Jude 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, (NKJV)
I’m always amazed at how much truth there is in even the Bible verses we quickly skip past. The “welcome” verses of Jude are a goldmine of theology:
Jude 1-2 Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. (NKJV)
First, we can be sure that Jude is writing to Christians – not unbelievers, not the world, not pagans – but Believers. “To those who a called…”
- John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (NKJV; emphasis mine)
- 1 Thessalonians 2:12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. (NKJV)
- 1 Thessalonians 5:24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. (NKJV)
- 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (NKJV)
- 2 Peter 1:2-3 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, (NKJV)
We are called by God. You didn’t turn to God because you’re a “good” person. I didn’t accept Christ because because I sought Him out. No – God calls each and every Believer to Himself so that no man can claim any part of salvation by his own effort. In fact, we are incapable of any righteousness before salvation (civil good, yes, but not true holiness; Rom. 3:9–19, 23; Rom. 5:6, 12–14; Rom. 6:6, 19, 20 v. 17.; Rom. 7:5, 11, 13–15, 18–21, 23, 25; Rom. 8:5–8, 13; Rom. 11:32) and so it is only through God’s merciful calling, drawing or luring us to Him that any person is ever saved.
(note: this is not “Calvinism”, it’s the plain Scripture. Don’t confuse this very plain truth with the systematic CONCLUSIONS of a man-derived theology. It’s easy to now lose sight of this truth, and as men debate their “systems” drift into endless discussions about “free will”, “sovereignty” and other such topics but that would do injustice to the simple message. Men are lost. None can be saved unless a loving and merciful God draws them to Himself. Just stop right there, and leave it at that simple beautiful truth for the sake of this message.)
Jude goes on to describe the rest of our salvation as wholly the act of God and not human effort (yes, the “walking out” of our salvation does require our effort, but the availability, application and securing of our salvation is beyond us, and solely the realm of God).
Sanctified by God the Father
Sancitification is the act of separating something out for God or making something holy. Our sanctification is an act of God that we are to cooperate with and strive for, but the result is solely dependent on God’s power. We are to make every possible effort (2Peter 2:5) but like the father helping his six year old son push the lawn mower, the REAL power is in the “father” not the boy who is pushing with all his might. Our effort towards holiness is much the same: we “push” with all our heart and strength, but the Father has His arms around us providing the real power. Our sanctification:
- Accomplished in the Godhead – Heb 2:11; 13:12; Ro 15:16; 1Co 6:11
- Through God’s Word – Joh 17:17,19; Eph 5:26
- Resulting in holiness – Ro 6:22; Eph 5:7-9
- Inheriting the Kingdom of God – 1Co 6:9-11
The Believers to which Jude was writing were called, saved, and being made holy only because God drew them, and was doing the work of sanctification in their life.
Preserved in Jesus Christ
The guarantee that this work would be completed and is secured does not fall on us to accomplish either. Throw out your “once saved, always saved”, “you can lose your salvation”, Arminian/Calvinistic bias (pro or con) and simply look at the magnificent turth for what it is. We often here this same concept decribed as “perseverance” but that is a less accurate description. Yes we will persevere in Christ to the end, but it is because GOD is preserving us.
Quit filtering God’s Word through your deeply ingrained
systematic-theology, denominational-tradition bias,
and take a fresh look at pure and beautiful truth.
As Christians, we are “preserved” in Christ Jesus. We don’t have to worry about Satan or man being able to steal away our salvation. We don’t even have to worry that WE will have the strength and commitment to make sure our salvation is completed. GOD blesses us with the strength and committment we will need – preserving us to the end. Why? FOR HIS GLORY (emphasis mine following).
- John 6:39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. (NKJV)
- Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; (NKJV)
- Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (NKJV)
- John 10:28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (NKJV)
We could do nothing to make salvation possible. We couldn’t die for our sins, we couldn’t die for other’s sin. We could not live a perfect life, we could never be holy enough to be accepted by God. We could do NOTHING to make salvation available, and praise God, I don’t have to earn, secure or guarantee my own salvation after receiving it. Oh yes, I must obey God with all my heart. I must do good works. I must love and try to be holy in all things, but thank the Lord, I don’t have to worry about ME being responsible to make sure that in the end, my salvation is secure and heaven will be waiting.
God has made available, secured and continues to preserve my salvation. I’m glad it is in HIS HANDS, not mine. If you are missing this vital truth today, open your heart to God’s Word. GONE – will be the bondage of trying earn your salvation. GONE – will be the bondage of thinking each and every sin in your life is a ticket to hell (yes, we are to seek forgiveness, repent and change… but this is the process of sanctification NOT the acquisition of salvation which is achieved ONLY because Christ already paid for ALL your sins).
GONE – will be the doubt of wondering if you are truly saved. GONE – will be the nagging insecurity and fear of the day you will stand before God. GONE – will be the legalistic checklists of holiness that soothe your false guilt of not being “good enough”.
Embrace the plain truth that salvation is God’s work: He arranged for it, makes it available, draws you to it, and then secure it for you requiring of us only the faith (which He provides when we ask) to believe and accept His offer of eternal life (which is evidenced by our repentance, obedience and good works as we “work out” our salvation in our day to day life; Phillipians 2:12).
I love verse 2: “Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you”. Available only to Christians, both now and in eternity: mercy, peace and love. Could you use a little of those today?
Well folks, that’s just the first two verses. I’ll try to pick up the pace a little tomorrow or we’ll spend the next six months studying one small book. Until tomorrow, Lord willing, enjoy the truth today that your salvation is already secured BY GOD. You need simply to do your very best to obey, honor and serve the Lord knowing that your salvation is God’s responsibility (God is the real power that turns our efforts into results)… and who better to be in charge of it? You can KNOW you are saved today (1John 5:13) and that God has secured the final result.
Lord God, Help us to embrace the plain truths of Scripture without clouding them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Do you KNOW you are saved? Do you know understand why salvation is beyond our ability? Do you understand why salvation is secure once granted by God?
Application: God saves us. Then He clearly promises to preserve us to the end. We should live in confidence that our salvation is never in doubt because of God’s faithfulness, not our ability. The only time we should be concerned about the authenticity of our salvation is when there is no manifested evidence of it in our lifes (good works, obedience, love etc.). Otherwise, the security of our salvation, and the assuredness of our sanctifiction is in GOD’S HANDS… and that should be a real joy to us every day. Our God, Creator of Heavens and Earth, has promised that HE will make sure I complete my walk in Christ.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?