Jude 24-25: To the only One who is able!

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Bible Study Series: The Book of Jude - The Acts of the Apostates

Bible Study: Jude 24-25: To the only One who is able

By Fraser Gordon

Bible Study Jude 24-25 To the only One who is able

We now come to the conclusion of Jude. This has been the most wonderful little book to study. Jude has written about false people we need to be aware of and now he finishes this little letter with the focus on God. He's finishing with what our eyes, our ears and our attention should be fixed on. The one who is able, God. When we look at this little letter, it's full of failure. Jude wanted to write about all the good things concerning salvation and the things of grace, but he was compelled by the Spirit to write a letter of warning and rebuke because of infiltrators who had come into the church. We looked at the grace abusers - those that turned grace into an opportunity for sin, and the angels who rebelled and left their own abode. We looked at the legalists and also the dreamers - people who come with false visions and false dreams, puffed up by their own sensual mind rather than the Spirit of God. 

His readers may have been thinking how are we going to make it to heaven if we are caught up under false teachers, or if there's any part of this little letter that's part of our lives? Jude finishes this great little letter drawing everyone's attention towards God Himself. He's the only One that can bring us home and keep us secure. This last part of the letter is about getting preoccupied with God. 

He is able

Jude 1:24 Now to Him who is able…

Have you ever had a wall plaque? This would be a really good saying to put on the wall because it takes our eyes off ourselves and all the rubbish around us and fixes them and our heart on the One who is able - the Lord Jesus Christ. If we ever want anything done we always go to those that are able. If we need our car fixed, we go to a mechanic, our teeth, we go to a dentist. If you need something done on your house that you can’t do yourself, you go to a builder. And so it is with the things of salvation and the things of eternity. These are not things we can do for ourselves. We need to look at someone - God himself - who can do something on our behalf. Only He can do the things of salvation and keep us secure. 

John 10.27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. 30 I and My Father are one."

There is only One who is able. No one can snatch you or I from the Father's hand. 

At the very end of Romans after Paul has written all about the issues of sin, of holiness, of the Christian life, of being reckoned into His death, and into His likeness. After he has written of failure in Romans 7, and the wonderful things of life in the Spirit in chapters 9-11, then all about Israel. He comes right to the end of the book and says:

Romans 16.24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. 25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began.

There's only One who is able to establish you, and that is God. Paul recognises that it is only God Himself who is able to establish the believer into all the truths he wrote about. 

Ephesians 3.16-21 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height –19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

I love verse 20 exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. Again there was only One who was able. 

Philippians 3.20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

When we receive our glorified body there is only One who is able to transform us, and that is God himself. 

Hebrews 2.17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

In other words, because of the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ, because He suffered and was tempted, He is able to identify with our weaknesses and is able to come to our need. 

Hebrews 7.24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

I love those words, ‘He is also able to save to the uttermost’. Whatever circumstance we find ourselves in, He is able to save us to the uttermost. Since He always lives to make intercession for us. Jude encourages us to get our eyes off ourselves. Off all the rubbish around us and fix our eyes, ‘unto Him who is able’.

He will guard you

Jude 1.24 …to keep you from stumbling…

The word keep in this verse is different from the word keep in verse 21. The Greek word in verse 21 is to watch yourself and others, keep yourselves in the love of God and watch what's going on in your life. But the word for keep in verse 24 is to guard and is attributed to God himself. To Him who is able to guard you. When I read this, it reminded me of Jesus' prayer to the Father in John 17. 

John 17.9 I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.

It's wonderful how all believers are a love gift from the Father to the Son. Jesus prays to the Father that He would protect those whom He has given to Him. 

John 17.11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Jesus' prayer was that the Father would keep those who He had given to Him, and that ‘keeping’ means to guard over. Jesus said ‘I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one’. In other words, protect them, put a guard around them, garrison their lives so that the evil one does not have an open hand with them. This is what the word keep means. He will keep you. 

The Bible likens us to sheep because, if you're like me and every other saint, we are prone to wander and stumble. We wander away into all sorts of sin - backsliding, temptation, and error. But Jude writes that there is One who is able to keep us or guard us from stumbling. Imagine a vessel on the sea with loose boards. The pilot is arrogant and blind. The vessel is surrounded by rocks and reefs, and a wild storm is coming. You would think the vessel is absolutely doomed with no chance of surviving what’s coming. It won't even last the night. This is a picture of us, we’ve got loose boards at times. We're arrogant and blind, there are reefs and rocks all around us, and a storm approaching. This is the Christian in this world. Everything is against us; the world system as well as a flesh that has no time for God. We have an enemy that wants to continually pull us down. But we also have One who is able to keep our vessel afloat. He's able to keep us from the snares, the rocks, the reefs, and the storm approaching and bring us to safe shores. Many say that our vessel is doomed but when you think about your own Christian life, think of how God has been able to keep you from making an absolute shipwreck of your life. 

My mother accepted the Lord Jesus Christ at about 16 she then told her mother of her faith. Her mother's response to her was, “oh, we've all been there, these things will pass”. Mum will be 88 this year and she can look back over her life and see how God has kept her from stumbling. He's kept her life from being a spiritual wreck on the rocks. Look back on your own life and it will be exactly the same. God is the One who is able and has kept you from stumbling. 

How does He do it?

How is He able to keep us from falling and slipping out the back door? One way is through His word. God's word is vital. He speaks to us through the scriptures because it is alive and active and is able to divide. The Bible can speak to us on a daily basis and remind us of God's promises and faithfulness, of sin and the things we can fall into. So the importance of God's word is vital and one way He is able. He also uses others. How many times have you ventured into something and God has prompted someone to say, “I don't think that would be good for you. I can see trouble coming if you take that path”. The most wonderful thing is that God has a way of keeping us on the right path. He gives us a desire for holiness and part of that is His discipline; we suffer the consequences of sin. All these things are used by Him to keep us from stumbling and our lives from becoming an absolute shipwreck. 

What I love about the Bible is that it portrays everything. All the good, the bad, and the ugly. Take David's sin, how was God able to keep him from stumbling? Well, yes, he stumbled, and we all sin. But his life wasn't a complete shipwreck. Even though David tried to hide his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah (If you want to have a closer look at that you'll find it in my studies on the life of David). It wasn't long though before God sent Nathan the prophet to expose David's sin and bring him back into fellowship. David had to suffer the consequences of it, but his life wasn't shipwrecked. This is how God is able to keep us from completely falling. The other thing God is able to do is keep us by His power. 

Romans 5.10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Paul is writing about the resurrection life of the Lord Jesus Christ. He always lives to intercede for us but we are saved by the power of His indwelling life which keeps us from stumbling. I flew back from Tasmania the other week and it wouldn't have been any help at all if I had put my arms out the window and flapped them. Many Christians unfortunately live their lives like that. They think they've got to help things along, to keep things afloat. But it's only God and His greater power. Obviously the law of aerodynamics is a greater power than the law of gravity. When we sit on a plane we have faith in the pilot to operate the plane. We also have faith in the plane and the engine to hold us in the air so gravity doesn't take effect and we plunge to the ground. So it is in the Christian life, there is a greater power at work. We have been placed in a risen Christ and it is the resurrection power that holds us and keeps us from stumbling and becoming a complete shipwreck. 

I have been a Christian for 34 years and it's a miracle only by God's grace. It is the power of God that holds us here. If you looked at your own lives you would see the many ways He has held you and kept you in the path that you should be going. So, get your minds off yourself and get your mind on God. This great God that we serve, who is able to keep you from stumbling.

And present you

Jude 1.24 …And to present you faultless before the presence of His glory…

I was struck by that when I read it. The thought of you and me - every saint being presented before His presence. This is our day of presentation or coming out day. We will be presented individually in His presence. Now when you first think about it it can be a fearful thought. Whenever I had to go before the headmaster or one of the Deans at school and present myself, I was always in trouble. It would either be a detention or a caning or something similar. If you've ever come up before a judge to present yourself it’s normally for something that you've done wrong. But here He is going to present us faultless. The word faultless means blameless, no defect, unblemished, and perfect. Do you see yourselves in that light? Do you see yourself as blameless as having no defect at all, unblemished, absolutely perfect? If we were to be honest many of us don't see ourselves like that. If I recorded all the words you speak in a month, and not only that, but all the thoughts you have too. Then I gathered all your church friends, all your workmates and everyone who knew you, and presented you. Would you be confident? The answer would be no. We would shrink from it because we know the wickedness of our own heart. We see imperfections, weaknesses, and failings. But God is going to present you faultless before His presence. Blameless, no defect, unblemished, and perfect. In verse 24 God makes two promises. In regards to the present tense, He is able to keep you from stumbling and now He makes another promise in regards to the future; that He is going to present you faultless. 

2 Corinthians 5.21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

In other words we were included in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Because of our standing in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are declared the righteousness of God. We stand completely apart from anything we have done of ourselves. 

Ephesians 1.3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.

Saints this is positional truth. This is true of you whether you know it or not, whether you experience it or not. This is all true of you. This is something that the Lord Jesus Christ has done for every believer. The moment you put faith in Him, you were included in His death and His resurrection. You have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. You are seated with Christ in the heavenlies that is your position. And he says in verse 4 ‘that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love’. You have a heavenly position in Christ Jesus that can only be taken by faith.  A work that God has done for you and me not according to anything that we have done, but according to His love and grace. Colossians says the same thing.

Colossians 1.21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight--

You will come forth as an individual and be presented before His presence as being holy, blameless and beyond reproach only because of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. You are hidden in Him. His life is attributable to your righteousness and your standing before Him. This is the wonderful truth about Grace saints. You see, we are in Christ. Whenever we look at ourselves, all we see is imperfection, failings and weaknesses. When you read Paul’s prayers, he is always praying that we would lift our eyes and see ourselves in the position that God has put us. Seated in the heavenly places. Our lives are hidden with Christ in God, Colossians tells us these are all positional truths, they are true of us from the moment we believe, to the moment we are taken home. This is why we will stand before Him faultless. All our sins are removed from us as far as the east is from the West. That's been dealt with. The new life we are given is in a risen Saviour and we are accepted in the Beloved. We see imperfection and weakness, but God sees the life of His risen Son. 

Do you remember the story of David and Mephibosheth? There isn’t time to look at it now, but when I did my studies on David, we learned that Mephibosheth was a relative of Jonathan, and he had lame feet. He was from a place called Lodebar, which means barrenness. He's a great picture of you and I - our lives are barren apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, we are crippled. We don't have the ability to function properly on our own and need the grace of someone else. David picks him up and seats him at his own table and treats him as his son. He gives him the food of the king and treats him with all blessings. He's a wonderful picture of the grace that is bestowed on you and I.

Above and beyond

Jude 1.24 …with exceeding joy 

The word ‘exceeding’ is to do more than is warranted, to be greater than or to surpass. It's not just joy itself, it's exceeding joy above and beyond. A good picture would be the prodigal son coming home. The father ran to his son and wrapped his arms around him. He said bring the fatted calf, put a new robe on him, new sandals on his feet and a ring on his finger. The father did more than was warranted. You think he would have been happy just to have his son home, but the father went above and beyond what was needed. Obviously the older brother moaned and complained because he thought it was a bit excessive. 

We are going to be presented faultless before His presence with exceeding joy. Not just joy but exceeding joy above and beyond, and it will surpass normal joy. So whose joy is this? Well, I believe it's both ours and it's the Lords. Psalm 16.11 says ‘…‘in Your presence is fullness of joy…’ so we know that when we come face to face with God and return to our heavenly home, we will be in fullness of joy. But it's also Christ's joy. This passage speaks more to me of the joy Christ has in presenting us to the Father than it does of what we will experience. In Matthew 25 Jesus spoke about the parable of the talents. For a few, those that had done well, He said, ‘well done, …enter into the joy of your Lord’. We don't often think our Saviour and our Father will be full of joy when we, the bride, arrive in heaven. Christ will see all the benefits of what He accomplished on the cross. ‘He shall see the labour of His soul, and be satisfied’ Isaiah 53.11. Hebrews 12.2 also writes of the joy of our Saviour ‘looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Was Jesus looking ahead into eternity when He hung on the cross and said those great words, ‘it is finished’, tetelestai, paid in full? It meant that the whole sin issue, the debt which is held over mankind and is a barrier between God and man was paid in full by the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus looked forward to that day with joy when sin would be done away with, the curtain would be torn and man would individually and boldly have free access to His Father. If you can save one person's life, think of the joy that brings you. Then think of the Lord Jesus Christ as he looked forward to the multitudes of souls that would be rescued from ruin and redeemed to a life of purpose. He also looked forward to ruling and reigning on earth with a righteous body of believers, His saints. 

It is Christ's joy to present us as a spectacle of His divine grace. He has done a work that we couldn't do for ourselves. He is able to stand you perfect and holy in His presence. The joy is His. This is the wonderful thing about grace, when we look at ourselves we see weakness and imperfection. But God sees us in the risen Son with imputed righteousness. We are given a standing without flaw. We need to meditate on that. The joy that Christ looked forward to was the day that He could present all those that came to Him in faith as pure, holy, unblemished, blameless and spotless in a risen Christ. If you read John 17 in that light and look at the relationship between the Father and the Son, it's beautiful. They are thanking one another for this gift that was prepared before the foundation of the world which you and I are a part of - the body of Christ. 

This passage in Jude is all about God. He's the only One who is able. He's able to keep you and He's able to present you. The joy is going to be His and ours. 

To Him alone be glory!

Jude 1:25  To God our Saviour, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.

Now Jude finishes with God. He is our Saviour, He had a plan from the foundation of the world to love, to redeem and to save. Wisdom only comes from God, His ways are unsearchable. Glory, majesty, dominion and power now and forever. What a wonderful completion Jude has given to the end of this letter. We've looked at a lot of rubbish and many warnings about false people that we need to be aware of, but he finishes by getting our eyes off all that and fixing our eyes on God. Fix your eyes on the Saviour. Everything is about Him - the Lord Jesus Christ, that in all things He might have the preeminence. Jude finishes with God and Him alone. May He receive the glory, the dominion and all of the power, both now and forevermore. 

Father, we thank you for this wonderful little book and we thank you for these last two verses that our eyes may lift off ourselves, off our surroundings and on to You who is able. There is only One who is able, and it is You Father. We thank you for what you've done in our lives. We thank you for the salvation you have brought us and we thank you that you can keep us, guard us, and will present us one day. Father, I thank you for the standing we have in our risen Lord Jesus Christ. That we can be confident in that day standing before you unblemished because of the work that you have done on our behalf. We thank you for that. We pray that you would apply all of these scriptures in this book to our life for Jesus sake. Amen. 

God bless, saints.