Tag Archives: sanctification
A group of my friends recently completed going through my book DocTALK! We had some great discussions on the doctrines of the Christian faith. We spent just one hour going over the chapter and talking about whatever issues the chapter raised. And you missed it! That might not be the worst decision you’ve ever made in 2021, but, hey! 2022’s a whole brand spanking new year!
24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
The woman sitting next to me at the concert was about 80 years old with upswept silver hair. Her whole manner indicated a background of genteel breeding and taste. As the concert progressed it was obvious that she was caught up in the performance. Her rapture built until, after a particularly moving number, she could restrain herself no longer. Tapping me on the knee, she implored, “Oh, do shout `BRAVO’ for me!” (W.P. Hovey, Jr. in Readers’ Digest)
With an economy of words, Jude has written to a group of believers under attack. Although he originally wanted to discuss the joys of our common salvation, he (led by the Spirit of God) issues instead not just a survival strategy, but a battle plan to help the believers confront false teaching. (vv. 1-4)
If the gospel is true, it deserves our best efforts at defending it. If it has indeed changed our lives, we would be without excuse if we did not fight earnestly for the good news about Jesus for the sake of others.In an environment which perverts God’s grace and denigrates God’s Son, Jude does not encourage these believers to huddle together, sing hymns to one another, and allow the world to go to hell. He uses his knowledge of biblical history to speak of the God who both delivers and destroys, who hates unbelief, and who bring His sternest judgment upon those who stand against Him. Unbelief is spiritual mutiny — and God will not hold guiltless those who so rebel. (vv. 5-19)
But the battle plan is not just defensive. The believer is to go on the offense, especially regarding his own life. (vv. 20-23) He is to grow deeply in the truths of God by putting into practice the implications of his most holy faith and by reaching out to those who are presently outside the family of God.
The atmosphere in which these three principles are to be applied is found in verses 24-25. We are to live our lives as a hymn to the One who has saved us! Daily doxology (praise) is be rendered up to this mighty Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.
His Two Abilities
We learn in verse 24 that Christ is able to perform two actions on behalf of the believer:
(1) He is able “to keep you from stumbling . . .” The theme of God’s keeping power was mentioned in the first verse of this epistle as Jude addressed his audience: “To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.” The normal Christian involves a confidence in God’s keeping power.
Chuck Swindoll put it this way: “I may tremble on the Rock, but the Rock never trembles under me! And that inner assurance not only relieves my fear, it allows me to carry on with much greater efficiency. And rather than causing me to be indifferent and irresponsible, it inspires me to direct all my energies toward those things that please and glorify the name of my heavenly Father . . . eternally protected because He has me in His all-powerful hand.” (Eternal Security)
(2) He is able “to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy . . .” Christ is looking forward to making that presentation as we learn in Ephesians 5. There we are told, “25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
In this Ephesians text He is going to present her (you!) to himself (2 Cor. 11:2) as a radiant church.Please notice that the church will be “without fault” and He will make His presentation “with great joy.”
I’m afraid that many Christians, although they acknowledge that God loves them, are not all that sure that God likes them very much. I appreciate the preacher who said to his congregation, “Never doubt His affection for you. He’s crazy about you!”
What He Deserves
What does the Lord deserve from us? Our uninhibited adoration. He is the only God — and He is worthy of all the glory, majesty, power and authority. Do we bring Him any of these things?I think the answer is a qualified “yes.” Although the Lord is the All-Sufficient One, and His perfections can never be improved, Scripture indicates that we can bring Him glory (Ps. 86:9- “All the nations . . . will bring glory to your name”; Rev. 15:4- “Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”).
When are we to ascribe glory, majesty, power and authority to God? This great little epistle ends by saying, “before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”
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.
“[E]very time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state of the other.” (C.S. Lewis)
In light of all that Jude has said about these false teachers and their destructive ideas, he shifts his focus in verses 20-23 to the believers themselves. Although he seems to have criticized the leaders for not noticing these negative elements sneaking into their assemblies, he now directs his attention to the believer’s primary responsibility: his own Christian growth.
Although there is room for some disagreement, it appears that Jude is saying in verses 20 and 21, “By building yourselves up in your most holy faith and by (or while) praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love . . .” The main verb is “keep yourselves in God’s love.” How does one do that?
We know that we can’t force God to love us. And He has promised that His love for us is everlasting (Ps. 107:1). Perhaps Jude is saying that we show our love for God by taking responsibility for our own growth (in our most holy faith) and by cooperating with (praying in) the Holy Spirit and His ministries in our lives.
We are prone to blame others for our own poor choices, aren’t we? Barry Beck of the New York Rangers, one who started a brawl during the NHL’s 1997 Stanley Cup Playoffs, said, “We have only one person to blame, and that’s each other.”
We build ourselves up in our most holy faith. Here is a second use of the term “faith” in Jude that refers to the content of truth God has given us. You would expect a theologian to say that doctrine is important, but Jude agrees with me! We need to know what we believe — and we need to grow in our beliefs.
Notice, please, that we are to build “ourselves” up. Personal discipleship is not the primary responsibility of your pastor, your spouse, or your mother. It is yours. Plain and simple.