3 Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.
It was their insistence that circumcision was necessary to salvation. They were not ready to feast (fellowship) with Gentiles.
Judaism - An insistence on keeping elements of the law as pertaining to externals.
The spirit of Judaism
is focused on externals instead of genuine divine principle. Appearances rather than the weighter matters. Law keeping of man made commandments. It is dogmatic, dictatorial and confrontational. Always finding fault, judgmental and critical. It is not motivated by the well being of the ecclesia and advancement of the Truth. It is dedicated to agendas, is biased and hypocritical. Arrogant, proud and self righteous.
Upon hearing reports of Peter's activities in relation to Cornelius and other Gentiles, the circumcision faction in the Jerusalem ecclesia "contended" against Peter. The word diakrino is sufficiently strong in this context to indicate that considerable discussion and debate took place concerning the matter. His propriety was questioned, and he became the object of intense criticism. Jewish practice had been set aside.
This was unacceptable to a vocal group who found Peter's conduct to be extraordinarily in
conflict with their long-held traditions. But Peter was not intimidated. He stood his
ground, recounting the history of all that had occurred. This was commendable.
Later, though, under similar circumstances, Peter weakened on this same issue, under
pressure and out of fear of what others might think (Gal. 2:11 -13). In so doing, he found
himself placating those whom Paul termed "pseudo-brethren" (v. 4); and this brought
him into direct conflict with his beloved brother Paul!
Peter later deeply regretted his failure in this matter (2Pet. 3: 15), acknowledging Paul's depth of wisdom. Thus, whilst Peter compromised with those who were undermining the Truth, Paul "withstood him to the face." Paul would make no concession to the erring brethren.
"But not for an hour did we give way and submit to them; in order that the Good News might continue with you in its integrity" (v. 5., Weymouth).
Brethren who know and understand the Truth must stand by it, without fear or favour. They must teach it without compromise, and, where necessary, oppose the introduction of error into ecclesias.
At the coming of Christ there will be no commendation for those who threaten or weaken the Truth; or for those who passively accept those who would "pervert the gospel of Christ" (Gal. 1:7).
Bro John Ullman - The Acts Expositor
4 But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying,
WHAT IS BEST FOR THE TRUTH!
The right spirit to handle controversy. Think first. Pray first. Approach affects outcome.
18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
If the covenant had related only to Israel, Abraham would not have been constituted a father of nations; and the gospel would have been announced only to the Jews.
But, one may say, If the Israelites be the sole legatees of the will, why preach the gospel to them at all? Because as legatees of the new covenant they inherit on condition of not continuing in unbelief; and besides, as a kingdom is the subject of the will, the question naturally arose, Who of Israel shall be the associates of the Christ in the government and eternal glory thereof?
To determine this the gospel was preached to them in the name of Jesus. This was the reason for preaching the gospel to the legatees. Then comes another question, Seeing that the nations are eligible to the blessings of the covenant in national association with Israel, are the nobles and governors of the Abrahamic World to be of the Jewish nation only; or will Gentiles be admitted to equality and fraternity with them as the immortal associates of the king?
This was a mystery which for several years after the day of Pentecost no man, no not even the apostles, could solve. The prophets plainly teach Jewish and Gentile national confraternity in the Age to Come; but the fellowship of believing men from all nations with believing Israelites in an everlasting possession of the power, glory, and honour of the kingdom to be set up on the covenant-land, through faith in it, and the name of its king,
"was not made known unto the sons of men as it was revealed to the holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit"
in the days of Paul.
The gospel of the kingdom, which for the first few years was preached only to Jews, was announced to the nations by Peter at Cornelius' house, and thenceforth to the present time, and hereafter until the door is shut at the appearing of Christ, for the purpose of taking out from among them a people for the Lord's name, who shall become Jews by adoption, that they might inherit Yahweh's Israelitish Kingdom, and be associated with the "King of the Jews" in everlasting dominion over the dwellers upon earth.
Mystery of the covenant of the holy land explained - Herald 01 /1856.
23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
That object is edification - a building up of the mind in the confidence and comfort of the Truth. This is done by having the things of the Truth passed before us in such a way that the mind is able to lay hold of them with clearness and joy. Reading, prayer, singing, exhortation - all have this effect if rightly attended to. Foolish and unlearned questions avoid, and all strife exclude. Let the Word of Christ be ministered in its richness.
If there is no brother present capable of speaking to the edification of those who hear - a man may be able to speak to his own edification and not to that of others, the hearers are the judges - if no such brother is present, then let an absent brother do it. I have heard of spiritually encouraging letters from correspondents being read with advantage in such a case. Others have read extracts from Dr. Thomas' writings. Some read an address from Seasons of Comfort. Some object to this who would not object to Dr. Thomas or other writers speaking if present. It is an objection without reasonable ground.
Doubtless, it is best when the presence of brethren able to edify the rest renders all resort to such aids unnecessary, but where there are no such brethren, good sense and an ardent appreciation of spiritual things will sanction them.
Bro Roberts - Applying our hearts unto wisdom
26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the ecclesia, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
Ecclesia organizing is an exceedingly easy and simple matter, if Christ dwells in the hearts of all by a faith that works by love; but if this be absent, no organization will work well, and maintain peace and order.
Where the love-working faith reigns, and a little common sense brought to bear upon Paul's epistles, and the diversity of situations in which believers of the first and nine-teenth centuries are providentially placed, will not fail to bring out some suitable arrangement.
Where the flesh works more than the spirit, those who know what is right should establish what is right and maintain it, though it should leave them but two or three to begin with; for it is better to be few and strong, than many and weak, because of wickedness.
... In regard to singing, our practice here is to sing the psalms of David, and the paraphrases. For want of a better edition we use the version approved by the Church of Scotland, and sold by all theological booksellers in this Union.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, April 1855
The disposition to repudiate the name "Christadelphian" that is evinced in some quarters on both sides of the Atlantic, is not a healthy symptom. The feeling at its root originates in a desire to be on friendly terms with the rest of the community, which is a commendable enough desire, in a certain form, but is a bad inspiration in divine things. The community is not friendly to God's ways. Consequently friendship with the community is dangerous. James' words are still applicable that "the friendship of the world is emnity with God."
The world is called "Christian," but the word has lost its meaning, from which its comes to pass that for a believer to call himself a Christian, is to utter a lie so far as the sense it conveys to neighbours is concerned. Names represent things.
The name Christadelphian represents the recovered faith of Christ, with its testimony that men are without hope apart from the gospel and obedience of Christ. This is the offensive part of the testimony of the truth: and this is what is represented to the public by the name Christadelphian.
It was the cross that was the great offence in Paul's day: but he did not avoid it on that account. In our day, it is the mortal and hopeless state of man apart from the hope of Israel (conventionally represented by the name "Christadelphian") that is the offence. And a faithful soldier of Christ will not pull the flag down because it is odious.
The Christadelphian, Jan 1886