Peter was the first apostle to baptise non-Jewish converts. He welcomed them as Christians by saying they did not have to follow the Mosaic law of circumcision. Peter understood that God would extend his grace to whomever God wanted to.
Acts 11:1-4 Evangelical Heritage Version1 The apostles and brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 When Peter went up to Jerusalem, those who insisted on circumcision criticized him, 3 saying, “You went to visit men who were uncircumcised and ate with them!” 4 So Peter began to explain everything to them, point by point. He said,
Acts 15:5-11 International Children’s Bible
5 But some of the believers who had belonged to the Pharisee group came forward. They said, “The non-Jewish believers must be circumcised. We must tell them to obey the law of Moses!” 6 The apostles and the elders gathered to study this problem. 7 There was a long debate. Then Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know what happened in the early days. God chose me from among you to preach the Good News to the non-Jewish people. They heard the Good News from me, and they believed. 8 God, who knows the thoughts of all men, accepted them. He showed this to us by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. 9 To God, those people are not different from us. When they believed, he made their hearts pure. 10 So now why are you testing God? You are putting a heavy load around the necks of the non-Jewish brothers. It is a load that neither we nor our fathers were able to carry. 11 But we believe that we and they too will be saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus!”
Old habits die hard and even when you intellectually know something is true, peer pressure can cause you to forget. Have you experienced any fears like Peter did in Galatia? How can knowing God’s grace keep you from being legalistic?
Galatians 2:11-13 New Living Translation
11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. 12 When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. 13 As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.