Today, we come to the end of our study in Jude. What a wonderful little epistle this is. I hope it encourages us to endure, because we face a lot of obstacles as a church and as individual believers.
This benediction (verses 24 and 25) caps the epistle which tells us to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. "Now unto him that (or who) is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."
Jude gives due credit to the Lord in both verses, but verse twenty-four is particularly consistent with the preceding twenty-three verses. What has Jude been discussing? Contending for the faith and dealing with reprobates. But how is that done? Of course, we have a great responsibility in this, but ultimately
God gets the glory for it all.
We believe in the sovereignty of God, but we are not fatalists. God's purpose brings about good for His church while fate is an empty philosophy without purpose or good. So, God tells us what He expects from us, then He makes sure we do not fail in doing it.
The benediction focuses entirely on God. "Unto Him that is able to keep you from falling..." If we are not falling what are we doing? Standing. He could have said: "To Him who is able to keep you standing and fighting." In a fight the winner is the one left standing. We are in a fight for the truth, and God is our enabler to keep us standing. We may get knocked down, but as long as we get up, the fight is not over.
Larry Vincent, Mindy's former pastor, posted something on facebook yesterday that caught my eye, but he had no idea that it would be incorporated into this message. It was a lament over those who give up,
jump ship in marriage, in the church and in life, without working things out. The conclusion was that everything must be overcome through love. Paul said love endures. And while prophecies and tongues will cease and childish things are put aside, love never fails. Love doesn't give up. It bears all things. It endures.
What is the source of love? God is love. Therefore, He is able to keep us from falling.
What if God were to give up on us? He should, but His love for us in not intermittent. He loves us in spite of all of our flaws. Jude said "...and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory..." That same article said that the more we know about others, the more clearly we see their flaws. But that real love is patient, it is painful, it is sacrificial. How true that is. God is patient enough with us to not only keep us standing, but He will present us faultless to Himself. The word "present" means, in the presence of
others. The word "presence" refers to the place. Which is? God's presence. I think God is telling us that what really matters is not what we used to be but what we will be when God's purpose is complete. When we are finally brought into the presence of God, He will present us faultless in the presence of all the saints.
The word for faultless is translated several ways:
In Ephesians 1:4, it is without blame;
in Ephesians 5:27, it is without blemish;
in Colossians 1:22, it is unblamable;
in Hebrews 9:14, it is without spot;
in 1 Peter 1:19, it is without blemish and without spot;
in Revelation 14:5, it is without fault.
When God is finished with us, we will be all of that - presentable!
Sue and I visited a diamond factory in Haifa, Israel, on a couple of our trips. It is not really a factory, but a shop that imports diamonds from Africa, cuts and polishes them. We stood on the opposite side of a glass from workers and watched the diamonds being shaped. Do you know how they cut a diamond? They strike it with a sharp object. The diamond is then placed on an arm that puts it in contact with an abrasive wheel. The shaping and polishing then takes place by grinding, which is exactly what God is doing with us. We are put on the wheel of sanctification and shaped into something for God to present before all of heaven.
Turn to 1 Corinthians one. Look at verse two. "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints..." What does he mean by "sanctified in Christ?" To be sanctified is to be purified by expiation; made free from the guilt of sin. A reference to being "in Christ" occurs seventy-six times in the New Testament. To be "in Christ" means to be put into His body, the church, to
be made part of Him. The Book of Romans teaches justification for those who are "in Christ." Romans 8:1 says: "There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." "In Christ" is to be justified in the sight of God by the blood of Him who died for us.
But look down in verse tweny-six through verse thirty-one.
"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He
that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
Verse 30 says: "But of him are you in Christ Jesus." Of him - it is His doing. "Who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption." All that we are and ever hope to be is because of Christ. He is the only means of our perfection. That is why Jude says God is able to present
you flawless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. Is God going to exalt you or me? No. He is going to exalt Christ with exceeding joy.
When we stand before God pure and spotless it will not be because of our effort or goodness, it will be due to Christ. Hebrews 1:9 uses the term "oil of gladness" to refer to what Christ accomplished on our behalf. Christ is anointed with the oil of gladness every time a saint is brought into God's presence. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane asking God to fulfill his joy by preserving those the Father had given him. What a glorious day it will be when we are all in his presence.
I wrote this a couple of days after our Julie passed away:
Jesus came to our house, I know not the time of night,
And took our precious daughter before He took His flight.
Jesus came to our house, how blessed is the thought,
To claim the prized possession He had already bought.
Jesus came to our house to sit her at His feet,
Fulfilling God's great purpose in making her complete.
Jesus came to our house; He won't be gone too long;
He promised to return to earth to take His children home.
Jesus came to our house, my heart can loudly sing.
When He comes our sweet child with Him He will bring.
He will come to our house to raise those who fell asleep,
So we all can be with Him; In Glory we shall meet.
Lastly, verse twenty-five. "To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now ever. Amen." Jude says that God is our Savior or Deliverer, or Preserver. "To the only wise God, our Preserver (the one who keeps us from falling) be glory and majesty." These words are grouped together because they both declare God's position as deliverer. As our Savior we give Him glory and majesty. Actually, He already has glory and majesty. We honor that and recognize it as Jude does here.
"Dominion and power." These words are also grouped because they both mean authority. Jude believed in the sovereignty of God. He recognized His office and authority. But unlike earthly kings it is "Now and
Sue and I went to England last year and saw the crown jewels dating back to Charles II. We saw the
palace of William the Conqueror that dates back to 1066. We saw the palace of King Henry VIII and a statue of Richard I. The thing about it is, all of them are gone. Only God is forever. His authority is eternal. When man has had his little rule, when time runs its coarse, God will still be on His throne.