“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, 25 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.” Jude 24-25
Jude has brought a serious problem to the attention of the early church (false teachers in their midst) and called upon them to contend for the faith that has once for all been delivered to the saints. (v.3) In order to sustain and encourage them, he begins and ends his brief letter by focusing on the character of God and his mercy in the lives of his people.
JUSTIFICATION: You are accepted in Christ (lavishly loved and adopted) by grace alone.
SANCTIFICATION: You are progressively free from the bondage to sin by the power of the Holy Spirit through the glory of the cross of Christ.
As believers undertake this difficult task of standing for the truth and mercifully exposing error:
1. We are to keep our focus on the character of God (vv.1-2, 24-25)
“Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages.” Romans 16:25
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20
2. The primary comfort in the life of a disciple of Jesus, and that which gives joyful motivation, is to understand we will be presented “unblemished [blameless and faultless] in the presence of His glory with triumphant joy and unspeakable delight”. (v.24b, Amplified Bible)
We understand we are justified and declared righteous by faith ALONE, through grace ALONE by the power of the cross of Christ ALONE, as we walk under the authority of the Bible ALONE, to the glory of God ALONE.
“There I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith. And this is the meaning: the righteousness of God is revealed by the Gospel, namely, the righteousness with which a merciful God justifies us by faith...Here I felt that I was altogether born again and HAD ENTERED PARADISE ITSELF THROUGH OPEN GATES.” Martin Luther, Castle experience in 1518(?)
• Personal cleansing
• Union with God
• Union with Christ, by faith, through the power of the Holy Spirit
• Illumination by the Holy Spirit through the study of Scripture
• Ongoing cleansing through the progressive work of sanctification
3. We are kept from stumbling as we live in the empowering strength of the Holy Spirit.
C___________ in a group consistently.
S___________ others monthly .
Systematically take a c___________.
ANSWER KEY: Worship, Connect, Serve, class
4. Energy/effort is endemic to (progressive) sanctification.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13
“If we interrupt the process of sanctification by procrastinating in meeting an issue that God has set before us or by reverting to a posture of backsliding unbelief, God in his love will inevitably bring our lives into circumstances of failure, frustration or suffering which will drive us back to sobriety.” Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life: An Evangelical Theology of Renewal, p.118
1. Differentiate between understanding our walk of faith through (a) the lens of justification versus (b) the lens of sanctification [primary]. Which one brings joy, usefulness and comfort?
2. How is the understanding of justification by faith alone, through the grace of Christ alone the soil and safeguard (armor) of the Christian faith?
3. What type of energy is involved in sanctification? How is sanctification “synergistic”?
4. In Ephesians 6, the Christian armour is discussed. How is each piece of the armour central to an understanding of the gospel of grace?