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Saved Unto Security: Our Guaranteed Glory

‘Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy…be glory, majesty, might, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.’

- Jude 24, 25 -


Doxology comes from the Greek words ‘doxa’ and ‘logos,’ meaning praise and word. It is literally a word of praise; a short, spontaneous ode to God. Paul’s epistles are replete with these grand and glorious exclamations to the Almighty. Paul delivers precious doctrine one moment and bursts into unforgettable praise the next. Doxologies should erupt in our hearts and minds as we contemplate God’s work of salvation. After all, they are one way we obey Paul’s call to ‘rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!’ (Phil. 4:4). This brings us to the epistle of Jude.


 

Often lost in the shadow of Revelation, Jude’s short epistle is a treasure-trove of Old Testament allusions weaponized against false teachers. Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, desired to write ‘about our common salvation’ but felt compelled to call God's elect to ‘contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints’ (3). After upbraiding heretics who ‘defile the flesh, and reject authority, and blaspheme glorious ones’ (8), Jude closes with a triumphant (and surprising) word of comfort: ‘Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy…be glory, majesty, might, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen’ (24, 25).


Jude’s sign-off packs a punch as, like most doxologies, it meditates on a central pillar of the faith: eternal security. Each doctrine of salvation is necessary and precious, but for reasons that should become clear, security is especially valuable and attractive. Eternal security, or the perseverance of the saints, is the biblical truth that says once saved, always saved. Or, in the negative sense: if you receive eternal life, you can never lose it. Erase eternal security, and not only is our confidence and comfort downgraded, but joy is easily replaced with doubt and fear.



Reformation thinkers did not invent eternal security to sleep better at night. God designed salvation this way from the start. Calvin and Luther fought the good fight after seeing the clear thread of God’s protection from Genesis on. They let that truth shape their theology. In Numbers 23:19, Moses states that God shields believers as His character demands it: “Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not establish it?” In Psalm 68, David agrees with Jude that God alone guards our steps: ‘Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation’ (19). David even confesses: ‘to Yahweh the Lord belong escapes from death’ (20), connecting eternal security with eternal life.


Last but not least, Psalm 125 heralds God as our sure foundation: ‘Those who trust in Yahweh are as Mount Zion, which will not be shaken but will abide forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so Yahweh surrounds His people from now until forever’ (1-2). God is our protector; our steadfast champion in this fallen world. But why did God arrange salvation this way? The New Testament tells us. As he greets the elect brethren in Galatia, Paul breaks into doxology because Jesus Christ saved us ‘according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen’ (Gal. 1:4-5).



Paul’s praise is clear and concise. The triune God not only saves but keeps us as it is His will. Simple as that. Christ explained this to feckless crowds that grumbled for physical bread instead of spiritual nourishment, declaring: “this is the will of My Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40). But why does God will anything? It is because He predestined ‘us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will (Eph. 1:5, emphasis added).


It may sound odd that the uncreated Creator seeks pleasure, but why should it? After all, we were made in God’s image, and pleasure motivates most of our decisions. Yet the big difference between our choices and God’s is that sin infects and undermines the gratification we chase. ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Rom. 3:23), so while we aspire to good deeds, the results are never perfect.


Compare human love with the love of God. Even when we desire to love our spouse and children, our nearest and dearest, we often miss the mark and speak or act unlovingly. Meanwhile God seeks (and therefore finds) pleasure, but never selfishly, as we do. His pleasure benefits us at the same time it brings Him glory. Case in point: God “so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).


The good news of the gospel is that God willed to draw lost sheep to His Son, who said: “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me…and I lay down My life for the sheep” (John 10:14, 15). Redemption was launched by love. Not just the Father’s love for Christ, but God’s love for His creation. This is why Paul couldn't help but keep doxologizing as his execution neared. He knew God so well that his assurance never wavered: ‘the Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen’ (2 Tim. 4:18). So let's return to Jude’s doxology and see how God wants us to use His gracious gift of certainty.



Dire warnings against sin and apostasy dominate Jude, yet it ends with a positive appeal to remember the apostles’ teaching, to remain in God’s blessing, and to help those trapped in false teaching. Jude commands us to ‘have mercy [on sinners] with fear, hating even the tunic polluted by the flesh’ (23). But if ‘snatching them out of the fire’ (23) is so dangerous, do we risk our salvation in the effort? Earlier, Jude thundered against men and angels who sinned like Cain, Balaam, and Korah. This might make us fearful of falling away by evangelizing sinners, so Jude’s doxology declares the opposite. It calls us to confidently entreat sinners by trusting ‘Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory’ (24).


Jude extols the Biblical doctrine that God keeps His own to the end. Jude desires that we rest in our Good Shepherd's oath: “I give eternal life to [My sheep], and they will never perish-ever; and no one will snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28). Jesus not only secures our salvation because He can, but because He gains rightful glory from it. We must guard this precious truth or risk abandoning our commission to evangelize the world. No ifs, ands, or buts. Thank God all authority has been handed over to Christ in heaven and on earth. Our Champion-Protector stands beside us “even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20), securing our hope and enlisting us to accomplish heaven’s highest delight: the eternal salvation of sinners.



All Scripture quotations are from the Legacy Standard Bible

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