“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25)

Some of us only need to read or hear, “Now to Him …” or “Now unto Him …” before a swell of appreciation for what we know is coming begins to roll over us.

These last two verses of the New Testament book of Jude are frequently used in closing benediction of Christian worshippers, the inspiration behind multiple art forms, and likely the most often quoted portion of the book.

ETL’s own publication, Breathtaking Hope in the Furnace of Infertility, closes with this very passage.

And all for good reason!

* * *

What did God move Jude to communicate prior to this cherished invitation to worship? For certain, the letter begins with truths which encourage: identifying the faith community it was written to as “the called”, “beloved in God the Father,” and “kept for Jesus Christ.” He expresses a desire for mercy, peace, and love to be multiplied to them. (Jude 1:1-2)

However, Jude quickly moves into areas many worship leaders would never choose for soliciting praise in others.

* * *

His plans to write this group of believers about the wonders of salvation were momentarily tabled in order to address their breach in safeguarding the truth of salvation. Without knowing it, they had welcomed people into their gatherings who were misleading them—over the very thing Jude hoped to write them in celebration of!

“… I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.  For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:3-4)

* * *

A battle over the unchanging doctrine of the gospel (saving faith through the risen Christ’s atoning work) was occurring within their midst. It wasn’t that they “might one day” unwittingly allow ungodly people to join them who actively undermined truth, but had.

The same problem affects us today. Similar to the recipients of Jude’s letter, however, we may need help in learning how to recognize and deal with it.

Fortunately, we have a loving God and a blueprint: Jude’s letter.

* * *

There is direct correlation between Jude’s pronouncement of persons having crept in unnoticed by the church—whose teachings deviate from the fundamentals of the faith—and his concluding, resounding praise to the only One who is able to keep us from stumbling and make us joyfully stand in His presence, free of condemnation (the fundamentals of the faith). (Jude 1:3-4 and Jude 1:24-25).

The writer knew whenever someone’s teachings add to or take anything away from the faith once handed down for all the saints (that is, the doctrine of the gospel—salvation alone through Christ’s atoning work as we see in Luke 24:45-48, I Corinthians 15:1-8, John 3:16 and elsewhere), they facilitate stumbling in others and are at cross-purposes with God.

Jesus said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)

* * *

An understanding of God’s past, present, and future dealings with those who misrepresent or disregard portions of His Word (and influence others to stumble) enables the reader of Jude to grasp the seriousness of the issue before us.

As with all books of the Bible, Jude is resolution-oriented. Consider using this book as a blueprint for safeguarding the doctrine of the gospel and worshipping God for that gospel’s glorious outcome…

… because none of us would ever be able to stand before Him with joy and without blame were it not for the unchanging truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, once for all handed down to the saints.

* * *

SNAPSHOTS OF THE BLUEPRINT INCLUDE:

Identity and Commitment. Notice how Jude doesn’t name drop Jesus Christ, but is rooted and secure in belonging to Him. He is committed to fellow believers, near and far, and displays how our love and commitment to Christ will include knowing, treasuring, safeguarding, and sharing His Word. (Jude 1:1-2)

Intentional Awareness. Our commitment to other Christ followers must have depth. We see Jude having the church’s best interests in mind and, although separated by distance, discerned its foundation of faith was not only under attack, but how it came about. (Jude 1:3-4)

Priorities. Our plans—including the spiritually excellent—must be reprioritized when a matter of critical, eternal importance emerges. Jude changed what he originally intended to write about after recognizing the church’s need to address ungodly influences and teachings which erode saving faith. (Jude 1:3)

Truth and Love. In his letter, Jude exemplifies how we can interact with others in a Christ-like manner—whatever the challenge. His love for the believers is evidenced not only through his words, but by living out an important principle: our identity and commitment to Jesus Christ and His church requires taking risks in His name on behalf of His church. (Jude 1:3)

The Ungodly Condemned. When we know and treasure the Bible and its call to saving faith through Christ’s atoning work, we will recognize—as did Jude—positions of others which misrepresent God’s grace in order to excuse unholy living and malign the doctrine of saving faith through Christ alone. (Jude 1:4). Jude minced no words with the church as to what these intruders were (ungodly) and where they stand with God (condemned).

Historical Reminders. Just as we should, Jude recalled God’s judgement on those who rebelled against Him within His own chosen nation (Israel), the realm of angelic beings, and cities. (Jude 1:5-7). He drills home the reality of the ungodly within the church’s midst earning the same condemnation, citing additional “red flag” trespasses they commit. (Jude 1:8-11)

Tell-Tale Signs. Characteristics of the ungodly masquerading as God’s followers within the faith community are further detailed in Jude 1:12-16 and Jude 1:18-19. Many of these warning signs will not emerge until time and circumstance wear the veneer off a counterfeit believer. The more we familiarize ourselves with what Jude has shared, however, the more we can’t help but see the ungodly at heart with increasing frequency in and around the church community.

The FaithAlive! Jude 1:20-23 is a beautiful rendition of how the beloved are to contend for the faith. We are to build ourselves up on our most holy faith (that pure and unchanging doctrine of the gospel which was handed down, once for all). It’s living in prayer in the Spirit, keeping ourselves in the love of God, and—although the mercy of Jesus Christ includes forgiveness of sin—we are urged to eagerly anticipate the coming mercy of life eternal with Him, in heaven. This holy faith also flows outward: having mercy on some who are doubting or wrapped up in abhorrent, ungodly ways and actively rescuing others from of the fire of judgement.

The Glorious Reality. Jude’s outpouring of worship at the conclusion of his letter (Jude 1:24-25) is that of an amazed, grateful soul who recognizes our Savior’s ability to keep us from sin and error despite our own ungodly tendencies, the pitfalls of the world in which we live, and the vast array of false teachings surrounding us. God, and God alone, is able to keep us from stumbling and make us stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy.

This reality—this holy faith—is what we must earnestly hold to, safeguard, and share with the world: God is the believer’s Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord. (John 3:16) To Him be the glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Oh, yes and amen!

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

2 Comments

  • Beryl says:

    Thank you for sharing the importance of safeguarding ALL of the TRUTH of the gospel. My prayer today is that I would live in that truth and that I would not cause any who believe to stumble.

  • Brad says:

    What a good reminder of what I should be contending for – I can so often get caught up in meaningless skirmishes and ignore what God calls us to contend for. Thank you for sharing.

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