Lessons in the Book of Jude
by Bob Burridge ©2013, 2016
Lesson 7: Our Ultimate Privilege Jude 24-25
As we grow up children look forward to getting more and more privileges. We can stay up later, go off to do things without having to have an adult supervisor, take bike rides to friends houses, and eventually drive a car. These are not guaranteed rights, they are things we earn by showing we are responsible and mature. The nice part is that these privileges allow us to do things which are rewarding and liberating.
There are some privileges that can be enjoyed by everybody at any age. We can all enjoy the beautiful things our amazing Creator made. We are privileged to have a Bible where we can learn about God’s word. We can pray directly to God, and know that if we are redeemed in Christ, he listens. We can enjoy the encouragment we get from other believers. We can worship God and be blessed when we are obedient to his holy will.
There are many things to keep balanced in our lives, many privileges and many duties. That balance is kept by our prime directive: that in all things God should be glorified. That is the whole purpose of the lives God gives us. In this last section of Jude’s letter he brings it all back to the wonders of what God is.
Jude’s epistle warned that infiltrators had come into the churches. Evil is not content to simply compete with God openly. It has always tried to get in among his people to destroy them from within. Jude gave several examples from Israel’s ancient history.
To gain the people’s confidence these deceivers appear to be very religious and well informed. They work by confusing the church about what God has said is true and moral. They appeal to people’s weaknesses, and arrogantly offend God in ways they do not even understand.
We need to recognize these infiltrators and avoid their influence. The main thrust of the Book of Jude is the duty given in the 3rd verse, “… contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
While contending with these infiltrators, we dare not forget our own spiritual health. In verses 20-21 Jude challenges us writing, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
Jude brings his brief letter to a close with an amazing doxology.
He ends with a focus upon our great privilege as redeemed Children of God. It is what makes sense out of everything else. All our other privileges and duties need to revolve around this one great theme.
This doxology is directed to the one true God. Unlike the imagined deity of the infiltrators, who loved to claim they were Christian teachers, Jude honors a God who is very different. He has been central in all that Jude had just written. This closing doxology worships the Creator for all that he is, has done, and promises to do.
God is able to do all things.
Jude 24, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,”
God is able to keep his children from stumbling. Though no one is ever free from sin in this life, God is able to keep his children from falling into the clutches of sin. Sin is no longer our master. We are made able to recognize and admit our sins, and to come to God through Jesus Christ for full forgiveness and comfort. God also enables each believer to be growing out of his sins as he matures spiritually.
God is able to make his children stand without blame in the presence of His glory. Some have misunderstood this to mean that true believers can become morally perfect in this life. They believe we can become totally sinless here on earth. But “faultless” does not mean that. The Greek word there is “amomos” (ἄμωμος) which means “unblemished, without faults, blameless”.
It’s our stains of guilt that are removed by the work of Jesus Christ, and they are not removed by our own efforts. It is imputed innocence that Jude is talking about. Those whose sins are paid for on the cross have no blame left since the debt has been paid. They stand before their Creator clothed in the righteousness of their Savior.
This is why the popular idea that Jesus paid for all the sins of all people is so wrong. Those who say that God does not apply Christ’s work unless we give him permission make two serious errors.
First, if all sins are paid for, then upon what basis can anyone be justly held guilty and condemned to Hell for eternity? If we are condemned only for the sin of unbelief, then was that sin not paid for?
Second: If the fallen sinner must first do what is good and believe, then how can he do that if he is still unregenerated? The Bible says that in our fallen estate we cannot understand or love the gospel, much less would we trust in it before God works on our hearts. Paul explained this by quoting from the Old Testament in Romans 3:10-12, “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.’ ”
Some try to rescue this humanistic theory with all sorts of creative philosophical suggestions. The problem is that none of them come from God’s word.
If Jesus fully paid the debt specifically for all those he would regenerate by grace, then they are thoe ones who stand before God fully innocent, since Jesus took their penalty in their place.
Those trusting in Christ alone stand before God with great joy. This hardly needs any comment. Certainly if we are redeemed by grace and made innocent in Christ, then all our guilt is washed away and we are assured of eternal life and God’s eternal fellowship. Nothing could bring more joy than to know that with certainty.
This is one of those places where Jude and Peter have so much in common: 1 Peter 1:6-9 reads, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls.”
The joy here is also experienced by God who fulfills His purposes by redeeming His people to display His power, justice, mercy, and love. Even the angels rejoice to see the glory of God revealed in His work of redemption.
Jude praises God for his wonderful attributes:
Jude 25, “To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever.”
It’s the later copies we have of Jude that include the statement that God is “wise”. Many good ancient copies do not include that word here. Some believe it was inserted at some point as a marginal note based upon Romans 16:27, “to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” Such a note could have been copied unintentionally into a manuscript from which later copies were made. Some theorize that a copyist had the Romans passage in mind and made the insertion unintentionally. It is also possible that the more recent manuscripts were based upon a more accurate original source and the word was left out in the source manuscript the surviving older manuscripts were made from. Since Romans makes this statement it is true, and does no harm to the teaching of Jude about God. God is certainly the only God and is all wise. God preserves his truth even through the frailties of we humans who make errors at times.
God is our Savior. From what do we need to be saved? Primarily, we need to be delivered from the guilt of our sins, and from their power to control our desires and lives. The fallen soul is enslaved because of our moral separation from God due to our guilt. That guilt come from the condition we inherit from Adam (Romans 5:12,14), and from our own sins which we each commit. When we are moved by grace to come to him through Jesus Christ, we discover that the barrier is removed, and we are rescued from sin and its burden. There is a sense in which all three members of the Trinity save us from sin. It is the eternal plan of the Father, based upon the atonement of the Son, and applied by the Holy Spirit.
In this context God is also the one who delivers us from the infection of the intruders. By his Word and Holy Spirit we are assured that the true church will prevail in the end. It will be delivered up clothed in the purity of our Redeemer, saved from the distorted ideas which try to set aside the truths and ways of God.
Jude directs praise to God. The Greek text has no verb in this phrase. It just lists what God is, what he is honored for being. In English we add the word “be” to fit our language structure. (“To God … be glory and majesty, Dominion and power”)
He is a God of glory. His wonder is overwhelming. All that he is humbles us before his greatness.
He is a God who is the very essence of majesty. It is a far greater majesty than that of any earthly King, Emperor, or honored Celebrity. God’s awesome presence is infinitely majestic.
He is a God who exercises his absolute dominion over all things. The word implies actual Lordship, the exercise of his rightful Sovereignty as King over all. He rules everything according to his unchangeable decree. Nothing can be outside his control. He even uses calamity and the sins of men, and of Satan himself, to further reveal his justice and grace.
He is a God who has rightful authority and power in the universe he made. The word used here includes the right use of his power. Nothing is beyond his ability and authority.
He has been the same before all of history. He is now, and forever will be all he is. Time is a hard thing to understand. Eternity is absolutely incomprehensible. Jude speaks from within our temporal limitations to show that God is beyond them. From our frame of reference God is before anything by which we can measure the passing of time since he created everything outside of himself and he does not change. This means that though God may experience time by being aware of what is before or after events he has decreed, he is beyond the way we measure and perceive time. His existence and his attributes have no beginning. They go back forever.
God continues as he always has been into the infinite future. From those infinite reaches of past and future there is no end in either direction. Lying on that infinite time-line is the “now” in which we live. God is here too, the same as always.
To this Jude adds, “Amen”.
The word means “truth”. At the end of a doxology it affirms that all it says is true. Believers all through the ages have adopted this Hebrew word to express their affirmation. It is as if they say, “It is true.”
Doxologies like this are not just for benedictions at the end of an epistle, or for after a time of worship. They are good ways for believers to worship God on their own. Say to God what he is and stand in awe of it. Be amazed at his power and gracious covenant promises. Be encouraged by the strength and faithfulness of the one who loves you and cares for you.
Psalm 92:1, “It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;”
The ability to honor God as Jude does here is the greatest privilege God has given us. It is the ability to be what he made us to be, creatures honoring their Creator.
With this privilege, all other privileges God may let us enjoy in this life take on meaning. When we are not doing all for the glory of God we are worse than just wasting time, we are stealing our lives from God. All that he made should bring him glory.
That is the greatest purpose in your life. It is why God made you and saved you by grace.
(Bible quotations are from the New King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted.)