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,
To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty,
dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.
I’ve been guilty in the past of reading quickly over the final verses of New Testament letters. They often are so similar in their language—a brother expressing his goodbye and well wishes for the church while praising the Lord. Not that these things are without worth. We say “amen” to them, but don’t think much about them after that. But, I sure am glad the Lord parked me on this passage and made me stop and think. Just listen…
“Now unto Him who is able”
Jd 22-23 speaks of the pursuit of saving of souls. That’s the language used in v. 23: “others save with fear”. It is important that we read v. 24 after v. 23 because the ability for the saving of souls is right here. God is able! Some of us have been praying for lost loved ones for a long time seemingly without effect. Maybe we’ve seen at times a glimmer of hope—an apparent concern for eternal things or an awareness of the brevity of life. Maybe some have even attended church for a period. But just as quickly as we got our hopes up, our dreams were dashed as they faded right back into the lifestyle they had before. We pray for them still, trembling as we think about the verse concerning the dog returning to his vomit and the sow to her mire. (2 Pe 2:22) The words of 2 Pe 2:20 ring in our ears: “the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.” How far is too far? When will God’s mercy on that soul run out? Brothers and sisters, that’s between them and the Lord. That’s not for us to decide! Consider the sins of men in the Bible like Manasseh, Lot, David, Saul of Tarsus…to name a few. We might have written them off after what they did! But, we’re talking about “Him who is able!” Listen, it is a miracle any of us get saved! We stand dumbfounded with the disciples asking, “Who then can be saved?” (Mt 19:25) But, we hear the gracious response from our Lord: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Mt 19:26) As Is 59:1 says, “the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save”! God asks in Jer 32:27, “I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for me?” Let the church shout a resounding, “NO!! There is nothing too hard for You!” Be encouraged, dear soul! Live godly before those loved ones and pray for them to Him who is able! With God all things are possible!
“to keep you from stumbling”
So, what is God able to do? What about the struggling Christian? The previous verses in Jude reveal an influx of deceivers that have crept into the church without anyone noticing (v. 4). Jude’s warning every one that’s naming the name of Christ to examine their hearts. Make sure you’re not one of these ungodly dreamers (v. 8) upon whom the judgment of God is sure to come (v. 14, 15). Yes, examine yourself Christian, but he isn’t giving this word to undermine your faith, for you to cast off your assurance. What an encouragement in this thought: yes, if left to yourself you would have no hope, but God is able to keep you from falling! It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or says, God is able to make you stand! (Rom 14:4) You say, “You don’t know what I’ve done!” You don’t know what I’ve thought!” When does a man cross that line in Heb 6:4-6 so that it is impossible for him to be renewed again to repentance? V. 6 says these “fall away,” but sinner, this God is able to keep you from reaching that point! He is able to keep you from falling! We might have written David off after what he did in light of all He knew and had experienced of God, but listen to 2 Sam 12:13: “So David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.'” What hope do we have with these liars infiltrating the church in Jd 4? Jesus said they will come, and they’ll be dazzling! In Mt 24:24, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders…” But does He stop there? What’s the rest of it? “…to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” If it were possible, i.e. it’s not! Can you lose your salvation? Not if God has anything to do with it, and He has everything to do with it!
“and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory”
That word “faultless” is also translated “without blame, without blemish, without spot, without fault.” That would be good news if you were in an auto accident and standing before the judge. It would be good to hear you were not to blame, and you were in no way at fault. But, we’re not standing in a county courtroom in this verse, are we? Where are we? “Before the presence of his glory.” What?!!! When Isaiah was there, he exclaimed, “Woe is me!” (Is 6:5)When John saw Christ in his glory, he fell at His feet as dead! (Rev 1:17) But, consider the effectiveness of the blood of Christ upon aliens and enemies in Col 1:21,22! To paraphrase, God says of these, “You look perfect in every way to me. You’re not just good. You’re holy! I find no spot or stain at all. There’s not a single sin for me to bring up. There’s not even a mild word of correction for you. I have only eternal love and acceptance for you. You are in no way offensive to Me!”
Have you ever considered the sins of the Old Testament saints in the light of the New Testament? If there was ever an apostate prophet, we’d assume Jonah was one. He explicitly disobeyed God’s command, running the other way when God said go to Nineveh. Only after severe correction did he obey, but only in deed. His heart wasn’t in the message to Nineveh! He preached the bare minimum, and then ran to the hills to see what God would do. When God showed mercy, he got mad and pouted like a little child! In fact, the last thing we have in the book is God rebuking him for his lack of mercy. The only good thing we can say about the whole account is that he was a picture of Christ as he was three days in the belly of the whale! And guess what? That’s the only thing we have mentioned about him in the New Testament! So much more could have been preached and taught using Jonah as an example, but there’s not one mention of his sin! The same holds true for David, Moses, and Abraham. David’s murder and adultery—never mentioned! Moses’ excuses at the beginning of his calling and his sin in striking the rock—not even hinted at. Abraham and Sarah’s unbelief concerning God’s promise of a son resulting in Ishmael—never even alluded to! What about someone like Samson? His entire life is characterized by worldliness—the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, and the lust of the flesh. Surely there’s nothing good to say about him. The only mention you have of him is in Heb 11:32,33 as he’s listed along side men like Gideon and Samuel “who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.” What?!! Did the Holy Spirit have temporary amnesia when He wrote about these characters? Nope, it wasn’t temporary. It was permanent! What is the new covenant (or testament) characterized by in Heb 10:14-17? “There sins…I will remember no more!!!
“with exceeding joy”
With that last thought, it’s no wonder we can stand before God in this state of joy! Listen, if you’re depressed right now, this will raise you up! How can we complain or be downcast if we’re conscious of this fact? How can this thought not prompt us to praise! Are you in a hard place like the psalmist in Ps 43:1? Look at how his countenance changes as his heart considers his God and that which God will do for him! Now, if you haven’t been washed in the blood of the Lamb, you have no reason to rejoice, ever! This experience is foreign and completely contrary to what those outside of Christ will experience. There’s not even a hint of joy in Rev 6:15-17, only terror! They call on rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb! Will anyone be able to stand in that day? Yes! Those spoken of in Jude because Christ’s blood cleanses them from all unrighteousness! (1 Jn 1:7) If you’re outside of Christ, you won’t meet a loving God that’s welcoming you with open arms but instead a God of wrath speaking the worst words you’ll ever hear, that will ring in your ears through out eternity. In fact, according to Mt 7:21-23, a lot of church-folk are going to hear these awful words—men and women that called “Lord, Lord,” that prophesied, cast out devils, and did wonderful works in Christ’s name. What will they hear? “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Meanwhile, the redeemed will bow with exceeding joy before a God that welcomes them to enter eternally into His joy! (Mt 25:21). With hearts overflowing with love, they will cast their crowns at their Lord’s feet and say “amen” to Jude’s final verse: “To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.”