We are studying the book of Yehudah, or as the translators have it Jude. Jude and Judas are from the same Greek word but they wanted to distance this letter from the traitor Judas so they called it Jude. Jude is one of the letters that comprise what is called the Jewish Epistles along with Hebrews, James, and 1 & 2 Peter. Jude’s letter shares a feature common to all the Jewish epistles: he borrows liberally from Jewish history and writings.
Jude was a half-brother of Yeshua, and a full brother of James, the author of the letter by that name and a prominent leader of the Jerusalem church. Tradition tells us that because of his relationship to Yeshua, Jude’s sons and grandsons, were considered descendants of the House of David and a threat to Roman rule. When the Roman Emperor Domitian heard they were proclaiming a new kingdom, he arrested them. He suspected they were trying to re-establish a Jewish Kingdom in place of Roman rule. Greek historians record that the Jude’s grandsons defended themselves by showing the Caesar their rough hands from a life of farming which proved they were merely working peasants, not nobility seeking a kingdom in this world.
Jude’s purpose in writing was to warn the church against overlooking false teachers who had infiltrated it. They were people who perverted grace. These false teachers were turning the grace of God into an excuse for flagrant immorality (verse 4).
Jude writes using triads throughout his letter. We see his first triad in the end of verse 1 where Jude addresses his audience:
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. Last week we looked at the first two and saw that believers are: called and beloved by the Father. Called is a synonym for chosen. 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. The reason we are called is because we are loved by the Father.
We spent our time last week talking about the called or chosen. This is an issue that the church is divided on and an issue that is very important for us to understand. If you understand that you are a Christian only because Yahweh called you then you will understand that your salvation is secure, it is eternal. And that is what Jude tells us in the last point of his first triad.
“And kept for Yeshua the Christ” – the NASB says, "For," It could also be translated "by" or “in” it's a dative in the original language, could be read as either “kept by Christ” or “kept in Christ” or “kept for Christ.” Any one of these statements could be justified.
The word “Kept” is from the word tereo. Tereo speaks of guarding something which is in one’s possession. It means to watch as one would some precious thing. The idea is to observe attentively and to retain in custody. Jude's readers are kept safe, guarded, watched over. The perfect tense indicates they have been and are in the present state of being watched, being kept safe from harm, being preserved. All believers are kept by Yeshua. We see Yeshua talking about this security in:
"All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. John 6:37 NASB
We see here the idea of calling and election, the ones given to Christ by the Father come to Christ. And all who come are kept.
"This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. John 6:39 NASB
The Father’s will is that all the ones that he has given to Christ will stay with Christ and will be resurrected.
"For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day." John 6:40 NASB
Everyone who believes in the Son has eternal life and gets resurrected. They would be resurrected on the last day, the end of the old covenant at the return of Christ. We are raised up when we trust in Christ.
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. John 10:27-28 NASB
Who are His sheep? It is those who he calls. He give those he calls eternal life and they will never perish. No one can remove them from the Father’s hand, that’s security.
Through the years the subject of eternal security has been hotly debated in theology. There have always been those who have affirmed that you can lose your salvation. The "Five Points of Calvinism" are simply the Calvinistic answer to a five point manifest put out by certain Belgic semi-Pelagins in the early seventeenth century. We know this semi-Pelagin manifest as Arminianism; its fifth point states: "It rests with believers to keep themselves in a state of grace by keeping up their faith: those who fail here fall away and are lost."
As Christians, do we all live on the brink of damnation? Is our salvation conditional on our ability to maintain it? Talk about depression! I mean, people get depressed for a lot of things far less significant than this. I could understand depression, and I could understand taking massive amounts of Prozac or Abilify if you believe you can lose your salvation. To believe that would be to constantly live in mortal fear.
The Synod of Dort was convened in 1618 to pronounce on this theology and the five points of Calvinism represent its counter affirmations. The Calvinistic fifth point states: "Believers are kept in faith and grace by the unconquerable power of God till they come to glory."
The doctrine that says you can lose your salvation puts conditions of maintenance on salvation. In other words, God has saved us, but we must continue to match up with the standard in order to hold on to salvation. If we fail, we lose our salvation.
The majority of church goers do not understand that our salvation is not based upon what we do but upon what Christ did. They think that their relationship with God is based upon their performance. They think that as long as they live "right" that God will not condemn them. This is a "works" system. To attempt to live the Christian life by works is to live under constant guilt and condemnation. But to understand that salvation is by grace through faith, and that we are absolutely secure because of Christ's work will bring great peace to your soul. Security is vital to peace.
We must understand that our salvation is based upon the act of One person - Yeshua the Christ. Please get that! The security of our salvation is not based upon our acts. Just as we were all condemned by Adam's act, so also we are made righteous by Christ's act.
For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19 NASB
We were all condemned through no fault of our own individually, we are also justified through Christ through no merit of our own. Understanding our condemnation in Adam helps us to see that our salvation is not based upon our works but upon Christ's finished work. Our salvation is secure because it is based upon what Christ did for us, not on what we do for ourselves.
Can you imagine the emotional state of a child who does not know from day to day whether or not he is a member of the family? Today, since he was a good boy, he is considered a member. But tomorrow, if he misbehaves, he may no longer be a member. Today he is loved by his father. Tomorrow he may not be. This child would be a neurotic mess! You are a part of your family, regardless of your behavior. So it is in the family of God, too. If you belong to Christ, you are part of the family, and can enjoy the emotional security our Heavenly Father wants us to experience.
When they built the first section of the Golden Gate bridge, there was no safety net to protect the workers. Twenty-three workers fell to their deaths in the perilous waters far below the bridge. The city of San Francisco decided to spend an enormous sum to put a safety net under the next section, but once the safety net was in place, only a handful of workers ever needed it. The work went faster, and the workers could concentrate on their jobs without worrying about the danger of death.
To be a productive Christian, you need to know that your future is secure. That's why understanding our eternal security is so important. It allows our fears to be dealt with, gives us confidence for the task at hand, and offers the emotional stability that we need. If you understand what the Bible has to say about God's security, you would see that the God who saved you, keeps you.
Let’s look at just a few of the many verses that speak about the security of our salvation:
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Yeshua. Romans 8:1 NASB
"Therefore" – this always links us to what has already gone before us. I think this carries us back to the Adam/Christ contrast of 5:12-21, because the condemnation that was imposed there is done away with here.
"Now no condemnation" – reading this in the original text the emphasis rests upon the word "no." "There is now therefore no condemnation," that's the emphatic word in the Greek text.
The Greek word that Paul uses here for "condemnation" is katakrima (krima is the normal word for condemnation). Katakrima is only used three times in Scripture, all of them by Paul in Romans. Paul uses katakrima twice in Romans 5:
The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. Romans 5:16 NASB
We see here that Adam's sin resulted in judgment, which is the Greek word krima, a sentence, or a decision on the part of a judge. This sentence from the judge resulted in condemnation, katakrima. Katakrima is defined by Suttor in his Lexicon as the punishment following the sentence. It is in a passive formation in the Greek and it is not likely to refer to the sentence as an edict from the judge, but rather to the punishment. Adam's sin is imputed to all, this is condemnation, which is spiritual death, separation from God.
So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. Romans 5:18 NASB
Again, in this verse we see the same idea. Adam's transgression resulted in condemnation, katakrima, or spiritual death, to all men. When Adam sinned, he sinned as our federal head or representative. Adam's sin is imputed to the account of every individual in Adam's race. Everyone is born spiritually dead, separated from God because of Adam's sin. His act was a representative act, and you and I, as being represented by our federal head, participated in Adam's sin.
Romans 5:12-21, is a comparison of two men, Adam and Christ. The comparison is very simple. There are two men, who each performed a single act that brought forth a single result, and the result is experienced by every member in their respective races. In Adam there was nothing but death and hopelessness; but in Christ there is life for He has brought His people out from under the rule and authority of the sin and the death.
There will never be, in the life of any believer, spiritual death. There will be chastening and discipline in this life, but there will never be any separation from God. We are secure in His love.
Who are those who can lay claim to "no condemnation"? There are parameters to that claim. This promise is only "to those who are in Christ Yeshua"—only those "who are in Christ Yeshua have life." Some are in Him and some are not. Paul assumes this everywhere in his writings. There are those "in Christ" and there are those "outside." Paul is not a universalist. He says explicitly in Romans 9:3, that there are those who are "accursed, separated from Christ."
If you are in Christ, what happened to Him, happened to you. Union with Adam, the first man, led to our condemnation/death. Union with Yeshua the Christ, the Second Adam, secured our righteousness/life. And this idea of our union with Him, who is our representative, is really the heart of the Pauline theology.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Yeshua has set you free from the law of the sin and of the death. Romans 8:2 NASB
Paul says, "For," which is gar in the Greek, he's giving the reason why there is no condemnation.
"The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Yeshua—this is Torah of the Spirit. This introduces us to a new facet of Torah, this is New Covenant Torah.
Paul says that the Torah of the Spirit "has set you free"—he is talking of setting slaves free is exodus language. Those in Christ are brought out of the Egypt of sin and death and made citizens in the kingdom of God. Paul puts this in the past tense. He uses the aorist verb "set you free," which declares something that has already happened by the Spirit's application of our union with Christ.
Those who have trusted Christ are free from the Law of the sin and of the death. They are no longer in the body of Adam/Moses, but are in the body of Christ, and are the eschatological bride who is under the Law of her new husband.
so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:4 NASB
"So that"—is hina and expresses the divine purpose, which is, "the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us"—the righteous requirements of the Torah are fulfilled in us – believers. Paul is repeating what he has said in Rom 6:7: "Those who have died with Christ are freed from Sin. There is no charge that can be made against the new relationship.
Now let’s drop down to the end of chapter 8. The theme of verses 31-39 is the love of Yahweh for His people. In this text Paul uses seven rhetorical questions. Why seven? In Scripture, seven represents qualitative fullness, completeness, totality:
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? Romans 8:31 NASB
What are the "these things?" - I think Paul is talking about all he has said in Romans 5-8.
Paul's question, "If God is for us, who is against us?"expects a negative answer, "No one." When Paul says "if" God be for us, he's not saying maybe He is, and maybe He isn't. In the original text, this is a first class condition. It can be translated "Since God is for us," or "Because God is for us." There is no truth more fundamental in all of God's Word than this truth. "God is for us." Because of Yeshua the Christ, once and for all the question is settled. "God is for us." All that God is, all that God has, and all that God does, He does on behalf of His people.
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Romans 8:32 NASB
This is a typical Hebrew argument, arguing from the greater to the lesser. If God did the greater thing; that is, delivering up His own Son to death; will He not do the lesser, that is, giving them what they need to be sustained in their salvation?
Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; Romans 8:33 NASB
To "bring a charge" is literally the idea of: "to speak out to." It was used as a judicial term in the ancient world to imply a legal accusation. So here's the point: Above God, there are no higher courts. If God is the One who acquits you—declares you righteous in His sight—no one can appeal, no one can call for a mistrial, no one can look for other counts against you. God's sentence is final and total:
who is the one who condemns? Christ Yeshua is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Romans 8:34 NASB
God alone condemns, and God alone justifies. And if God has covered us with the righteousness of Christ; if God has granted to us His own righteousness, not ours; then no accusation can stand against us or one would have to find an accusation that could stand against God or against Christ with whose righteousness we have been covered.
Verses 35-39 move away for the law court language and employ the relational language of love:
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35 NASB
The answer expected is: Nothing! The genitive Christos is subjective, denoting Christ's love for believers. Here Paul lists "Seven afflictions" that represent many of the problems Paul encountered in his apostolic ministry. Apart from the sword, which he later faced, Paul had already experienced each of these afflictions.
Verse 36 is even stronger:
Just as it is written, "FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED." Romans 8:36 NASB
Here he quotes Psalm 44 as evidence that the suffering and trials of this present faith in Christ were nothing new. Believers in previous centuries faced the same issues.
Trouble can take many things away from the people of God. It can take our happiness away, it can take our prosperity away, trouble can take our health away, it can take our friends away, but there's one thing that trouble cannot take away from us. Trouble cannot take away the love of God, which is in Christ:
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 NASB
"We overwhelmingly conquer"– is one word in the Greek, it is hupernikao, which means: "to vanquish beyond, that is, gain a decisive victory, to be more than conquer." The word nikae is the word for: "conquer." We are more than winners. We are more than conquerors. We are huper: "super conquerors, sweeping victory, overwhelming victory."
Paul wanted these transition saints to understand that their glorification was not founded on their goodness; it was founded on God's election. It was not founded on their wisdom; it was founded on God's call. It was not founded on their personal submission; it was founded on God's justification. It was not founded on their perseverance; it was founded upon the power of God to keep them, and what holds that altogether is undying covenant love.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Yeshua our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 NASB
Paul says, "I am convinced"—the word means: "to be fully and absolutely persuaded on the basis of evidence that cannot be denied." He uses a perfect passive indicative verb. The perfect tense means something like: "I was persuaded in the past, and I am fully persuaded in the present," "I used to believe this, and I still believe it today."
The passive voice here is important. Had Paul inferred that his confidence rested on his experience or his response to God, then he would have used the active voice; that is, demonstrating that it was what he had personally done that brought him assurance. Then we would be forced to compare our experience with Paul's as the standard for assurance. But he used the passive voice, which means that he had nothing to do with the action, but rather he was acted upon. His confidence rested in the work of Another and not his own.
The word "separate" means: "to violently tear from, to completely divide." Paul says that nothing that can happen to us can finally and completely separate us from the love of God. So what he's saying is that there's no state of being in which you could ever be separated from the love of God, which is in Christ Yeshua.
I've heard people say, "But what if I want to separate myself from God's love? What if I take myself out of God's love? What if I decide to separate myself? What if I decide I don't want to be saved any longer? Can I take myself away from God's love?" Look at the text. It says, "Nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Yeshua our Lord." "Any other created thing." Are you a created being of God? The answer is, "Yes." Then you can't even separate yourself from God's love. Why? Because those whom God loves, he loves forever. Those whom God saves, he saves forever. Those whom God justifies, he justifies forever. If you by faith have come to Yeshua Christ for salvation, He will never cast you out (John 6:37), and He will never allow you to cast yourself out.
This chapter started out with "no condemnation" and it ends with "no separation." This is security, absolute security! If you are in union with Christ by faith, then these promises belong to you; you will never be eternally condemned, you will never be separated from God's eternal covenantal love. Glory in this! Apply this! Enjoy this! Sing about this! Rejoice in this!
But what about the verses that seem to teach that a believer can loose his salvation? Well we must start with the herminutical principle of the Analogy of Faith or Scripture Interprets Scripture. The Scriptures don’t teach that the believer is eternally secure and also teach that you can loose your salvation. So we must compare Scripture with Scripture to get to what it is that the Scriptures teach. The number of Scriptures that teach that a believer is eternally secure is overwhelming. But there are some verses that seem to teach differently. Where is the first place someone would go to teach that you could loose your salvation? How about Hebrews 6.
For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. Hebrews 6:4-6 NASB
Those who believe that it is possible for a Christian to lose his salvation and be lost eternally, have confidently appealed to these verses for proof of their theory. But we have seen that Scripture teaches most emphatically and unequivocally the Divine preservation of the saints. And the Word of God does not and cannot contradict itself.
He says that these people were "once been enlightened" - the Greek word used here is photizo, it means: "to enlighten, illuminate, to give light, to make see." The writer's other use of this verb in 10:32 seems clearly to point to the early days of their conversion experience. It is extremely questionable whether an unsaved man could be said to be "enlightened." There is certainly nothing to suggest that here, except bad theology.
They are also said to have "tasted the heavenly gift" - this is most naturally a reference to the gift of eternal life. They also "have become partakers of the Holy Spirit" - The word "partakers" is the Greek word metochos, which means: "partner or companions." They had become companions of the Holy Spirit. That the writer had in mind a definite, known reception of the Spirit is shown by the use of the aorist participle ginomai - they became partners at a distinct point. Nicole admits, "This expression, perhaps even more than the other, appears to lend support to the view that true Christians are described here."
These Hebrews had also, "tasted the good word of God" - this is the same word, "geuomai" and refers to the believer's experience of appropriating God's Word. What emerges from the list is a series which traces Christian experience up to a certain point. The illumination which results in salvation, which makes possible partnership with the Holy Spirit, under whom we feed on God's Word and taste God's power.
They had also tasted, "the powers of the age to come" - the word "powers" is the Greek word dunamis. This is the New Testament word for "miracles" and is an apparent allusion back to the experience mentioned in Hebrews 2:4. In every way the language fits true Christians with remarkable ease.
and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. Hebrews 6:6 NASB
As most expositors agree, the idea refers to apostasy. The total context of the epistle supports this, with repeated exhortations to hold the confession and hope firmly.
A literal rendering of this verse would be, "For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who....and have fallen away." The word "impossible" in verse 6 is from the Greek word adunatos, which means: "could not do, impossible, impotent, not possible, weak."
The verb is active and not passive so we cannot render it, "it is impossible for them to be renewed." It is improbable that the writer would say that God cannot renew them to repentance. God can do whatever He wishes. The context would suggest either, "it is impossible for us to, or it is impossible for anyone to." The statement may not be absolute in regard to future repentance.
The reason for the impossibility is given at the end of verse 6, "since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame" - those who renounce their Christian faith are, with respect to their own conduct and attitude taking a step that amounts to a fresh public rejection of Christ. By renouncing Christ, they reaffirmed the view of Yeshua' enemies that He deserved to die on the cross. In this sense, they were crucifying the Son of God all over again. This is a serious step and not to be thought of as easily reversible.
Some people will have a hard time believing that a Christian could abandon his faith. But the view that a Christian cannot apostatize is an arbitrary theological conviction, and since it is not supported in the Bible, it ought to be given up.
Is the apostate now damned? They've renounced their faith, what happens to them? He may have lost his faith in Christ, but Christ has not lost him:
If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13 NASB
Do you believe in the GRACE of God? Someone is bound to be thinking, "Well I guess it really doesn't matter what we do then after we're saved, throw away your faith, mock Christianity, and you can still go to heaven. It doesn't really matter what you do." Oh yes it does. The apostate is safe from Yahweh’s eternal judgment, but they're not save from the fire of God's chastisement and discipline, and they live in the shadow of disaster.
For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned. Hebrews 6:7-8 NASB
When we become believers, we are like a plot of ground that belongs to God. God has poured out upon us the blessings of His grace like rain from heaven and has a right to expect that our lives will be fruitful, productive and useful to men. And when they are, He blesses that life; but if after the rain has fallen upon our life, if after we have received the blessings of His matchless grace, we produce briars and thorns - then God rejects that kind of life, it falls under his temporal curse and its destiny is to suffer the fire of discipline and chastisement.
So Jude begins this letter by letting his readers know that their salvation is eternally secure. That's how he begins and look how he ends, verse 24, a final note of encouragement,
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Yeshua Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25 NASB
The bottom line is, he begins by telling us we are the called and we are the loved and we are the kept and he ends by saying God is able to keep us from stumbling and make us to stand in the presence of His glory, blameless with great joy. So front and back, the emphasis is on the security of the believer.
And let me point out one other thing which I think has some significance. These three terms, “called, loved, kept,” are terms that are used in the Tanakh of the nation Israel, all three of them. And they are used specifically in the Tanakh in connection with the Suffering Servant of Yahweh songs in Isaiah 42, 49, 50, 52, 53, these are terms that were used by Yahweh with reference to Israel. And they are carried over into the body of believers in the present day. We are called. We are loved. We are kept for the Lord Yahweh, because the church is the Israel of God.
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