As we have shared in the past, the way to fully understand a particular passage is to first determine what it says. And then, what it means. Yesterday we looked at Jude 24 to determine exactly what the passage says by examining the meaning of the words when they were written. And what we discovered was quite eye-opening and encouraging regarding what God is able to do to help us in our deeper life of sanctification or holiness. Today, we’re going to begin to see exactly what Jude 24 means and how it is to be applied to our lives. And this is where it gets exciting. So let’s begin by unpacking the simple phrase, “Now to Him who is able.”
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, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen – Jude 24-25.
We began this week by looking at the three truths that we must be believe in order to experience the continued blessings of the Higher Christian Life. The first one of these vital truths is: You must believe God is able (He possesses the power and ability) to keep you from falling or faltering in your life of holiness. We already know the meaning of the words in Jude 24, but what does the phrase “Now to Him who is able” mean for us today?
Throughout the Scriptures, one of the key truths repeatedly revealed in both the Old and New Testament is that God is God, and there is no other (Isa. 45:5). He is the Ever-Present One, the “I Am Who I Am” (Ex. 3:14). And, as God, He has certain attributes that belong only to Him that He has not shared with His creation. He is, for example, Immutable (Mal. 3:6), Unchanging (Ps. 102:25-27), Omniscient (God knows all things – 1 John 3:20), Everlasting, and the Only Wise God (Rom. 16:26-27). As wonderful as these attributes are, the most encouraging one for us today is this: God is Omnipotent, He is All-Powerful, which means He possesses in Himself all sovereign power and is, as the theologians describe, “able to do all His holy will” without exception.
Let that sink in for a moment. Our God is able because He is omnipotent. Our God is able because He does what He pleases (Ps. 115:3). And our God is able because, as Jeremiah said, “There is nothing too hard for You” (Jer. 32:17). This is our God.
“Now to Him (Our God) Who is Able to …”
In dealing with living a life of holiness, which always pleases the Lord (Heb. 12:14), often our biggest struggle is our inability to actually live, consistently, no matter how hard we try, the life we long to live in Him— a life of sanctification and holiness. No matter how hard we try in the flesh, we quickly find the flesh cannot war against itself. The power to live righteously must come from somewhere else. And this is exactly what Jesus taught us about the overcoming power of the Holy Spirit, who now lives in us. But God knew in this life we would face discouragement. He knew we would struggle with our failures. He knew, to use the words of Paul, we would cry out in desperation, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:24).
As a loving God, knowing this, He gave us some promises that are secured by His character and attributes, and not our efforts, to serve as a lighthouse in the swelling seas of doubt, failure, and guilt that inevitably come to each of us. In each of these promises below, God is pictured as One “who is able” to deal with whatever we are struggling with by His unmatched, unrivaled, unequaled, inexhaustible power and ability as God.
As you read these, be encouraged by what God is able to do in your life, no matter how much you have mucked it up in the past (or even right now). Remember, He is God, and He is able.
“Now to Him who is able to establish you” or to “set you firm and steadfast” according to the Gospel and the “preaching of Jesus Christ” (Rom. 16:25). He will not hang you out to dry, on your own, without a support system, like a forgotten orphan. He came to you in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He now lives in you in the Person of the Holy Spirit. And you are now a “temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). So be encouraged.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power (Holy Spirit) that works in us” (Eph. 3:20). God is able to do more than we can even conjure up in our minds. More than our imaginations can conceive— more than our wildest dreams.
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). And God is able, more than able, to keep you in your life of holiness and to help you experience a deeper, abiding relationship with Him and with the Spirit. It is His job and not yours. So rest in Him.
When you pray, be sure to thank God for the promises He has made you and the assurance His power will see you through. Remember, we don’t run the race alone. We are to look unto Jesus, who has run the race before us, and follow His leading and example. After all, He is the “author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2).