Don’t you just HATE to WAIT? As we look at the world around us, we believers in Jesus long for His Second Coming. But we are to be waiting . . .
Jude has already said much to us in this one-chapter letter. We are to notice the unbelief around us, but not to the point that we give up or drop out of the battle.
In fact, Jesus intensifies his challenge to these believers — and us — to get strong in our own walk with the Lord. We saw in our last post that we are to build ourselves up in our most holy faith.
Let’s continue to look at a ninth part of our response to unbelief in our world and it is this —
Step #9b- We must Take Responsibility for Our Own Spiritual Lives! (vv. 17-23).
17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
Jude then says that these believers are to “keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” (21). Can we do that? Can we keep ourselves in God’s love”? Some commentators suggest that Jude is not saying that we can keep ourselves in a condition in which God can love us, for we are sinners by nature and practice. Rather, he may be saying, “Live in such a way that you show your love for God!”
Notice that keeping ourselves in that condition, that state of showing our love for God, helps us in our waiting! We are waiting “for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring [us] to eternal life.” (21). Although the Bible teaches that eternal life is the present possession of the one who believes in Jesus (see Jn. 3:15-16; 3:36 [“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.]; 5:24; 6:47; 17:3), it also teaches that eternal life is a future reality awaiting the believer (Mt. 19:29; 25:46; Mk. 10:30; Jn. 6:40).
How’s the waiting going? (to be continued)
“I am convinced that the dearth of great saints in these times even among those who truly believe in Christ is due at least in part to our unwillingness to give sufficient time to the cultivation of the knowledge of God. We of the nervous West are victims of the philosophy of activism tragically misunderstood. Getting and spending, going and returning, organizing and promoting, buying and selling, working and playing–this alone constitutes living. If we are not making plans or working to carry out plans already made we feel that we are failures, that we are sterile, unfruitful eunuchs, parasites on the body of society. The gospel of work, as someone has called it, has crowded out the gospel of Christ in many Christian churches. In an effort to get the work of the Lord done we often lose contact with the Lord of the work and quite literally wear our people out as well.”
1. There is wasted waiting and there is worthwhile waiting. How can our waiting for the Lord Jesus to return be seen as worthwhile waiting?
2. If I am right that “keep yourselves in God’s love” means — Live in such a way that you show your love for God — what is one practical way that we can do that?
July 16, 2014 at 11:19 am
Tozer dismisses what he calls the gospel of work! Wasn’t that one of the first “sending” of the mission of God? (Gen 1:28) The many new theologies of work (e.g. Tim Keller, Every Good Endeavor) try and re-cast our understanding of work. Indeed, isn’t that what we are to be about until He comes again? Isn’t our work our worship?
Dr. Larry Dixon
July 28, 2014 at 11:04 am
Mike: Thanks so much for reading my blog and for your response to Tozer’s comment regarding a gospel of work. Perhaps you and he are using the expression with two different meanings? (I’m open to your providing a guest blog presenting a positive gospel of work!). Blessings. Larry