What hope can be found after such a short serious letter written by the hand of Jude? The letter was written telling those who are called, beloved, and kept, that they are in the midst of hand-to-hand combat that they did not know crept into the church. The warnings of the false teachers who have rejected God’s salvation rebelled against him and even refused God’s created order. Who followed their dreams not the word of God. They were like Cain, Balaam, and Korah. Like hidden reefs, selfish shepherds, waterless clouds, fruitless trees, wild waves, and wandering stars. For members of this church, they would have been overwhelmed and shocked to hear of what has come into the church without them knowing about it. I am sure they would have been unsure of how to proceed. Jude has given them their prescription and how they are to show mercy to others. However, Jude finished with great hope which we should never forget. As Jesus told his disciples, the church will be attacked by the gates of Hell. Jude at this point has instructed this church of this ongoing battle that they should not be surprised by. However, Jude now focuses not on the battle waging now but on the victory that is to come. This beautiful doxology and benediction are one of my favorite promises that I need to be reminded of throughout my Christian fight. As those in the church have tried to deny Christ as the only master and Lord, Jude says, although they deny this and teach this denial. That does not make it true, that as much as they deny this, they cannot make it a reality.
I. The promise of being kept
As Jude has focused on the false teaching, and even then, those who are called beloved and kept. But now Jude wants to remind them of the glorious truth which is found in the faith delivered to all the saints. We find here the great image presented in the sixth chapter of the gospel of John. Jesus tells the crowd,
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:35–40)
Jude succinctly teaches theology found in passages like John 6 as those who are called, beloved, and kept. And he reminds them in his closing words that Jesus has promised that he would keep them for the Father. As Jude speaks of the false teachers and false teaching, he reminds them that we are on a battlefield, but we have the assurance that those who truly trust in Christ will by no means be cast out. That Christ will lose none of the people who have been given to him by the Father. The battle is raging but Christ the general knows where all his soldiers are and he has promised that none of them fall and all of them will make it back home safely. The focus is not on us, but on Christ. We are a small boat on the surface of the water being rocked back and forth with the tides and waves, but the one that keeps the boat from moving away is the anchor holding the boat in place. So, Christ is the anchor that holds us and keeps us. Or like the image of a parent walking with a child. As they walk through an area that is treacherous or dangerous they tell the child to hold their hand. The child’s small fingers wrap around their parents’ fingers. However, when it counts the child’s grip is irrelevant, the parent’s grip is what matters. That we have the glorious promises throughout Scripture that we are saved and kept by Christ. CH Spurgeon said, “God promises to keep his people, and he will keep his promise.” What comfort that should bring to those who are called, beloved, and kept. That on our best days we are kept by Christ, on our worst days we are kept by Christ. For better or worse, Christ has promised that he will in no way cast out. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians, “[Jesus Christ] will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:8–9)
II. The power that keeps us
Now, to make a promise is one thing but you need to be able to keep a promise. That is what makes it a meaningful promise. Many promises made are not kept because the maker of the promise is unable to carry them out. In election cycles we hear of promises, but how often do we see them all fulfilled as exactly as they were promised? However, we have not only the promise of being kept we know that Christ can keep his promises. Jude says that Christ is able to keep us from stumbling. Jesus as he is explaining how he is the great shepherd of the sheep says, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:28–29) Jesus said that not only no one would be able to snatch them out of his hands but also out of his Father’s hand as well. Jesus’ point is that his Father is greater than all who would seek to snatch them out of his hand. His grip is stronger than any that would seek to steal his sheep. Or Paul puts this away after the glorious promise of the golden chain of salvation found in Romans 8:30 he then beings by speaking of the assurance we find in this unbreakable chain. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? … For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:31, 38–39). Paul answers his own question, who can be against us, nothing and no one?
Paul even at the end of his life explains this truth, not only of the promise being made but also the promise being kept, because God has the power to be able to keep his promise. Paul writes as he mentions all who have abandoned him and left him in his hour of need he explains that the Lord has not left him, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18). We can have this assurance against not because we have anything to boast in ourselves, but the promise is made by God and the promise is kept by God. As John Calvin put it, “Let us not seek any other ground of assurance than God’s own testimony.” As God spoke the beginning and what he spoke came into being so it is with his promises throughout the scriptures, he speaks and it is done.
III. The purpose of being kept
You keep something for a reason, now some people don’t have very good reasons to keep things. However, you keep something to use that something or that it has some form of value to you. So why are we being kept? We are being kept for s purpose, for Christ to present us blameless before the presence of his glory. Now when we think of those stained garments mentioned in verse 23. It is hard to imagine when we think about being presented as blameless. His words here are to speak of purity, without any blemish. Now having young kids in our house our clothes are covered in stains that no matter how hard you scrub will never come out, no matter the empty promises made by the laundry detergent commercials. However, we presented blamelessly. Now, if we are honest with ourselves, we realize what a feat that actually is. The dark sin-stained hearts which have beaten from inside our mother’s womb, guilty of sin and lawlessness. Rebelling against our maker and Lord. Yet when the last day comes we stand not in sin-stained garments but pure white robes. Isaiah cried out woe is me. But when we are presented before his glory we will not cry out woe is me, we will cry out, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Revelation 4:8).
We see this is not a new plan but this is what God had planned from before the foundation of the world, as Paul beings in his letter to the Ephesians, “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” (Ephesians 1:4). We see that before God laid the foundation, he had made his promise to those whom he had chosen. But also we see he did just that, Paul writes in Colossians 1:22, “he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him” We find that we are presented blameless because of Christ’s reconciliation. Or again as Paul later explains in Ephesians chapter 5:25-27, “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25–27). We then see that he does this for his glory. As we will see next week, as David Helm puts it verse 24 is what God has done for us, and verse 25 is how we respond to what God has done for us.
You see why Jude did not focus on the Common Salvation, to begin with, the church needed to hear how there is no promise to be kept when you deny God’s grace, there is no power to be kept under a Christless gospel, and there is no purpose when all you do is focus on pleasure today. As the famous hymn tells us respectively, there is nothing by the Blood of Jesus. This is the Him who Jude speaks about who keeps up and presents us with great Joy.
What can wash away my sin??
What can make me whole again
For my cleansing this I see—
For my pardon this my plea—
Nothing can my sin erase
Naught of works, ’tis all of grace—
This is all my hope and peace—
This is all my righteousness—
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.