In our last time together we looked at the three key, no vital, truths that must be believed in order to win the war with our doubt and discover the permanent, abiding Presence of the Holy Spirit in our life as we embrace the Higher Christian Life. Today we will dig a bit deeper into the firsts of these three truths, namely that our God is Able (He possesses the power and ability) to keep us from falling or faltering in our life of holiness.
The Scripture we are to wholeheartedly believe is found in Jude 24. In this passage, Jude is closing his one-chapter book with a faith affirmation exalting the power and ability of God to keep us holy, sanctified, and well-pleasing to Him in this life and then present us as blemish-free as Christ in the next life. And why should this surprise us? After all, Jesus Himself became for us “sanctification” (1 Cor. 1:30), which is the one thing God promises to make sure we don’t lose by “stumbling” in our life of holiness.
Now to Him who is able (dúnamai) to keep (phulássō) you from stumbling (áptaistos), and to present (hístēmi) you faultless (ámōmos) before the presence (katenṓpion) of His glory (dóxa) with exceeding joy (agallíasis), to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen – Jude 24-25.
Now, let’s look at a few of these keywords to understand what this verse is saying:
dúnamai – to be able, have power and strength by virtue of one’s own ability and resources.
phulássō – to watch, guard, keep. It has the idea of a prison warden keeping constant watch over those under his care.
áptaistos– free from falling, blameless. It means God’s grace is sufficient to keep us from sin. This is a statement of God’s ability, and not necessarily our experience.
hístēmi – to cause to stand, to set in place. The place is determined by the context. And in this verse, Jude is saying we will be “caused to stand” in the “presence of His glory” or before God.
ámōmos – without spot or blemish. Peter uses this same word to describe the blood of Christ, “as a lamb without spot (ámōmos) and without blemish” (1 Peter 1:19).
katenṓpion – or in the very presence of. Ephesians 1:4 says, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before (katenṓpion – in the very presence of) Him in love.”
dóxa – splendor, majesty, brightness, magnificence, excellence, dignity, and grace.
agallíasis – exuberant exultation and joy, gladness and rejoicing.
So what does this promise of God look like when we expand the translation?
My God is So Big, So Strong, and So Mighty
As we have discussed, the first thing we must do to understand a Scripture is to determine what it says. Only then can we discover what it means. So what does Jude 24 actually say?
Now to Him who is able (dúnamai – to have strength and power by one’s own virtue and ability). This one is simple. The praise is to Him, to God, who has the ability to do whatever the rest of the verse promises because of the fact that He is God. And as God, there is nothing He cannot do. Period.
to keep (phulássō – to watch, guard, like a warden over those under his charge). He not only has the power, but He is watching us, day and night, to make sure we do not stumble or prove ourselves not worthy of all He has promised us.
you (put your name here) from stumbling (áptaistos – from falling, losing our sanctification, no longer being blameless). God is watching us ever so closely to make sure we never drift so far away from Him in sin that He cannot bring us back to Himself, blameless (in this life).
and to present (hístēmi – to cause to stand before). Stand before Who? And when? Exactly. God is able to cause us to stand before His presence and glory (in the life to come) no matter how much we have messed things up in this life. How can He do that? Because Jesus “became” for us “sanctification” (1 Cor. 1:30). We are sanctified because we are in Christ.
you (again, make it personal) faultless (ámōmos – without spot or blemish). How can one who is at fault be deemed faultless? This is the wonder and unexplainable joy that comes from being in Christ and having the Holy Spirit abide in us. When God sees us, He sees His Son, because His Son’s righteousness has been imputed to us and our sin imputed to Him (and paid for on the cross).
before the presence (katenṓpion – or in the very presence) of His glory (dóxa – splendor, majesty, brightness, magnificence, excellence, dignity, and grace). This should take your breath away. We no longer have to hide like orphans from the big man’s house, but we are brought before His presence as children, and “if children, then heirs— heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17). After all, Jesus said He would not leave us as orphans when He sent the Holy Spirit to live in us (John 14:18).
with exceeding joy (agallíasis – exuberant exultation and joy, gladness and rejoicing). Please understand, this joy refers primarily to the joy of the Father and Son over our fellowship with other believers that we will share for all eternity. Can you think of anything more wonderful?
This is what this single promise says. Tomorrow we will see what it means as we grow in confidence that our God is able to keep His promise to His children regarding their ability to live a life of holiness, or one pleasing to Him.