Pastor David B. Curtis

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Eternally Secure

Jude 24-25

Delivered 11/08/15

Today we finish the little Epistle of Jude. This is our 22nd message in this book. I have really enjoyed my time with Jude. As we have said, this Jude is not one of the Twelve, but was, in fact, a child of Joseph and Mary, and therefore, a half-brother of Yeshua.

Jude goes into great detail about apostates and their judgment in the first 16 verses of this letter. Then in verse 17, he says, "But you beloved," remember that the apostles taught that apostates would come. Then he gives the church instruction on how to protect themselves from falling away from the faith. He tells them to Build themselves up on the most holy faith, get into the Word and learn it. Do this while praying in the Holy Spirit, being dependant upon Yahweh to teach and strengthen you. And as they do these things they will keep themselves in the love of God. Meaning they will walk in obedience to the Word on which they are building themselves up.

Then in verses 22 and 23 he tells them to reach out to those who are coming under the influence of apostates, those who are falling away from the faith. We are to seek to turn them back to the faith, snatching them out of the fire. This whole epistle was about apostasy, people who fell away from the faith, and angels who fell. Jude has gone through the history of the Israelites that fell, the Sodomites who fell, the angels that fell, and people that fell victims to the apostate teachers, and then he says, "Go out and reach those people."

If this apostasy is so dangerous and so deadly, if this false teaching is so potentially polluting and harmful, is it possible that we could lose our salvation? That would be a concern, wouldn't it? So in the very next verse he says:

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, Jude 1:24 NASB

When you think of the Doctrines of Scripture, which element of God's saving promise is most encouraging, most satisfying, most attractive, and most comforting to you? To me the greatest Doctrine of Scripture is that of salvation by grace alone. To understand that I don't have to do any work for my salvation, that it is a gift of love from my heavenly Father:

Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, Romans 4:4-5 NASB

And our faith that is credited as righteousness is a gift from God:

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB

What is not of ourselves? What does "that" refer to? Is it the faith that is not of ourselves? The demonstrative pronoun, "that," is neuter in gender and the words "grace and faith" are feminine. And some contend that the neuter pronoun cannot refer to the feminine noun. So they say it can't be referring to faith. But it is wrong to assume that a neuter pronoun can never refer to a feminine noun in Greek. There are illustrations in Classical Greek in which demonstrative pronouns in the neuter gender may refer to feminine antecedents.

Generally, when a neuter pronoun refers to something in the preceding context, if there is not something neuter, specifically, some noun, it usually refers to a statement. That is most likely what we have here. He may be referring to the whole statement: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that by grace through faith salvation is not of yourselves."

To me this gift of by grace through faith salvation is the, most comforting, exciting Doctrine in the Scripture. And tied to this doctrine is another doctrine that thrills and blesses my heart. And that is that my salvation is secure. Just as I did nothing to get my salvation, I can do nothing to keep it. I am eternally secure in His love. If any part of my eternal salvation depends upon my power and ability and commitment and righteousness, I'm damned! Because if I could lose my salvation, I would. And so would you. So I rejoice in the fact that I cannot lose it.

It is very comforting that in a book about apostasy Jude begins and ends the book by talking about the security of the believer. In Jude 1 he says we are, "Kept for Yeshua the Christ" and in verse 24 he says, "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."

So it is clearly God's power which is able to keep us safe and secure in our salvation.

It's interesting how Jude concludes this epistle. We do not have any personal notes from Him, just a doxology, which is unique among the epistles of the New Testament. The word "doxology" comes from two Greek words, doxa, which means: "glory or praise" and legein, which means: "to speak." It means: "to speak of His glory." A doxology is a hymn of praise to Yahweh. Scripture is filled with doxologies.

Did you know that the 150 Psalms are divided into five books, and at the end of each of the five books is a doxology? We have doxologies in 41:13; 72:18 and 19; 89: 52; 106:48 and the entire 150th Psalm is a doxology that closes the book. My favorite doxology is found at the end of Romans 11:

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:33-36 NASB

This doxology is no doubt due to the whole discussion of salvation in chapters 1-11. Yahweh is to be praised for our salvation. And our text for today is a praise to Yahweh for the security of our salvation:

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

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling"—"now" is a conjunction that marks a shift in the letter and introduces the doxology. "Now to Him" is literally, "Now to the One." This refers to Yahweh the Father, the author of the divine plan. In light of the great danger to which Jude's readers are exposed, He deliberately emphasizes that it is God and God alone Who is able to keep them!

The word "Able" is from the Greek dunamai, from which we get our English words like dynamic, dynamo and dynamite. Dunamai conveys the basic meaning of possessing and exerting the inherent ability to do something or to accomplish an end. So dunamai means: "to be able to, to be capable of, to be strong enough to do or to have power to do something." The present tense pictures God's continual inherent, supernatural ability (His omnipotence) to keep us from falling.

The word "Keep" is the Greek phulasso, which means: "to watch, to carry out the function as a military guard or sentinel, to keep one's eye upon that he might remain safe." This is different than the word "keep" used back in verse 21, which means: "to hold or possess." Phulasso is used to describe the shepherds "keeping watch over their flock by night." In Luke it's a military word, "to guard or watch over," different than the word "keep" used back in verse 21, which means: "to hold or possess;"and 2:8, which gives us the image of savage wolves seeking to devour helpless sheep. This picture parallels our Good Shepherd Who Jude reminds us keeps watch over His sheep.

He is able to keep us from "Stumbling"—this is the Greek word aptaistos, which negates, and ptaio, which means: "to stumble, cause to stumble." By putting an "a" in front of ptaio, to make the adjective aptaistos, it negates the action of the verb. This is the only place in the Bible where aptaistos is used. Literally, it means: "not stumbling and so exempt from falling and figuratively in a moral sense free from offense."

ESV Study Bible has a note that says, "By stumbling Jude means: "falling into sin or error." What do you think of that? Is this text saying that God will keep us from sinning? Kistemaker writes, "The text describes believers who are kept by God Himself from stumbling into sin and thus from falling away from Him." Is Jude saying that Yahweh keeps us from falling into sin? Notice what James, Yeshua's brother says:

For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. James 3:2 NASB

James uses the root verb ptaio to explain "we all stumble in many ways." The root word ptaio in James 2:10 refers to stumbling as a description of one who sins. So James says we all stumble, but Jude says He keeps us from stumbling. James uses "stumble" to refer to sin, but Jude uses aptaistos, not to denote freedom from sin, but as exemption from the eternal penalty which sin brings.

Let's look for a moment at the "Doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints." This is one of the five points of Calvinism. The acronym —Tulip—is used for the five points of Calvinism. It stands for: "Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, Perseverance of the saints."

When someone says that they believe in the perseverance of the saints, you have to find out what they mean by that, because this doctrine is interpreted in two different ways:

View 1. A true Christian will never fall away, but will live a life of holiness and obedience. They will always persevere in holiness, they will always live a holy life. This is how many view Jude 24, as Yahweh keeping His saints from sinning.

View 2. The other interpretation, which I hold to is basically that no one whom God has brought to a saving knowledge of Yeshua will ever be lost. When I use the term "Perseverance of the saints," I'm speaking about what most would call "eternal security."

A representative of view 1 is John Piper. Piper says, "Many Christians think that saving faith is only a single act (asking Jesus into your heart)." The Bible says nothing about "asking Yeshua into your heart." It says, "Believe on the Lord Yeshua the Christ." It is believing in Christ that saves us. Piper goes on to say, "Saving faith is not a mere single act of receiving Jesus." Really? The Bible says it is:

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, John 1:12 NASB

This is not saying that as many as keep on receiving Him. The word "received" is the aorist active indicative of lambano. The aorist tense indicates that at some point in the past they received Him. It is a verb that is put in the active voice stressing the activity of God.

Piper goes on to say, "Saving faith is a life of faith…The evidence of authentic saving faith is its pressing on." If this is true, what is your assurance based on your faith or your perseverance? According to him, it is based on your perseverance. How do you know you'll continue? If you stop pressing on does that mean that you were never saved? If so, at what point do you receive eternal life? According to Piper, saving faith is a process, a life long process. If this was true, the reception of eternal life would have to logically be postponed until death, because anything short of dying in faith could end with your turning away and perishing.

Listen carefully, believer, we are saved by the act of faith, not the continuity of our faith. If you're saved by the continuity of faith, then you don't really have everlasting life until you die in faith, and certainly you have no assurance. Listen carefully to what John Piper wrote:

I'll be very personal, to give it its sharpest point. If in the coming years I commit apostasy and fall away from Christ, it will not be because I have not tasted of the Word of God and the Spirit of God and the miracles of God. I have drunk of His word. The Spirit has touched me. I have seen His miracles, and I have been His instrument for a few.

But if, over the next ten or twenty years, John Piper begins to cool off spiritually and lose interest in spiritual things and become more fascinated with making money and writing Christless books; and I buy the lie that a new wife would be exhilarating and that the children can fend for themselves and that the Church of Christ is a drag and that the incarnation is a myth and that there is one life to live so let us eat, drink, and be merry ——if that happens, then know that the truth is this: John Piper was mightily deceived in the first fifty years of his life. His faith was an alien vestige of his father's joy. His fidelity to his wife was a temporary passion and compliance with social pressure; his fatherhood the outworking of natural instincts. His preaching was driven by the love of words and crowds. His writing was a love affair with fame. And his praying was the deepest delusion of all —an attempt to get God to supply the resources of his vanity.

What he is in effect saying is that he has no assurance of eternal life. After 50 years of trusting in Christ, he believes he could quit trusting and end up in Hell. Is he saved by his works or by Christ? The gift of eternal life is indefectible, not the faith that laid hold of it. It is widely held in modern Christendom that the faith of a genuine Christian cannot fail. But is this view biblical?

Does the Bible teach that a true believer will always walk in obedience? Not hardly. If so, why all the exhortations to believers to STOP sinning? The Bible teaches that a Christian can walk in sin and even turn from the faith. The Bible shows us that believers can live in a sinful state:

It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife. 1 Corinthians 5:1 NASB

They were acting worse than unsaved men. Were the Corinthians saved? The Scriptures make it clear that they were:

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
I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Yeshua, 1 Corinthians 1:4 NASB

It should be clear that they were believers, but were they living in obedience? No! So it is possible for someone who is a Christian to live a sinful life. But even if that happens, they are eternally secure. Our sinfulness does not forfeit our salvation. And if you think it does, you do not understand 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.

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. The emphasis in this section is on how one man's act affects all he represents.

The portrayal of Christ as the last Adam, the counterpart of the first Adam, is given to us in:

So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:45 NASB

So, we have two men, Adam and Christ, and all of humanity is represented by one or the other. The acts of the representatives are imputed to all whom they represent.

In Romans 5:12-21, we see that sin is imputed to us through Adam, and that righteousness is imputed to us through Yeshua Christ. The word "impute" means: "to put to somebody's account, to credit someone." God took what we owed Him, an unpayable debt, and put it on Christ's account, and Christ paid it in full. This is imputing, and if we are to understand our salvation and its security, we must understand it.

Do you have to be perfect to go to Heaven? Yes! Any violation of God's Law is sin, and sin, all sin, any sin, separates us from God. This is why Yeshua Christ's righteousness is imputed to us.

The main thought of Romans 5:12-21 is found in verses, 12, 18 and 19. Verse 18 picks up the comparison "as" that was started in verse 12 and completes it, "even so." Just "as" one act of Adam affected every member of the human race, "even so" the one act of Yeshua Christ affects every member of the elect race:

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

First we are reminded of what happened to us in Adam. One sin of Adam resulted in all men being condemned. Paul is saying that because of that one sin of Adam the whole of mankind are "treated" as sinners. That is what he said in verse 12. Then verse 19 goes further than 18, and it says that not only were all "treated" as sinners, but all were "made" or "regarded" as sinners:

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

The Greek word for "made" is kathistemi, it means: "to set down in the rank of, or to place in the category of, to appoint to a particular class." The word "made" is not causative, but declarative. Those in Adam were declared sinners. It is imperative that we understand this: "By one man's disobedience many were regarded as sinners." He doesn't say, "made sinful," but "made sinners." The whole human race has been constituted legally as sinners. That is our judicial standing before God. And it is based entirely and solely on Adam's one act of disobedience.

Because of Adam's one sin, we are all made sinners, this is God's judicial act. He decreed that the whole of humanity should be represented by the first man and should suffer the consequences of that man's actions. We all sinned in Adam and with Adam because he was our Federal head or representative, and therefore, God pronounced all to be sinners.

That is one side, but thank God there is another side to the parallel—"even so." By the righteous act of One Man, the Lord Yeshua Christ, came justification that leads to life:

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

"Even so"—the great truth that we see here is that all we are and have comes out of the obedience of the last Adam—the Lord Yeshua the Christ. Our salvation is based entirely on Him, and from Him, and in Him. As my being a sinner came entirely from Adam, all my righteousness comes entirely from the Lord Yeshua the Christ.

Your assurance of salvation comes not from your feelings, but from your understanding. Look at yourself in Adam; though you had done nothing, you were declared a sinner. Look at yourself in Christ, and you see that though you have done nothing, you are declared to be righteous. That is the parallel. We must get rid of all thoughts of our actions as far as gaining or keeping salvation. We are justified, declared righteous because of the obedience of Yeshua, and Yeshua alone! Yeshua the Christ lived a sinless life in total obedience to the Law of God, and then died a substitutionary death on our behalf:

and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24 NASB

The end of Romans 5:19 says, "even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous"—the people who belong to Christ are "made" righteous. The word "made" is kathistemi, it means: "to set down in the rank of, or to place in the category of, to appoint to a particular class." The word has the same meaning and the same force on both sides of the parallel. We are declared righteous on the grounds of Christ's obedience alone:

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB

Yeshua was regarded and treated as a sinner that we might be regarded and treated as righteous in the sight of God. As a believer, I am righteous, and I will always be righteous because I am in Christ, and Christ never changes, so neither will I.

Are you certain of your salvation? Your salvation and mine depends only, and entirely, and exclusively upon the obedience of Christ.

Back to Jude:

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, Jude 1:24 NASB

"To make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy"—because of your position in Christ, you are able to stand in the presence of the glory of Yahweh with great joy, not fear or shame. This is amazing!

"In the presence of"—is the Greek word katenopion, which is from kata, meaning: "against," and enopios, meaning: "in sight of, before." So it means: "in the very presence of, in the sight of, in front of His glory."

Blameless—is amomos, which is literally: "without spot or blemish, above reproach." It was used to describe the absence of defects in sacrificial animals and figuratively of the Lamb of God as unblemished:

yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— Colossians 1:22 NASB

We are blameless because we are in Christ. Anyone who knows the God of the Bible would think of being in His presence as causing fear and in shame. But by the work of Yeshua the Christ and in the grace of God, we know that we can go to God with joy and with all fear banished because we are righteous in Christ.

to the only God our Savior, through Yeshua the Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 1:25 NASB

"To the only God"—in the Greek the word "God" is a translation of the word "Theos," meaning: "Mighty One." This can refer to any person; man, or deity. The context determines the meaning. Assuming the word always refers to a deity is error since the Greek referred to many with authority as "Theos" (Mighty One).

Theos is used of many different human and spiritual entities and is, therefore, not a good substitute for Yahweh or Yeshua. It is Yahweh, the creator and sustainer of the universe, that we are to give glory to. Theos could mean many different entities, but there is only one Yahweh.

By saying, "the only God," it does not mean that there are no other gods. Paul said:

For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, 1 Corinthians 8:5 NASB

There were many other lesser deities, but they were all created by and were subject to Yahweh. According to Deuteronomy 32:8, Yahweh divided up the nations and put these lesser gods over them. But Yahweh chose Israel as His people.

To say that Yahweh is the only God was an ancient biblical slogan of incomparability of sovereignty, not exclusivity of existence. It was a way of saying that a certain authority was the most powerful compared to all other authorities. It did not mean that there were no other authorities that existed.

"God our Savior"—"Savior" here is soter and refers to the agent of salvation or deliverance, the one who rescues, delivers, saves and preserves. Usually we associate the word "Savior" with Yeshua, but here Jude attaches it to God (The Father). He is not alone in this, for God is often called, "Savior" in the New Testament:

And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. Luke 1:47 NASB
But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us… Titus 3:4-5 NASB

Look with me at an interesting verse in the Tanakh:

"Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation." Isaiah 12:2 NASB

In the Hebrew this says, "El is my Yeshua, I will trust and not be afraid; for the Yah Yahweh is my strength and song, and He has become my Yeshua." So Yahweh is our Yeshua, and our Yeshua is Yahweh.

"Through Yeshua the Christ our Lord"—through (dia) identifies the "conduit" so to speak through which salvation flows from the Father. Yeshua is the intermediary, the Mediator, the Great High Priest. We cannot talk of salvation if we do not talk at the same time of the agency of the Lord Yeshua in that salvation:

Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:23 NASB

There is no salvation apart from Yeshua the Christ.

"Be glory, majesty, dominion and authority"—glory is doxa from the verb dokeo, which means: "to give a proper opinion or estimate of something," and thus the glory of God expresses all that He is in His Being and in His nature, character, power and acts.

"Majesty"—is megalosune, which signifies prominence, importance, preeminence, and dignity. Megalosune signifies that God is greater than all and is used only of God the Father.

"Dominion"—is kratos and denotes the presence and significance of force or strength rather than its exercise.

"Authority"—is exousia and refers to authority and combines the idea of the "right and the might." Exousía is the power to do something and was a technical term used in court where it described a legal right. The idea is that God rules over all creation with no "exception clauses!"

We can give glory, majesty, power, and authority to God only through our Lord Yeshua the Christ.

"Before all time and now and forever. Amen"—this is Jude's last triad. He is basically saying from eternity past to eternity future! To say "Amen" confirms a statement by someone else. Amen is a response to something that has just been said. The idea of amen is: "Let it be so!"

Believer, when we understand what Yahweh has done for us in salvation, we will understand that we are eternally secure in His love. This doctrine should bring us great peace, we never seem to live up to who we are in Christ, but Yahweh always sees us in Christ. Amen!

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