Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Exposition of Jude: Part 21 of 25
Image: Stephanus 1551 Greek NT
Note: This is a series of occasional verse-by-verse expositions of Jude (begun in March 2007). I recently finished preaching a series of expositional messages through Jude, so maybe I can use my notes to finish out this series. For the final verses I will use the KJV (vv. 1-20 were from the NKJV). You can read previous parts under the label “Jude Exposition” below.
Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
In Greek, Jude 20-21 are really one sentence. The sentence consists of one main verb and three supporting participles (building, praying, looking). The main and governing verb is the command “keep” (from tereo). It is a call for perseverance. We know, of course, that our perseverance in the faith depends upon God. David praises the Lord for ordering the steps of the good man in Psalm 37:
23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
In Jude 21 the stress is on human responsibility. God is ultimately the one who keeps his saints, but he works through means. The saints show they belong to Christ by virtue of the fact that they abide in Christ. Again, we can look to Psalm 37 as David urges:
27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.
28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
Jude commands in particular that the saints remain in the sphere of the love of Christ. We might take this as a call for the believers not to flag in their love for Christ. Jesus upbraided the church at Ephesus for leaving their first love (Rev 2:4). Note that this is a corporate word (2nd person plural).
The final participle is “looking for.” The verb here often has a “last things” connotation. It refers to living with eager expectation of that great day. For believers it is not a day of terror but of joy. What child dreads the coming of his birthday or Christmas? So, no believer dreads the day of Christ’s coming. For the reprobate it will be a terrible day of judgement but for the saints it will be a day of receiving “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
• What means might the Lord use to keep his saints in the faith?
• How can you keep yourself in the love of God?
• Are you looking for (i.e., living in eager expectation of) the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life?
• Read Psalm 37 and meditate on the passages that provide assurance of perseverance to the saints in light of Jude 21.