He is Able (Jude 24-25)
During an earthquake, a few years ago, the inhabitants of a small village were very much alarmed. The people had reason to be afraid, for the disaster had destroyed many homes and taken several lives. One old woman, whom they all knew was surprisingly calm and joyous. Finally, one of them said to her, “Mother, are you not afraid?” “No,” she said, “I rejoice to know that I have a God who can shake the world.”
The God we serve is immensely powerful. He can shake the world, for he created the world — there are numerous wonders in this world we have all seen. God has demonstrated his great power throughout the history of mankind — to the Conquest of the Promised Land to the Resurrection of his Son.
Jude concludes his short book with praise for God’s great power. Synagogue services often ended with praise to God, and it’s always appropriate that we pause to praise God. This morning, we want to look at Jude’s praise that we might more effectively praise God. As we look at Jude’s praise, we see a God who is able.
God is Able to Preserve You, v 24a
Jude writes, “To him who is able to keep you from falling.” Jude has just written about all the dangers of falling away. “Certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you” (v. 4)- notice that these false teachers are among these Christians; they didn’t come from the outside, but they came from the inside. “These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm — shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted — twice dead” (v. 12). The question would naturally arise, “If these false teachers have fallen away, what about me? How am I going to be safe from falling away?”
You know, as did the Christians to whom Jude wrote, that falling away is a real possibility. “You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace” (Gal. 5:4). Speaking of false teachers, Peter wrote, “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning” (2 Pet. 2:20).
But, the possibility of falling away is only half the story — God is able to preserve us, able to keep us from falling away. How is it that God preserves us? Some would argue that God will preserve us in spite of what we do — If that’s the case, how could those Galatians to whom Paul wrote have fallen from grace?
God preserves us in that we cannot be tempted beyond what we can endure.
“My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand” (Jn. 10:29)- Satan cannot come by force and take us from the Father. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
God preserves us through his Word.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Ps. 119:11). God instilled that word with great power — “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
That word informs us how we can keep from falling.
After instructing Christians to add virtues to their lives, Peter wrote, “If you do these things, you will never fall” (2 Pet. 1:10). It’s possible to keep from falling, and God’s Word will tell us how to make that possibility a reality.
God will preserve us by drawing near to us.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you” (Js. 4:7-8). As we walk with God, he will draw near to us and preserve us — he will keep us from falling.
Notice something rather important: God is able to preserve us, but we have to be willing for him to preserve us. God won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, but we have to endure the temptation. God’s Word has great power to preserve us, but we have to look into it. God will draw near to us, but we have to draw near to him. Is God preserving you this morning? Are you allowing God to preserve you?
God is Able to Present You, v 24b
Jude writes that God is able “to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.”
God has a greatly glorious presence. Because the Lord’s glory entered the tabernacle, Moses could not enter the tent (Ex. 40:34-35). “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens” (Ps. 8:1).
Because the Lord’s glory is so great those who have experienced God’s glory feared. “To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain” (Ex. 24:17). When Isaiah saw a divine representation, he said, “Woe to me! I am mined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty” (Is. 6:5).
But, notice what God’s going to do: he’s going to present us before his glorious presence. It is a place mortal man cannot dwell — When Moses asked to see God, the Lord allowed him to see his back, but God said, “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and 1ive” (Ex. 33:20). God will preserve us in this case, too, and will allow us to be in his glorious presence.
When we are in God’s presence, we will be without fault and have great joy. I know being without fault is God’s doing, not mine, for I have a multitude of faults. “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Rom. 3:10-12). What sins have you committed? What is it that you would give anything in this world if you could go back and undo? What action causes you shame and embarrassment every time you remember it?
God’s going to take you and having removed that sin will present you faultless before his throne; every sin you’ve committed will be forgotten, and you will be perfect before God’s throne. “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:11-12). “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Mic. 7:18-19). A writer reminds us that when God casts someone’s sins into the depths of the sea, he figuratively places a sign nearby that reads “No Fishing.” What a beautiful thought! God will take our sins, hurl them into the depths of the sea, and remember them no more!
Of course, that promise is for those in Christ. “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7). Have all your sins be forgiven through Christ? If you were to stand before God’s throne this very morning, would he be able to present you faultless?
He will also present us before his throne, not only without fault, but with great joy. We have all experienced great joy in this life: the day we were buried with Christ in baptism, the day we married the love of our life, the day our children were born, the day our grandchildren were born. But, we’ve never experienced joy like we’ll have when we are before God’s throne. We’ll have the joy of gazing into the face of the One who died for us. We’ll have the joy of all our sin and struggles and sickness put far, far behind us. We’ll have the joy of being reunited with our loved ones who died in Christ. We’ll have the joy of hearing the Lord say, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the wor1d.” Is that joy going to be yours?
God is Able to be Praised by You, v 25
“To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”
Jude refers to God as “the only God our Savior.” He is likely compelled to refer to God in such a manner because of the false teachers he was combating. In v. 4, he describes these heretics as “godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” There were many in the early church who claimed Christ was not truly divine and human at the same time. What Jude may very well be doing here is to say that both the Father and the Son are fully divine and they both worked quite actively for man’s salvation.
To our God is to be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore. In this doxology, Jude mentions four attributes which belong to God.
“Glory” refers to God’s radiance and moral splendor. God has great glory. At the dedication of the temple, “the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple” (1 Ki. 8:11). God’s glory was so greatly manifested that the mortals could not enter the Temple.
Majesty refers to God’s greatness, his transcendence (the fact that he is far above man). “The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and is armed with strength” (Ps. 93:1).
You know the Lord has power like no other. In replying to Bildad, Job said, “By his power he churned up the sea; by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces. By his breath the skies became fair; his hand pierced the gliding serpent. And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?” (Job 26:12-I4).
God has great authority with which he has subdued all enemies. In prayer Jehoshaphat said, “O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you” (2 Chr. 20:6).
This praise is to be ascribed to God before all ages, now and forevermore. It’s right that God would have eternal praise, for he is eternal— “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come” (Rev. 4:8). It’s right that we would ascribe to God glory, majesty, power, and authority, for he is able to preserve us and present us faultless and with great joy before his throne.
Are you ascribing to God the praise which is his due? Many of us don’t. Tonight, many in this assembly won’t gather to praise God. I know several of you will work and others of you don’t have the health you wish you had. But, many others — most who won’t be here — will choose not to be here. How? When God has done so much, when he has promised to do so much, and when he has loved so much — how can I not fall on my face before him in praise? Is your life a life of praise to the Father? Do you need to come this morning and make your life a life of praise?