To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
I must admit there is a lot in this short letter that I do not understand! So I’m not going to try to pretend I know everything that’s going on and attempt to explain it to you. If the details of this book interest you, I’d suggest asking Luke for a recommendation of a good commentary or inviting one of our resident Bible college lecturers over for tea and lemon creams! However, all of God’s Word is given to us for our learning, and if we don’t get distracted by the almost bizarre points that Jude raises, I think there is a simple yet profound lesson for us to grasp.
Similarly to John in the two letters before this, Jude wanted to write a letter of encouragement, but instead felt it was necessary to address the issue of false teachers who have slipped into the church unnoticed and have ‘pervert[ed] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and den[ied] Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord’. Obviously, this is a big deal and so Jude wants them to fight for the true Gospel (verses 3–4).
In verses 5–16, Jude describes these false teachers and compares them to a whole range of examples who have rejected God and His way. He also announces the judgement that they are bound to face one day. Then, from verse 17 onwards, Jude transitions away from the condemnation of false teachers to an encouragement of believers.
‘But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.’ (verses 20–21)
At that brings us to the verses quoted at the top of this devotion, the well-known doxology which is used by many churches (including ours) often at the close of the worship service. Perhaps the last time you heard them read at church you zoned out and mumbled an “amen” at the end because you’ve lost (or never fully got) the meaning of these words.
Let’s let the context of this letter shape our understanding of this doxology.
When Satan tries to sneak false teachers into the Church who pervert the grace of God, trying to lead us astray, let us cry out to God and trust in Him to keep us from stumbling. When the temptation to sin and the desire for the ungodly tugs at us, let us rejoice in Him who will present us before God’s glorious presence without fault and with great joy. When the world and even some churches preach a different message that says there are many ways to be saved, let us hold onto the truth that there is only one God our Saviour, and only one way to Him is through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Pray the words of this doxology to God in praise of His glorious grace!
’To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.’