But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter (Galatians 2:6,7).
Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? (Galatians 2:11-15).
This passage speaks for itself. I cannot think of a New Testament mandate taught more clearly through an example than this one. I cannot think of one that finds application to our culture more aptly than this one. The apostle Paul withstood Peter, rebuking him for his hypocrisy in refusing to eat with the Gentiles when it was unpopular among the Jews for their people to have fellowship with non-Jewish people. The Holy Spirit saw fit for us to have the particulars of this incident. He graciously gave us this sample of what should happen if there’s respect of persons today with regard to race.
From this text, we know that it is right and good for leaders in the church to promptly and firmly correct brethren who show favoritism based on externals. How vain and pompous was Peter in switching off the fellowship with Gentiles when the Jews approached! How sinful it is today if and when brethren—mere men or women— exalt themselves above or think that they are, in any way, superior to those with a different pigmentation, language or background. May they find space for repentance and may God grant them mercy.