The Epistle of Jude is one chapter, 25 verses. The author was the half-brother of Jesus. Yet in verse 1, he greets the readers by saying, “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.” The purpose of the letter is found in verse 3: “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” The Book of Jude is a call to war for the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The threat is found in verse 4: “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” False teachers were leading people into sin. Professing Christians were falling away from the faith. In verses 5-16, Jude responds to this apostasy with graphic warnings of divine judgment. In verses 17-23, Jude issues a call to persevere.
Verse 21 says, “Keep yourself in the love God.” True saints persevere in faith until the end. The key to preserving amid deceiving errors and tempting sins is to keep yourself in the love of God, but what happens when you cannot keep yourself? Verses 24-25 answer that question. It is one of the greatest doxologies in the New Testament.
This declaration of praise teaches us that God is able to keep you when you cannot keep yourself. Edward C. Pentecost wrote, “Here is the greatest theme of victory to be sounded, the highest note of praise and adoration possible, and the greatest assurance for the redeemed.” How should you respond to the fact you cannot keep yourself? The doxology in Jude 24-25 teaches us to trust and praise the God who is able to keep you.
Trust the God who Is Able to Keep You
Jude 24-25 is one of three New Testament doxologies that praise God for being able. Romans 16:25 says, “Now to Him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” Jude 24 says, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy.” The emphasis is on divine omnipotence—the inherent and infinite power of God.
Jude does not remember when God was able in the past. He does not promise God will be able in the future. This is real-time assurance. Whenever it is, wherever you are, whatever you need, God is able. In Matthew 9:28, Jesus responded to a cry for help from two blind men by asking, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” This is the bottom-line. God is able. Do you believe it? God is able to preserve you on earth and present you in heaven.
God Is Able to Preserve You on Earth
The first assurance of this doxology covers the entire Christian journey from earth to glory: “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling.” The KJV says, “Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling.” The original is more emphatic. Stumbling precedes falling. God is able to keep you from falling on your face.
Moreover, God is able to keep you on your feet. The word keep is a military term. God is on guard! The word stumbling was used to describe a sure-footed horse. Metaphorically, it refers to a person who does not fall into temptation, sin or error. You cannot do this on your own. The world is a slippery place. The devil constantly schemes to trip you. Your sinful flesh is prone to trip, stumble and fall; but God is able to keep you from stumbling.
Psalm 121:3 says, “He will not let your foot be moved.” God can keep you from falling into the error of sin and falling away from the faith.
God can keep you from falling into the error of sin. False teachers led the church astray. Error replaced truth. Sin replaced holiness. Many were falling so deeply into error and sin that they forsook their professed faith in Christ. Jude warned the saints to be on guard against error and sin. They must fight.
They could not win the victory on their own, and we can’t either. However, God is able to keep you from falling into the error of sin. This is not sinless perfection. It is consistent obedience. You don’t have to fall into sin. First Corinthians 10:12-13 says, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to men. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
God can keep you from falling away from the faith. According to multiple reports, people are leaving the church. Myriad reasons are given to explain why more people choose to identify as “None of the above,” when asked their religious affiliation. The explanations blame the church and insist Christianity needs to change with the times.
Yet there is a key reason that is not addressed. Many people leave the church because they never truly were saved from the beginning. First John 2:19 says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”
Falling away demonstrates a false presumption of salvation. True Christians persevere to the end, but the steadfast perseverance of the saints is enabled by the sovereign preservation of the saints.
Have you ever experienced a miracle? If you are saved, two miracles have happened in your life. First, it is a miracle that you are saved. Ephesians 2:1 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins.” This is the spiritual condition of the guilty sinner without Christ. Good intentions, human effort, and good works cannot fix that. Dead people do not need reform. They need resurrection that only a miracle of grace can perform. That’s what saved us. It is a miracle that you are saved, but is it also a miracle that you are still saved. You would have given up on Christ, your family and your ministry if God didn’t keep you when you couldn’t keep yourself.
God Is Able to Present You in Heaven
Verse 24 says, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy.” Divine omnipotence is at work on your behalf throughout this life and beyond this life. God is able to keep you from falling down here, and God is able to present you blameless up there.
There is a play on words here. The word present literally means “to make you stand.” The God who is able to keep you from falling is able to make you stand. Where will God present you? Before the presence of His glory. This is euphemism for God. God Himself is the presence of His glory. You cannot present yourself before the presence in His glory. Psalm 1:5 says, “Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” God will make you stand before Him blameless and joyfully.
God will make you stand before Him blamelessly. In the Old Testament, the worshiper could not bring an animal sacrifice to God that had any spot or blemish. It had to be blameless, perfect. This is why God accepted the atoning sacrifice Jesus made for our sins at the cross.
First Peter 1:18-19 says, “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” Jesus offered Himself to God for us as a blameless sacrifice. All who are in Christ will be presented to God blamelessly.
You are not blameless. You and I can be rightly blamed for many sins, and we cannot clean up what we messed up; but God is able to present you blameless before the presence of His glory. Ephesians 1:4 says, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.”
When He shall come with trumpet sound
O may I then in him be found
Dressed in his righteousness alone
Faultless to stand before the throne
(from “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” by Edward Mote)
God will make you stand before Him joyfully. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve enjoyed the manifest presence of God. After the Fall, however, they hid from one another with fig leaves and tried to hide from God, as well. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We continue to try to hide from God as sin produces guilt, shame and fear; but God is able to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy.
Great joy is more than personal happiness. It is a public celebration with singing, dancing and shouting. This is what heaven will be like! Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
This is the living hope the Lord Jesus Christ offers the guilty, the dying and the grieving. The only hope in the face of death is that God is able to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy. Matthew Henry wrote, “Where there is no sin, there will be no sorrow; where there is perfection of holiness, there will be the perfection of joy.” The saints will have great joy in the presence of His glory.
Yet there is a bigger point here. It is not merely the joy of the presented. It is also the joy of the Presenter. God will have great joy in presenting you blameless to Himself. Hebrews 12:2 calls Jesus “the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” What was the joy that was set before Jesus that moved Him to endure the cross? It was the great joy of presenting you blameless before the presence of His glory.
Praise the God who Is Able to Keep You
Jude 24 is about what God is able to do for you, but what God does for you is not about you. It is all about God. Jude 25 makes this clear, “to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” To trust that God is the One who is able to keep you is to praise the God who is able to keep you. God is worthy of our exclusive, highest and unending praise.
God Is Worthy of Our Exclusive Praise
Parallel wording links the two verses of this doxology together. Verse 24 begins, “Now to Him who is able…” Verse 25 begins, “to the only God, our Savior.” Here are the two essential reasons God is worthy of our exclusive praise.
God is the only God. Verse 25 says, “to the only God.” This affirmation of monotheism was no point of contention for Jude. This is the foundational truth on which our faith rests. It is the first principle of Jewish theology. Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” It is the first principle of Christian theology. First Timothy 2:5-6 says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all.” God is worthy of our exclusive praise because God is the only living God.
God is our Savior. God created the world. God rules the world, and God will judge the world. However, God is more than Creator, Judge and King for those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. God is our Savior.
The word Savior is only used 24 times in the New Testament. Most instances refer to Jesus, so we tend to think of Jesus as the Savior who saves us from God the Judge, but Jude says God the Father is our Savior. Jesus did not die on the cross to save us from God. Jesus died on the cross to save us to and for God. Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
God Is Worthy of Our Highest Praise
Scholars disagree about how to interpret the phrase, “through Jesus Christ our Lord.” It may be connected to the preceding phrase, “our Savior,” indicating God is Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord; or it may be connected to the following phrase, “be glory, majesty, dominion and authority.” This would indicate we offer acceptable worship to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Both readings are theologically true. The only way to receive salvation from God is through Jesus Christ our Lord. The only way to offer worship to God is through Jesus Christ our Lord.
How are things between you and the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you failing to receive what you need from God because things are not right between you and Jesus? Are you unable to give God what He demands and deserves because things are not right between you and Jesus? If things are right between you and Jesus Christ our Lord, you will have a heart of worship that sings of the glory, majesty, dominion and authority of God our Savior.
This is the only doxology where these four attributes of God are mentioned together. This list of divine perfections declares that God is worship of our highest praise.
Praise the glory of God! Glory is more than an attribute of God. It is the sum total of His divine perfections. It is the crushing weight of His character and the blinding light of His presence.
Praise the majesty of God! This term is only used three times in the New Testament. Hebrews 1:3 and 8:1 use it as a circumlocution, a way of referring to God without calling His name. JND Kelly called God’s majesty, “His awful transcendence.” It simply means God is great! Warren Wiersbe said, “When we praise God, we praise the most magnificent Person in the universe. He is not simply king, He is King of Kings! He is not simply lord, He is Lord of Lords.”
Praise the dominion of God! Dominion is God’s manifested power. God is no puppet ruler whose glorious majesty is staged. God has unlimited power to execute His good pleasure to the fullest extent.
Praise the authority of God! Authority is sovereign rule, divine prerogative and unlimited jurisdiction. In Matthew 28:18, Jesus declares, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” God our Savior is worthy of glory, majesty, dominion and authority through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Verse 25 says: “to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.” A.T. Robertson called this verse “as complete a statement of eternity as can be made in human language.”
The point is that God transcends time. Hebrews 13:8 says it this way, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Past, present and future do not change, hinder or interrupt the intoxicating worthiness of the Savior-God.
God is worthy before time. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Before the beginning, in the eternity behind us, God was worthy to be praised, and God is worthy now. This speaks in real time. Verse 24 begins, “Now to Him who is able.” Verse 25 ends, “to the only God…be glory…now.” The now of your present struggles does not cancel out the now of His divine omnipotence. You should praise Him now because He is able now, and God will be worthy forever. There is only one thing left to be said: Amen.
Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on and let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light
Take my hand, precious Lord, and lead me home
When my way grows drear, precious Lord, linger near
When my life is almost gone
Hear my cry, hear my call, hold my hand lest I fall
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home
When the darkness appears and the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand, guide my feet hold my hand
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home
(from “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” by Thomas A. Dorsey)
HB Charles is senior pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Credit is gratefully acknowledged at: https://www.preaching.com/sermons/god-is-able-to-keep-you/