Last week we began a study in the Epistle of Jude. Jude exhibits the standard first-century letter format. The author mentions himself and his recipients in the greeting, has a main body of exhortation or argument, and ends with a doxological song of praise.
We looked last week at who this Jude was that wrote this book. I said that I believe this was Jude, the Lord’s half brother. The Scriptures tells us that Jude did not come to faith in Yeshua, his brother, until after the resurrection. Even though he grew up with Yeshua in the same home, he never believed in His claims to be Messiah until after the resurrection. Notice what Mark tells us about Yeshua’s brothers:
And He came home, and the multitude gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. 21 And when His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, "He has lost His senses." Mark 3:20-21 NASB
"His own people"—there are arguments about whether this meant family or friends; the Greek word goes either way. The word translated "people" really means: "relatives" — literally, "those from beside Him." We learn from the latter part of the chapter that it is actually His mother and His brothers.
Notice what they thought of Yeshua, "He has lost His senses"—this is a mild translation. In the Greek it means: "to be bewitched, or amazed to the point of being irrational, besides self, incapable of caring for self." We could translate it: "He has lost His mind; He has gone crazy; He's had a breakdown; He's not right anymore." It is contrasted in 2 Corinthians 5:13 with a sound mind, so this would mean to be unsound mentally.
So the earthly family of Christ, including Jude, concluded that He was not of a sound mind, that he was not able to care for Himself. He wasn't even following the traditions of the elders. He had become a fanatic. He was suffering from delusions of grandeur. So, the only thing left to do was to go and bring Him back home, where He would be out of the public eye and try to get Him some help.
John tells us why they thought Yeshua was crazy:
Therefore His brothers said to Him, "Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. 4 "For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world." 5 For not even His brothers were believing in Him. John 7:3-5 NASB
They did not believe in Him so they thought the things He was doing were crazy. That all changed after the resurrection, when their brother who was crucified and buried came back to life. Notice what Luke tells us in Acts:
When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. 14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Yeshua, and with His brothers. Acts 1:13-14 NASB
While Yeshua’s family was originally skeptical of Him, His death and resurrection convinced them. Can you imagine what Jude must have thought when he first came to faith in Christ, his earthly half brothe?. To realize that the older brother you had grown up around was actually the God Who created the universe and all it contains...can you even imagine?
So Jude, who was the half brother of Yeshua, has now become the bond servant of Yeshua. Whatever earthly relationship he had prior to coming to faith in the Messiah became utterly meaningless the moment he was born again. Yeshua his brother was now his Lord.
I said last week that some deny that the Jude who wrote this was Yeshua’s brother because they say that the apostles were the source for the content in all New Testament books. In last weeks question and answer I realized that this may have come across as if this was my position. I assure you it is not. Sorry for the confusion. Let me remind you that I don’t believe that the Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John or 1, 2, and 3 John, or Revelation. So I don’t believe that all the New Testament was written by apostles. But I do believe it was all inspired by Yahweh.
Jude’s purpose in writing was to warn the Church of apostates who had arrived in the Church. In this Epistle Jude insults his opponents 25 times in 25 verses. He wasn’t worried about being politically correct. Jude acts as a prosecuting attorney determined to convict the accused, whose unholy behavior demanded punishment
I said last week that the structure of the letter is poetic. Jude writes using triads (thoughts expressed in threes) throughout his letter, for a total of 14 triads in just 25 verses. We see his first triad in the end of verse 1 where Jude addresses his audience. Jude is writing to:
Jude, a bond-servant of Yeshua the Christ, and brother of James, To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Yeshua the Christ: Jude 1:1 NASB
Jude says that his audience is: called, beloved by the Father, and kept for Yeshua. So in his first triad Jude references the different roles of the Three Persons of the Godhead concerning our salvation. This was true of Jude’s audience, and it is true of all believers today. All believers are called, beloved by the Father, and kept by Yeshua.
The New International Version has: “kept by Jesus Christ” and a footnote, stating that the word “by” from “kept by Christ” is not in the original text, and that this could be read as either “kept by Christ” or “kept in Christ” or “kept for Christ.” Any one of these statements could be justified.
So Jude writes, “To those who are the called”—called is from the Greek word kletos, which is a verbal adjective from kaleo (to call). This "verbal adjective" is sometimes used as a verb and sometimes used as a noun referring to believers. Every time this term is used in the Epistles and Revelation, it means the same as “chosen.” It's a synonym for chosen and it is the main word in this sentence. It is at the end of the sentence in the Greek. The other perfect passive participles are in apposition or explanation of this main one. Because we are the called, we are beloved in God the Father and kept by Yeshua the Christ. That's the way you would understand the grammar here. Or you could read it this way, "We are beloved in God the Father and kept by Yeshua the Christ since we are the called." It is this calling that sets us apart and makes us both loved and kept.
Now this idea of being called is found over and over in the New Testament:
among whom you also are the called of Yeshua the Christ; 7 to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Christ. Romans 1:6-7 NASB
Here Paul tells his readers that they are the called and called as saints. Notice that he also says, as does Jude, that they are beloved. This language is familiar to any reader of the New Testament.
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Yeshua, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Yeshua the Christ, their Lord and ours: 1 Corinthians 1:2 NASB
We could translate this: "called to belong to Yeshua the Christ." We belong to Yeshua because we have been called. Look at verse 24:
but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 NASB
Believers, we are the called. This is not an external call, but an internal call. This is not just an invitation extended to them on the outside, this is a moving of Yahweh on the inside. This is the work of the Holy Spirit on what the Bible calls "the elect." This is the saving call, and it cannot be resisted, all who are called come to Christ.
To help us understand what Jude means by “called” let us look at the hermeneutical principle of the “Analogy of faith” or Scripture interprets Scripture. The best place I know of to get a good understanding of what “called” means is in Paul’s words to the Romans:
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:29-30 NASB
These verses are often called the "Golden Chain of Salvation," or the "Ordo Salutis." Ordo Salutis is Latin for "the order of salvation," which deals with the logical sequence of steps or stages involved in the salvation of a believer, and, more importantly, it has to do with who made the first move in our salvation. The wide spectrum of modern Christianity insists that any and every saved person had to make that first move: He needed to reach out in faith to God. But that is NOT what the Bible teaches.
This “order of salvation” starts with foreknowledge. Some understand "foreknowledge" as God looking into the future and choosing those whom He foresaw would believe. Are they saying that God gained knowledge by observation? If so, then there was a time when He didn't have all knowledge, and thus He's not an omniscient God after all.
Notice that it is not WHAT He foreknew, but WHOM He foreknew. The word "foreknew" is from the Greek word proginosko. The background of the term must be located in the Hebrew Scriptures, where for God "to know" refers not to simple knowledge, but to covenantal love:
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5 NASB
This text is not saying that God foresaw that Jeremiah would be a prophet, but that God chose him to be a prophet before he was born.
In Amos 3:2 Yahweh says to Israel:
Only you I have known of all families of the land, Therefore I charge on you all your iniquities. Amos 3:2 YLT
"Only you have I known of all families of the land." Does that mean that God had no knowledge of Cananites or Egyptians or Assyrians? NO! It meant that He had a special love relationship with Israel. Israel was His chosen nation. The term "foreknew" must have a limited meaning, for if it simply means: "to know ahead of time," then in the context of Romans 8, everyone will be glorified, because all whom God foreknew He glorified; the chain is unbroken.
To foreknow a person is to enter into intimate relationship with them, and choose them. Foreknowledge or knowledge is a Hebraic term, which has to do with intimacy:
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish. Psalms 1:6 NASB
Didn't Yahweh know the way of the wicked also? Yes, He did, but here "knows" has the idea of loves. This is a Hebrew parallelism, Yahweh loves the righteous, but the wicked will perish:
"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' Matthew 7:23 NASB
Yahweh knows everything, He is omniscient! Here it is saying, I never loved you.
In this unbroken chain of salvation, all whom Yahweh "loved before hand" (foreknew) He justified and glorified. Now, we know that everybody is not going to be justified, so this must mean that Yahweh does not love everybody, which is a truth taught in the Scriptures.
So our salvation begins in eternity past with God choosing to love certain individuals. Then we see that all whom God loved He:
Predestined—the Greek word translated predestine is proorizo; it is the word from which we get our English word horizon. This Greek word could be literally translated: "pre-horizon." The horizon is the great boundary between the earth and the sky, and the Greek word horizo means: “to establish boundaries. And to set the boundaries, to draw the lines, to establish the limits, is to determine what will be.” And to do that ahead of time, in eternity past, is predestination.
The predestination in Romans 8:29 means that in eternity past, Yahweh drew some lines. He established a horizon around each person He had foreknown—a set boundary marking him off—a circle of destiny. What predestined means in its most elementary form is that our final destination, heaven or damnation, is decided by God, not only before we get there, but before we are born.
The Scriptures also call this "Election." It is the idea of Yahweh choosing whom He loves. Choosing them to be part of His family. Choosing them to be in His presence. The Gospel is the Good News, not of man's act of choosing Christ, but of God's act of choosing man. Election is an idea seen throughout Scripture:
But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 NASB
They were "beloved by the Lord" and "chosen...for salvation."
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Yeshua Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, Ephesians 1:4-5 NASB
Notice again when this choosing took place: "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world."
who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Yeshua from all eternity, 2 Timothy 1:9 NASB
Why did God choose certain people? Because of "His own purpose." We also see in this verse that God's foreknowing and election took place in eternity past, before the foundation of the world.
According to Romans 8:29, what did Yahweh predestine us for?:
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; Romans 8:29 NASB
The word "conformed" is the Greek word summorphos, which comes from morphe, meaning: "the essential character of something, the essential form which never alters." The word Paul uses here is not morphe, but summorphos, which means: "jointly formed." The prefix "sun" (soon) denotes: "union; with or together." This "sun" prefix tells us that this is a positional association. God predestined those He loved to share Christ's righteousness. This is corporate transformation.
Yeshua is called "the firstborn of many brothers." The firstborn was the redeemer in the Jewish economy. So the term "firstborn of many brethren" has a distinctively redemptive content. It speaks of Christ as the Redeemer of His people and the restorer of all that had been lost through the disobedience of Adam.
So far we have seen foreknowledge and predestination. Please understand that both of these happened before time. It was in eternity past that Yahweh loved and chose. Then in time we were born into the world. And when we were born, we were born into a Calling:
and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Romans 8:30 NASB
This is the call that Jude speaks of in verse 1. This calling is an effectual calling, Yahweh calling dead men to life. This is regeneration, or a spiritual resurrection:
even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), Ephesians 2:5 NASB
Fallen man, in his natural state, lacks all power to commune with Yahweh, because man is spiritually dead. Apart from God giving life, man cannot even understand God. This little-understood truth is also taught in:
"For so the Lord has commanded us, 'I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.'" When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. Acts 13:47-48 NASB
This is virtually identical to what Paul says in Romans 8:30: "Those whom he predestined He also called," means the same as: "As many as were (fore-)ordained to eternal life believed." Please notice that Paul's doctrine of predestination did not deter him at all from his missionary labor:
But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him; 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?" 39 For this cause they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, John 12:37-39 NASB
They did not believe, because they could not believe. Paul teaches this same thing in:
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 1 Corinthians 2:14 NASB
Notice carefully what this verse says. Natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God—the Gospel. Who is the natural man? The word "natural" comes from the Greek word psuchikos, the natural man is the man without the spirit of God.
God's effectual calling—regeneration, is absolutely necessary, because apart from it, man has no ability to understand or desire the things of God. Hodge says that regeneration is: "The instantaneous change from spiritual death to spiritual life. Regeneration, therefore, is a spiritual resurrection, the beginning of a new life." Thiesseen says: "Regeneration may be defined as the communication of divine life to the soul, as the impartation of a new nature, or heart and the production of a new creation."
There are many different views of regeneration within the Church. The Pelagian view says that regeneration is a moral transformation, a work of man. Most liberals today hold this view. It was condemned by the Church in 431 at the Counsel of Ephesus. Practically, the Pelagian says, "I can save myself by my works." Adam was the first Pelagian; he tried to cover his sin with fig leaves. Yahweh killed animals and clothed Adam and Eve with the skins to picture Christ's righteousness.
The Catholic view says that regeneration is accomplished by baptism, so it is a work of man through a divine ordinance. The Church of Christ also holds the view of baptismal regeneration. The Arminian view is called "semi-pelagianism": Regeneration is not exclusively God's or man's work—it is the fruit of man's choice to cooperate with the divine influences. They teach that the work of man, a decision to trust Christ, is prior to the work of God. This view is held by most evangelicals. They believe it was necessary for them, in an act of their own will, to cooperate with the grace found in the preaching of the Word.
Then there is the position that we hold here at Berean Bible Church, called the "Reformed View," which teaches that "regeneration is of the Lord"; God made us alive who were dead; God made us willing when we were unwilling. Salvation from beginning to end is a work of Yahweh, according to the Reformed View.
This is not something taught by an isolated movement. Unconditional election is taught in some of the greatest of the Christian creeds. The Westminster Confession of Faith, the thirty-nine articles of the Anglican Church, the canons of the Synod of Dordt, the Belgic confession, the Heidelberg Catechism; these are standard confessional documents that the great mass of the orthodox have affirmed in their faith, and they teach the sovereignty of God in salvation.
We were all born in a state of death. Then at some point in our lives Yahweh called us. This is an effectual call, it is a call from death to life. This effectual call, regeneration, is by grace without means. In a supernatural act, Yahweh gives a person a new heart, and he is spiritually alive. Man is passive in the new birth; he does no more to produce his own birth than Lazarus did to produce his resurrection.
This calling of God, this spiritual birth, is effected without means. Most people think that the means of regeneration is the Word of God, or faith. But regeneration is a direct act of God upon the spirit of a man. Truth cannot be the means of regeneration, because before a man is regenerated, he is blind and cannot see the truth; deaf and cannot hear the truth; dead and cannot respond to the truth. Truth cannot be the means of the new birth when the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit as 1 Corinthians 2:14 teaches. The increase of light will not enable a blind man to see; the disease of the eye must first be cured. So must a man be regenerated by the Spirit before he can receive the truth. It is solely a work of the Spirit, and that's why we pray for the lost.
When Yahweh calls, we come! The call of God is irresistible:
"No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:44 NASB
We see here again the idea that no one can come to Christ unless God first calls that person to spiritual life. The Greek word for "draw" is helkuo. Strong says it means: "to drag." Kittle says it means: "to compel by irresistible superiority":
"All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. John 6:37 NASB
All those that the Father gives to Christ, come to Christ.
Too many think of salvation as that which begins with man's quest for God. They have no conception of a sovereign God giving life to a spiritually dead soul. In a word, they exhibit little or no grasp of a biblical order of salvation. The emphasis in Scripture is not on what man does to appropriate the grace of God, but on what God does in applying it.
So we have foreknowledge, predestination, calling. What’s next?
and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Romans 8:30 NASB
“And whom He called, these He also justified”—when we believe in Christ, we are justified. The Scriptures are clear that faith in Yeshua the Christ is the instrumental pre-condition of justification. For example:
nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Yeshua, even we have believed in Christ Yeshua, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified. Galatians 2:16 NASB
It would surely seem impossible to avoid the conclusion that salvation and justification are upon the event of faith, or through the instrumentality of faith. God justifies the ungodly who believe in Yeshua; in a word, believers.
The logical sequence is that faith precedes justification. Many Scriptures state that faith is the response of our heart and mind to the divine call to believe in Christ (Acts 16:31; 1 Cor. 1:9). Therefore, faith should be positioned in the broad outline between calling and justification.
We now have this order: foreknowledge, election, calling, justification, and finally,
glorification. Roman 8:30 teaches that glorification is the last act in the application of salvation. Paul uses the past tense of glorified. But the transition saints were not yet glorified. So why does he use the past tense? Bruce suggested that perhaps Paul was imitating the Hebrew prophetic past tense in which a future event is spoken of as past because of the certainty of its coming. So certain and so effective was the redemptive action of Yeshua the Christ, that God views glorification as final.
So what is glorification? It is the culmination of Christ's redemptive work whereby all for whom He died are fitted for eternity to live in the presence of Yahweh:
When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Colossians 3:4 NASB
Believers, Christ has been revealed, and we have been glorified! Being "glorified" is essentially being delivered from the damage inflicted by sin, and being restored to the perfection of Adam's pre-fallen condition in the presence of Yahweh. So we see that ALL who are called are justified and glorified.
Let me ask a couple of questions to those Preterists who think that election was something that ended in A.D. 70. Here’s my questions: Why did God in times past need to draw dead men to Himself, but now He doesn't? What changed in unregenerate man since A.D. 70? Are men no longer born spiritually dead after A.D. 70? And if they are not, what is man’s condition? Are men no longer born in sin and separated from God? If they are not, then they don't need a Savior. Where in Scripture does it state or imply that man, apart from Christ, is no longer dead in sin after A.D. 70? According to Revelation there are unbelievers outside the city:
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. Revelation 22:14-15 NASB
So in the Kingdom, after A.D. 70, there are those in the city, the saved; and those outside the city, the unsaved. How do the unsaved become saved after A.D. 70? The same way they did before A.D. 70; the sovereign God calls them and gives them life.
Let’s quickly look at Jude’s second point in the triad.
“Beloved in God the Father”—he calls the called, “beloved.” As we have already seen, this is the ground of the calling. And he puts it in such a tense that the indication is that, at the time when he writes this, Jude regards these individuals who have been loved as still being loved, so he calls them, “Beloved in God the Father.” They have been loved by God and loved into union with God the Father. This is the ground of the calling. When we talk about God’s love, we are not talking about the general love of benevolence which may be expressed to all men, but we’re talking about the special divine love that is reserved for God’s elect. As you read the Bible, you cannot help but make that distinction. Those who are the elect are chosen because they are loved with a special love.
So those to whom Jude writes are called, “loved and kept.” And so is every believer. Yahweh loved us so He called us and keeps us. Nothing will ever separate the called from Yahweh. We’ll look at the third point in this triad next week.
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