20 I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. -Galatians 2:20 BSB
“I have been crucified with Christ” The cross is a picture of the person’s old nature, his spirit, dying with its sinful desires. Indirectly it is also saying that with Jesus’ resurrection, we are born again having our sins forgiven with eternal life and desiring a life of righteousness for the glory of Christ Jesus.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17 BSB
“Christ lives in me” Christ and the Holy Spirit are used in the Scriptures interchangeably as living inside of a person who has professed faith in Jesus Christ.
15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you do know Him, for He abides with you and will be in you…26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and will bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you.
John 14:15-17, 26 BSB
“The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God” A believer will no longer live for himself but will live for Jesus Christ, trusting in His Word for guidance and transformation into the image of Christ.
16 know that a man is not justified by works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. -Galatians 2:16 BSB
The word “justified” means that a person has been made right in God’s eyes, from being a sinner to being righteous.
The purpose of the law is to show how far we fall from God’s standard of righteousness. Only by believing and accepting what Jesus did for us on the cross and His resurrection can our sins be forgiven.
Some Jews following Jesus asked Him what works God required of them. In John 6:29, Jesus answered them like this: “Jesus replied, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.”
With much clarity, Paul tells the Galatians, those who are going back to the law, that the only way to have our sins forgiven is by receiving Jesus’ righteousness. Jesus is the only one who lived His life on earth without sinning once and kept the whole law. The moment we put our trust in Jesus Christ, He credits us with His righteousness, and God looks at us as if we kept the whole law, even though we didn’t. If anyone thinks that someone can keep the law from childhood to one’s death, it shows a lack of biblical understanding because the moment you sin once, you have become a lawbreaker.
It also reveals that the church in Galatia was under great deception, and many were falling into Satan’s trap, see Galatians 5:2-4.
12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself, for fear of those in the circumcision group. -Galatians 2:12 BSB
The hypocrisy of Peter was seen in this way: Jews wouldn’t associate with Gentiles, visit their homes, or sit down to have a meal with them. The reason is that the Jews didn’t want to participate with the Gentiles in any form and fall into their pagan beliefs or practices (see Deuteronomy 7:3-4 below). However, Peter understood if a Gentile and Jew have put their faith in Jesus Christ, they are one in the Lord and are brothers in Christ.
3 Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, 4 because they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods. Then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and He will swiftly destroy you. -Deuteronomy 7:3-4 BSB
When James came accompanied by Jews, Peter felt fear that he would get caught eating with the Gentiles, so he removed himself from them, showing his hypocrisy because before James and the other Jews came, Peter had no problem eating with them.