sin thru our spiritual baptism/identification with Christ.

Chapter 7—We are dead to the Law thru our spiritual baptism/identification with Christ.

Chapter 8—The ministry of God the Holy Ghost is introduced, and we operate, not by the principle of keeping the Law, but by being led of the Spirit; i.e., following the word of his GRACE given to us by Paul.

Chapter 9—Paul explains the Nation of Israel's past.

Chapter 10—Paul explains Israel's present state.

Chapter 11—Paul explains Israel's future.

Chapter 12—Paul exhorts the individual members of the Body of Christ to renew their minds and walk in love towards each other—using everything they have to bless one another.

Chapter 13—Paul teaches us to live quiet and peaceable lives towards those that are without (the lost), especially submitting ourselves to governmental/civil authority (within the will of God).

Chapter 14—Paul teaches us how to handle the small differences that come up with the freedom that we have under Grace; especially, when it comes to food/drink/observing days/etc. Paul says that in Grace, we have complete freedom within the Will of God and no one else can determine what is right or wrong for us to do but ourselves. We need to be "fully persuaded in our own mind," and not judge/condemn our brethren for what Paul calls "doubtful disputations" (i.e., things that are not CLEARLY spelled out in the Word or are not large doctrinal things.)

Chapter 15—Paul explains that the Lord Jesus Christ's earthly ministry was to the Nation of Israel, but that the Lord sent Paul to be his minister to us Gentiles.

Chapter 16—Paul's closing remarks/conclusion: avoid those who cause division by teaching doctrines contrary to Paul and that God will establish a man thru Paul's gospel (gospel of the GRACE of God, that Christ died for our sins...Acts 20:24, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4)...and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the Mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest thru Paul. He also acknowledges those faithful saints who helped him minister.

So in Romans 2, Paul is telling us what the bible has already made clear in the Law; that is, that God, in his infinite holiness and justice, will give both glory/honour/immortality and eternal life to ANYBODY that has perfect righteousness (meaning, who has NEVER sinned against Him)!

Romans 2:6-10
Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good [continually], to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

He has also promised to all that have sinned against him his indignation and wrath! He will pour upon that soul his fury and it will be in eternal tribulation and anguish!

But any one, whether Jew or Gentile who can "worketh" ("eth" on the end of a word means continually/forever) good, without ever sinning once, will be just like him, and share his glory/honour/peace!  Unfortunately…

Romans 3:10, 12
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

But if there was, according to these verses, he would give that man/woman eternal life!

What the bible makes clear is that there is not a righteous man/woman upon the earth—no one who has patiently continued to do well thru out their entire life! What we see in mankind, because of sin, is that man is contentious toward God, we do not obey his truth, but we by nature obey UNrigtheousness.  Therefore we ALL deserve the wrath of God!

Romans 2:8
But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

So in Romans 2:6-10, Paul is not teaching works-based salvation, but he is teaching works-based eternal life, because if a person never sinned against God, then they would have no need to be saved from his wrath!

God will give his eternal life if, and only if, a person never sins against him from their mother's womb and for the rest of their life! But we know that all have sinned, so God cannot give his eternal life to any human being!  None of us can ever earn that eternal life based on our "good works!"  Therefore, all we deserve is his wrath; and, therefore we need a Saviour!   (Enter, “the Lord Jesus Christ!”)

By chapter 3 we see that ALL have sinned (both Jew and Gentile) and come short of the glory of God (i.e., his perfection). Therefore we all deserve to be cast away from his glory for all eternity in the Lake of Fire!

To summarize, we see in these verses that that "moral" gentile looks down on others who don't do the same so-called "good works" that he/she does, yet God knows that that "moral" gentile does the same sins in secret that the immoral one does out in the open. And one day, at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20), those gentiles who died without being covered by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ will stand before God and give account for every sin!

Revelation 20:11-15
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Hopefully this helps...Maranatha!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Born of water

I was always puzzled as to why, if Nicodemus thought physical birth was a reference to water, why then did Jesus correct him by saying you must be baptized with water.

John 3:4-5
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

It didn’t make sense, but that's what the church has taught regarding being born of water.  I did some research on the custom of Jewish water baptism and that totally cleared up everything for me in John.  It was awesome.  It dawned on me that the text isn’t associating physical birth with water—and that is why Jesus corrected him. 

The clue to keep in mind regarding the Jewish earthly kingdom ordinance of water baptism is that it has to do with Israel's calling by God to be a kingdom of priests to minister to God for the gentiles in the kingdom here on the earth. In Exodus chapter 29, God tells Moses that all the priests of Israel need and are required to partake in two specific ordinances: washing/cleansing (i.e., baptizing) with water, and then anointing with oil.

Those two ordinances were a picture/type of John's water baptism and the anointing of the Holy Ghost that came down in Acts 2. That is why the Lord Jesus Christ was baptized of John. When He was baptized it had nothing to do with sins because He had none. He was water baptized "to fulfill all righteousness," that is, because as a member (the High Priest) of that priestly nation, he needed to submit to God's Word and be baptized and then anointed—which is why the Holy Spirit came upon Him right after. That is why the Lord told Nic in John 3 that "ye" (i.e., the whole nation of Israel) needed to be born of "water and the Spirit!" But read Exodus 29 to see more.

By the way, that is why we today in the dispensation of grace don't need to be water baptized—because we are not called of God to be a kingdom of priests...only Israel is. Our conversation is in the heavenly places—to rule/reign with Christ up there forever, while Israel reigns with him on the earth.

Our baptism today is a spiritual one, not a physical one. (Note: all references to baptism of the bible simply means "total identification"...including the three different baptisms, all found in one verse…)

Matthew 3:11
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

The moment we trust the shed blood of Christ for our sins, the Holy Ghost baptizes (totally identifies) us into the body of our Lord.

1 Corinthians 12:13
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Hopefully this helps!

Do you have a question for Pastor Ron?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

“Prophecy” defined

I visited your church for the first time on Sunday and very much enjoyed hearing God's Word taught being rightly divided.   You mentioned the book of Job, Psalms, etc., as being written for the Jewish people during the Tribulation.  I find that very interesting, had never heard that before and would like to study this further.  I'm wondering if you would have any suggestions as to sources I could find?

A small group from the church I attend is going to be holding a bible study at my place. None of us really know anything but we are looking to learn.  Maybe you or someone from your church would be available should we have any questions.  (Or, rather, when we have questions!)  I've been reading Charles Baker's A Dispensational Theology, have grown to like this book very much, have located some copies and have given to friends at church, the book (and Baker's writing style) have been very well received and are prompting interest. 

I would be happy to answer any questions that your bible study group may have.  Also, in addition to brother Baker's books, a book that I know has blessed countless numbers of people in understanding God's word is called "Things that Differ" by Cornelius R. Stam.

Anyway, yes, all the books of the bible outside of Paul's 13 epistles are considered books of "prophecy" by God.  They all teach the nation of Israel to look forward to their long promised Messiah and his kingdom of heaven on earth for them.

Peter explains to Israel the delay in their kingdom coming (because of Paul's message—the present dispensation of grace to us gentiles) and Peter says that all those old testament books to Israel are called "prophecy."

2 Peter 1:21
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

One of these "holy men" that were moved by the Holy Ghost and wrote these prophecies is David, who wrote most of the Psalms.

Earlier in the book of Acts, Peter explains to the men of Israel that those things that were written in the old testament spoke of a future time to come (the kingdom)—which is the definition of prophecy.

Acts 3:18-21
But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the [physical] presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, [at His 2nd coming and the setting up of the Kingdom] which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

In Acts 4, Peter says that what David wrote in Psalms is a passage that was being fulfilled as Israel was about to enter into the prophesied Tribulation period/Day of the Lord:

Acts 4:24-28
And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

And one more passage...the Lord Jesus, himself, during his earthly ministry to Israel says that what David wrote in Psalms was a prophetic look into the future Tribulation/kingdom:

Mark 12:36

This is a passage explaining the wrath of God being poured out during the Tribulation period (future from us) and the Lord Jesus Christ setting up His earthly kingdom in Israel in the future.

So yes, the book of Psalms (and all the "poetic" books of Job through Song of Solomon) are not only historical books for Israel, but they are also prophetic books—books "looking toward the future!"

James calls Job a prophet and uses the book of Job for that very purpose! Job is the oldest book of the bible, but James tells Israel…

James 5:10-11
Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.  Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

As Israel, in the future—after the church, the body of Christ has been caught away—reads the book of Job, they can endure the persecution of the Antichrist by seeing how God was faithful to deliver Job from Satan's attack as well!

In conclusion, here are a few Psalms looking forward to and prophesying the actual day that the Lord Jesus reigns on the earth in the future:

Psalm 47:8
God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.

Psalm 93:1
The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

Psalm 96:10
Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.

Psalm 97:1
The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.

Psalm 99:1
The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved.

Hopefully this helps...Maranatha! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

First or worst

In 1 Timothy 1:15-16 where Paul says he is "chief," does this mean he’s ‘first’ or the ‘worst?’ I understand these scriptures to say that Paul is the first to be saved under this grace dispensation.  But then, in Romans, Paul makes the statement: “…Andronicus and Junia…who also were in Christ before me.”  That particular scripture seems like a contradiction.  Can you help me understand this? 

It is my understanding, and in my own study of these passages that you mention, that in 1 Tim 1:15-16, the Apostle is saying that he was chief or ‘first’ in rank/number, first in line.

1 Timothy 1:15-16
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

The Greek word for chief and for first is the word "protos," wherein we get our English word "prototype." That word is used when they make robots or new cars—it’s the first model that all the rest are built like.

So when Paul uses the word chief, you are correct, he is saying, not that he is the worst, but that he is first in rank—first in succession; at the head of the line; the pattern of all that are saved eternally by grace thru faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ plus nothing in the present dispensation of grace.

Now onto the passage in Romans...

Romans 16:7
Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

It is my understanding from scripture that the Apostle is not saying that these people are members of the body of Christ, but that they were members of God's "church" before the Body was revealed, that is, the Messianic kingdom church of Matthew thru early Acts.

These people who were of note among the apostles and Paul's kinsmen were Jewish saints who trusted Jesus as their Messiah way before Paul came on the scene.

Early in Paul's ministry, the Lord Jesus used some of those Messianic kingdom saints to help Paul labour in getting this new program out (Barnabas, for example).

Just because their kingdom program was on hold does not mean that God did not use them to serve him until they all died off, and many of them helped the Apostle early in the book of Acts.

As far as them being "in Christ before" Paul, that just shows that they had faith "in Him." Even in the kingdom program to Israel, the Lord made it clear that those members of his little flock were saved "in him."

Isaiah 45:17
But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.

Isaiah 45:25
In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

John 6:56
He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

John 14:20
At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

1 John 4:13
Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

1 John 5:20
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

All true believers are "In Christ," whether in the kingdom program of time past and the ages to come, or today in the body of Christ in the dispensation of grace.  ALL who trust him are said to be "in Him." We today are in his "Body" which was a Mystery until revealed to and thru Paul.

Hopefully this helps...Maranatha!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Paul gets in Peter’s face

In Galatians 2:11-21, Paul withstands Peter to his face because Peter plays the hypocrite.  What I don't understand is why this is such a big issue.  It says Peter lived (or ate) as the Gentiles until certain Jewish men came around.  Because of fear of those certain men, Peter would then withdraw from the Gentiles.  Yet, Peter was teaching the Jews to live as gentiles, yes?  Is Paul disgusted because Peter would at one time follow the law correctly by only eating with Jews (when certain men were around) but then when they were gone, he'd freely eat with the gentiles?  Wasn't it against Jewish law for them to eat with gentiles?

The wording in vs. 16 confuses me because of being justified by faith and not works.  I must say, I am very confused over these scriptures because it sounds like Peter is being corrected by Paul for going back to the law.  It appears that Paul is reminding Peter that the law is done away with and vs. 19 died to the law that I might live to God.

In Galatians 2, the whole issue is about Peter being a hypocrite in front of the gentiles!

The problem with what Peter did is that Paul made it crystal clear to both Peter, and those gentile believers in the body of Christ that Peter ate (fellowshipped) with at Antioch, that "Jewishness" had nothing to do with what God was doing today, and that it was perfectly fine in the eyes of God for him to eat/fellowship with those gentiles. By Peter eating/fellowshipping with the gentiles, and then withdrawing himself from them when Jewish men from Israel came to visit, Peter was taking away from the ‘truth of the gospel!’

What is the ‘truth of the gospel?’ That ”in Christ” (that is, in the current, present-day program of God called the Mystery [the church, the body of Christ]), being a Jew does not matter and is not the issue! The only thing that matters is anybody--Jew or Gentile--who trusts the shed blood of Christ for their sins, can be saved and fellowship with all the saints. In fact, Jewish things matter nothing to God today!

So by Peter withdrawing himself from the gentiles (holier-than-thou type of attitude because of religious pressure), which made it look like that the gentiles were still unclean, and that the Jews still had some special status or were still better than the gentiles, he confused them, and took away from the GLORY of what God is doing with us gentiles!  Paul says that his sin was that he was "compelling the gentiles to live as Jews"!  Paul writes…

Colossians 1:27
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Gentiles are not required by God to live as do the Jews, in fact, Jews are to come to the cross just like us gentiles to get saved like us!

That is why Paul makes such a big deal about what Peter did. Peter gave the gentiles the false impression that eating with them was now wrong once those Jewish men showed up! He allowed those religious Jews from Israel to make him feel ashamed to eat with gentiles, and that was wrong! He was sending mixed messages, mixed signals to the gentiles, and Paul would not let that go on because he was told by Christ that the Jews have no special place before God in this present dispensation!

By the way, I see in your email that you said "Peter was teaching the Jews to live as gentiles," but that is not what Peter taught Jews. What Peter taught Jews, was to live as Jews. By separating himself from the gentiles in the eyes of those religious Jews, he was in essence telling those religious Jews that "being a Jew" still meant something special, when it did not! But when among the gentiles (especially the saved members of the Body of Christ), it was ok, and perfectly fine by God if Jews ate/fellowshipped with the gentiles because they were now clean by the blood of Christ!

Ephesians 2:13-18
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Thru Paul's message of grace, both Jew and gentiles were able to eat/fellowship/live side by side, etc., because in the dispensation of grace, there is no difference! We are all the same in the eyes of God today! We are all heathen (i.e., lost Jew or gentile)!  All mankind is either in Adam (lost Jew or gentile), or In Christ (saved Jew or gentile).

Romans 3:21-23; 11:30-32
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

Peter was no longer under the constraints of the Law of Moses for righteousness [Romans 10:4] ( i.e., can't eat pork, etc.; although if his conscience would not allow him to eat it because of his upbringing, he would not eat it—but he was freed by God to eat pork if he wanted to). So he was no longer under its demands! The saved kingdom Jew, or the saved Body Jew could both keep the remnants of their Jewish culture if they wanted (Paul did at times, i.e., he kept the feast, etc.), but they were also free to eat pork, catfish (and other "unclean" meats because God made them clean) if their conscience allowed. They did not, if they chose, have to observe the Sabbath because that program was put on hold—but they could if they wanted to.

Here are some verses that show that after Paul's salvation, that Jewish religion was not the issue with God:

1 Corinthians 7:19
Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God (thru Paul...).

1 Corinthians 14:37
If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I [Paul] write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

Galatians 5:6
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

Galatians 6:15-16
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Colossians 3:10-11
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all

You see, after Paul's salvation, God changed his attitude toward the Jews, temporarily, and their religion. It no longer was a big deal to be Jewish. It was not against Jewish law for them to eat with gentiles because God was no longer operating that program. And Peter knew that! He learned that in Acts 10, and Acts 15. Paul taught Peter and the rest of those Jewish apostles that in Acts 15/Galatians 2, but Peter went back to "being Jewish" in front of those gentiles when Jewish men came from Israel and confused the gentile believers at Antioch.

Peter is not being corrected by Paul for going back to the law so much as he is for doing it in front of gentiles—acting like in order for those gentiles to be "more spiritual" they should do the same. And even worse,by separating himself from the gentiles, he made them feel like they were "less than" him because they were not Jews!

Here is the rule from Paul...

1 Corinthians 9:19-23
For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

So when around Jews, Peter could "be Jewish" if he wanted (although he had perfect right to eat pork if he wanted, or to not observe the Sabbath, as long as it did not offend another Jewish brother's conscience). But around gentiles, Peter could "act like a gentile" within the will of God, i.e., eat pork, don't observe the Sabbath, etc. Rather, his sin was withdrawing himself from the gentiles as if they were "less than" or somehow "unclean" in comparison with those Jewish men who came from Israel! He sent them the wrong message, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself had Paul rebuke Peter for that.

Now onto the “wording of verse 16” in Galatians 2...

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Here, the Apostle Paul is reminding Peter about what he already taught Peter...that is, that the "works of the law", i.e., religion/religious status has no place in God's current program of grace. By adding works you destroy God's grace!

Romans 11:6
And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Grace and works, especially for justification (to be declared righteous before God) DO NOT mix!

Paul tells Peter that he already knew this!

What justifies a man, both for salvation, AND sanctification (during his Christian walk) is the "faith of Christ". It’s all about His faith/faithfulness—God sees us IN CHRIST!

So Peter's, yours or my own religious works are vain, empty, and useless in the eyes of God today! Peter stopped operating that way as soon as some pressure came from the religious Jewish crowd. And because Peter was "somebody" of note/reputation among men, how he conducted himself has a PROFOUND effect on others! So Paul HAD to withstand him to his face, and before others.

Paul said we have believed in Jesus (put our faith and trust in him) so that we might be justified, not by our own merit, but by his. Now that Christ came and fulfilled all the righteous requirements of the Mosaic Law perfectly, man does not have to come to God on that basis anymore; now, only thru him.

Acts 13:38-39
Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

I realize that this may be a lot, but I have determined to share with others what the Lord has shown me in his word over the years. The word is like food and sometimes it's a lot of meat to digest, but it is very tasty! I look at myself like a gourmet chef who delights to cook a feast for others!

Hopefully this helps...Maranatha!