Question: What about Peter’s sin of hypocrisy mentioned in Galations 2:11 that Paul withstood him for? Here we have not only a Christian but a Christian minister sinning!
Answer: “The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.” (Gal 2:13 NASB). If Peter’s hypocrisy was willful and not from an honest error in judgment that this is clearly willful and known sin. I would agree that Peter committed willful and known sin when he denied the Lord three times with cursing (Mar 14:71). But in the case at Antioch Peter’s hypocrisy could be either willful or unwillful. As we are not able to know the motives of Peter’s heart and the scriptures don’t tell us, we must follow 1Cor 13 and give him the benefit of the doubt and “think no evil” (1Cor 3:7) and “believe all things, hope all things” (1Cor 3:7).
The Jews were very bigoted toward the Gentiles and Peter was brought up in this environment for most of his life. Some came from James, who was the leader of the congregations in Jerusalem, and influenced Peter back toward the way he had been brought up. Should he have known better? yes by all means; did he need to repent from his error and apologize and make things right? by all means; did he commit willful and known sin? I don’t know. But one thing I know is I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Even if Peter had committed a willful and known sin we are not following man but we are following Christ (1Pet 2:21) who did no sin neither was guile found in his mouth. We will follow men (2 Thess 3:7) as long as they follow Christ but when they go off the right path they are no longer our example.