We have been looking at the first of three truths that must be believed before you can progress into the Higher Christian Life. Believing these three truths provides you with the confidence of knowing that God not only can, but will “present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). The first truth reveals how big your God is compared to how big your problems are. And this cuts deep into the object of your faith. Is your faith centered on God? Or is it on your past experiences, both good and bad? The first truth states that “You must believe God is able (He possesses the power and ability) to keep you from falling or faltering in your life of holiness.” Period. Non-negotiable. For an overcoming life of lasting victory over sin, you must believe God is bigger than your sin and your flesh.
Last time we unpacked the beginning phrase of Jude 24, “Now unto Him who is able,” showing God is able (dúnamai – to be able, have power and strength by virtue of one’s own ability and resources) to do anything He desires. Why? Because He is sovereign, the Ever-Present One, the “I Am Who I Am” (Ex. 3:14), and there is none like our God (Is. 46:9). He is God. And as God, His holiness and omnipotence (God is All-Powerful) are some of His key character traits. And the trait of sanctification (holiness) has now come unto us in Jesus (1 Cor. 1:30) and is imparted to us by the Spirit. As we have said, it doesn’t get any better than that.
But nevertheless, some questions remain.
What is God able to do exactly? I know He spoke the world into existence (Gen. 1, Ps. 33:9) and all of that. I got that. But what can He do regarding my inability to live a holy life? How can His omnipotence reach down to me in my daily struggle with sin? Is God only concerned about the big things in life, like creating the world in seven days or parting the Red Sea? Or does His power and grace extend unto the little things in my life, the daily things? What can God do for me and my constant struggle with my flesh? Where can I find hope to live more like Him?
Let’s take a look, once again, at Jude 24, especially the description of what God is able to do.
Now to Him who is able (dúnamai – to be able, have power and strength by virtue of one’s own ability and resources) to keep you from stumbling (áptaistos – from falling, losing our sanctification, no longer being blameless), and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy – Jude 24.
This passage clearly states God is able to “keep me from stumbling” in order to “present me faultless.” But what does “stumbling” mean? Is this a salvation message showing “once saved, always saved”? Or is this a sanctification message, because the end result is my holiness, my being presented “faultless” before His glory? Or is it both?
These are very important questions. Let’s look at them one at a time.
“Keep You From Stumbling”… From What?
As we have previously discovered, the Greek word translated “stumbling” is áptaistos and means “free from falling, blameless” and is only found in this one verse in Jude. Therefore, we are unable to see how it is used elsewhere in the Scripture. But in secular Greek writings, the word means “sure-footed as a horse that does not stumble.” So it appears, “stumbling” could apply to both our eternal security in Him (future) and also in our ability to live a sanctified, holy life (present). Also, in the context of Jude’s letter, it could also apply to God being able to keep His children from succumbing to the apostasy Jude warns them about. Either way, God is able to finish what He began in each of us (Phil. 1:6), which is to make us “complete (lacking nothing) in Him” (Col. 2:10), and to “present us faultless” before the presence of His glory (Jude 24).
In regards to our salvation, Jesus spoke of being able to “keep us from stumbling” in John 10, when He revealed Himself as the Good Shepherd.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” – John 10:27-29.
In this sense, “keep you from stumbling” would refer to the security of our salvation in both the hands of Jesus and the Father. So, just how secure are we? Jesus said, “No one is able to snatch them (believers) out of My Father’s hand.” And for most, that pretty much settles it.
But what about “stumbling” in our life of sanctification and holiness, which we all do? What does God do to make sure we fulfill our purpose in salvation, that we are “predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son”? (Rom. 8:29). What is God’s part in all of this? And what is our part? And how does He help us in our part?
We will dig deeper into this tomorrow. But for now, know that your God is able to “keep what I (you) have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim. 1:12), which is your faith leading to salvation. But He is also able to keep your sanctification, leading to holiness. Rest in Him today, and we will see just how amazing and able our God is when we talk again tomorrow.