Hey Jude — Praising The Only God Our Savor

glory-cloudCan you believe we’re going to finish our study of Jude today?  After a short break from Monday Bible Studies (I’m thinking probably starting our next Bible Study on February 13), we’ll begin working through Titus.  You may want to read that letter a few times between now and then  to familiarize yourselves with its message.

But right now, ladies, please read through Jude’s epistle one last time (use this link for convenience) to remind yourselves of the context. The verses we’ll discuss today form their own paragraph, so the only way to understand their context is by reading the entire letter. By so doing, you’ll remember that Jude felt an urgency to warn his readers about apostate teachers so that they (and, by extension, we) could properly contend for the faith. He then closes with this stirring doxology:

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 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 24-25 (ESV)

You might be tempted to think that Jude simply tacked this doxology on as a formality. But notice that he wastes no time in identifying the Lord as “Him Who is able to keep you from stumbling.” Jude has just written 23 verses about ungodly people who indeed have fallen into apostasy, and he needs to assure true Christians that they won’t fall into the same condemnation. If you’ll remember Jude 1, you’ll see that Jude 24 expands on  that earlier promise of God keeping us for Christ Jesus. He wants to alleviate all fear that true believers could forfeit their salvation.

Jude emphasizes that God is the One keeping us from stumbling into apostasy. If I thought I could get away with it, I’d spend this whole blog post on this one point! Certainly, passages like Psalm 37:23-24  and John 10:27-30 corroborate the idea that the Lord preserves His own. For the purposes of today’s study, however, I’d like to simply state that Jude offers this assurance of preservation by drawing our attention to God’s ability rather than our responsibility. The fact that we can rely on Him puts our fears to rest.

But God, in His extravagant love, goes beyond merely keeping us from stumbling into apostasy. He actually presents us to His Father as if we are blameless! In order to appreciate the wonder of this point, let’s remember that we were once dead captives to our sin natures (Ephesians 2:1-2). To go from that wretched condition to being presented as blameless is incredible!  The “great joy” therefore shouldn’t surprise us; we’ll be quite aware that the declaration of blamelessness is light years away from our condition before He saved us!

From there, Jude shifts the focus even more to “the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The false teachers try to give us gods of their imaginations rather than the true God whom we know through Jesus Christ our Lord. Jude makes it clear that only one God deserves our worship.

We worship our God by ascribing four qualities to Him. Of course, these qualities describe Who He is and what He has done, much like the worship He receives in Revelation 4:11 and Revelation 19:1. But let’s quickly go over these four qualities.

Jude calls us to ascribe glory, majesty, dominion and authority to the Lord. Glory, meaning superlative honor for Who He is and what He’s done. Majesty, meaning a recognition of His splendor and dignity. Dominion, meaning no challenges to His supreme right to rule. Authority, meaning His unlimited power to rule.

Finally, Jude tells us that the Lord must receive this praise “before all time and now and forever.” As an eternal Being, He deserves worship throughout all ages, not just in future times. The eternal worship of Him contrasts the eternal condemnation of the false teachers (remember Jude 4-7). The Lord’s glory permeates history and eternity, always triumphant over evil and deception.  How lovely of Jude to leave us with this image of eternal worship.

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