Galatians 5:11 :
But I, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been removed.
On our way to save ourselves, we trip over the cross. The cross is against our efforts and does not respect our desire to save ourselves. Because of this, it goes against our pride and our independent sinful nature. When we sinned in the garden (through Adam), we all gained a desire to be our own gods. When you are your own god you try to make everything for yourself and seek the help of no other. This is not how mankind was meant to operate. Listen to what Satan told Eve:
Genesis 3:4-5 :
The serpent said to the woman, “You won’t surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Remember that this was also what perverted Satan:
Isaiah 14:13-14 :
You said in your heart, “I will ascend into heaven! I will exalt my throne above the stars of God! I will sit on the mountain of assembly, in the far north! I will ascend above the heights of the clouds! I will make myself like the Most High!”
This issue of grace and law is fundamental. It cuts to the core of mankind’s problem. It is no wonder that Paul was so upset.
It is also no wonder why those who preach the Gospel are persecuted. It is against the nature of mankind and against Satan who has decided to exalt himself. Even though there is persecution, God overcomes because He is more powerful than mankind and Satan. The faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ in order to overcome our inabilities is what defines the basis for Christianity. That is why Christianity can’t fit with any other religion. It’s not that Christians are closed minded, it’s just that they are no longer being fooled by lies about the existence of the evil one and the basic evil desire of mankind.
Some think that the presence of persecution or even hard times like we have in many Christian homes today is only a result of doing evil. Actually, some Christians today are being persecuted for promoting the Gospel. If that is you, you should feel happy right now because it is evidence that you are standing up for the cross of Jesus! Paul actually used persecution as an evidence for correct preaching. It is inappropriate for anyone to say that because you are being persecuted, God is against you. That is saying the opposite of what we read from Paul here.
God uses persecution and problems against those who are doing wrong, but it is also a sign for those who are preaching what is right. God can make it clear to each of us whether we are doing something wrong. If you are humble before God and have confessed your sin, you are right with God. God may still be strengthening your character through hardship, but persecution can also be evidence that you are preaching the true Gospel.