10:32-39 Many and various afflictions united against the early Christians, and they had a great conflict. The Christian spirit is not a selfish spirit; it puts us upon pitying others, visiting them, helping them, and pleading for them. All things here are but shadows. The happiness of the saints in heaven will last for ever; enemies can never take it away as earthly goods. This will make rich amends for all we may lose and suffer here. The greatest part of the saints' happiness, as yet, is in promise. It is a trial of the patience of Christians, to be content to live after their work is done, and to stay for their reward till God's time to give it is come. He will soon come to them at death, to end all their sufferings, and to give them a crown of life. The Christian's present conflict may be sharp, but will be soon over. God never is pleased with the formal profession and outward duties and services of such as do not persevere; but he beholds them with great displeasure. And those who have been kept faithful in great trails for the time past, have reason to hope for the same grace to help them still to live by faith, till they receive the end of their faith and patience, even the salvation of their souls. Living by faith, and dying in faith, our souls are safe for ever.
38. just—The oldest manuscripts and Vulgate read, "my just man." God is the speaker: "He who is just in My sight." Bengel translates, "The just shall live by my faith": answering to the Hebrew, Hab 2:4; literally, "the just shall live by the faith of Him," namely, Christ, the final subject of "the vision," who "will not lie," that is, disappoint. Here not merely the first beginning, as in Ga 3:11, but the continuance, of the spiritual life of the justified man is referred to, as opposed to declension and apostasy. As the justified man receives his first spiritual life by faith, so it is by faith that he shall continue to live (Lu 4:4). The faith meant here is that fully developed living trust in the unseen (Heb 11:1) Saviour, which can keep men steadfast amidst persecutions and temptations (Heb 10:34-36).
if any man draw back—So the Greek admits: though it might also be translated, as Alford approves, "if he (the just man) draw back." Even so, it would not disprove the final perseverance of saints. For "the just man" in this latter clause would mean one seemingly, and in part really, though not savingly, "just" or justified: as in Eze 18:24, 26. In the Hebrew, this latter half of the verse stands first, and is, "Behold, his soul which is lifted up, is not upright in him." Habakkuk states the cause of drawing back: a soul lifted up, and in self-inflated unbelief setting itself up against God. Paul, by the Spirit, states the effect, it draws back. Also, what in Habakkuk is, "His soul is not upright in him," is in Paul, "My soul shall have no pleasure in him." Habakkuk states the cause, Paul the effect: He who is not right in his own soul, does not stand right with God; God has no pleasure in him. Bengel translates Habakkuk, "His soul is not upright in respect to him," namely, Christ, the subject of "the vision," that is, Christ has no pleasure in him (compare Heb 12:25). Every flower in spring is not a fruit in autumn.