Paul’s Confidence in the Lord
By Thomas Schreiner
Exegetical Commentary On The New Testament
(Zondervan Publishers; Grand Rapids, MI., 2010)
“I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is” (Galatians 5:10).
“Paul’s word of assurance in 5:10 provides confidence that the Lord will finish the good work he has begun (Phil 1:6). The Lord saves and continues to preserve until the end those whom he has called. Therefore, the confidence of believers is not ultimately in themselves but in the Lord, who summoned them to himself. Believers look away from themselves to Christ and trust his promise that he will keep all those who have entrusted their lives to him. When believers turn inward and contemplate their own resources, they know that they do not have the wherewithal to continue in the faith. In many texts, of course, believers are exhorted to continue to the end and to remain immoveable in the things of the Lord. Ultimately, however, assurance of obtaining a heavenly reward comes from the Lord himself. He strengthens his own so that they do not turn from the Lord who rescued them from this present evil age (1:4).
If believers proclaim the cross of Jesus Christ, persecution will come. The extent of persecution varies depending on circumstances and culture. In some instances, persecution may take the form of verbal abuse, harsh criticism, and discrimination. In other situations, believers may be physically abused, tortured, and even put to death.
The fundamental root of all persecution is resistance to the gospel. The world despises the cross, for the cross pronounces a thunderous no to all human goodness. The cross lays us bare before God and exposes our wickedness and evil. The cross reminds us that the solution to the human problem is death and resurrection, while we as human beings think that we can be reformed and transformed with education and civilizing influences. When the message of the cross breaks upon the human consciousness, we either repent or are enraged at such an affront to our egos. We long for a gospel that commends us, makes us feel good about ourselves, and exalts us. The cross, however, renounces human potential. It teaches us to relinquish our hope that human beings can construct a just and good society. The new creation only comes through the cross, but the cross is not the last word; the last word is resurrection” (pages 328 – 329).