The Christian life is long and often rugged. God ensures the believer will be able to make the full journey all the way to His glorious eternal kingdom. The Scriptural teaching comes from Jude 24 “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,”
The letter of Jude was written to those in the church who had experienced false teachers and leading some among them astray. These false teachers insidiously tempted those inside the church to indulge in fleshly acts. Witnessing this apostasy was unsettling to the faithful. That is why Jude not only exposed the evil of these apostates, but ended his epistle with a strong doxology breathing hope and firm resolve into the hearts of believers.
Notice how the doxology begins, ‘Now to Him who is able …” That is a basic Biblical truth we need to have firmly fixed into our souls. God is able! That is something we are to know for sure. Where others cannot accomplish things, God can! Where trouble abounds, God’s power abounds still more. “Evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse,” the apostle Paul warned in 2 Timothy 3:13. Problems will mount, but God’s solutions are measureless. Mary asked the angel “How can I be with child if I know not a man?” Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, knew without hesitation, “Nothing will be impossible with God.” Paul wrote confidently in Ephesians 3:20, “(God) is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or think.” So we must believe in God’s ability to accomplish great things even when others are turning their back on the gospel and walking away into a life of worldly sin.
Here Jude specifies two things God is able to do. These are carefully chosen to fit the circumstances his readers faced. “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory …” While you face the schemes of the Devil, while you try to root out the evil men in your midst (v. 2-3), while you try to reach the lost with the gospel (v. 22-23), God will keep you from stumbling! In other words, He will prevent you from succumbing to temptation! He will give you the strength and insight needed to stand against their intimidation and resist their appeals to the sensual flesh. With all the enticements to sin and all the subtleties of false teaching, the Lord God will sustain your faith and walk! You will not stumble so as to be eternally harmed. God will protect you and your faith!
This divine preservation of the soul finds its evidence in a doctrine the church calls “The Perseverance of the Saints.” This doctrine simply means that all true believers maintain their faith in Christ and obedience all the way to the end of their lives. They never stumble so as to fall away from the Christian faith. Matthew 24:13 reflects this doctrine when it declares, “The one who endures to the end he shall be saved.” 1 Corinthians 15:2 teaches that the gospel saves people, “… if you hold fast the word which I preached to you unless you believed in vain.” Hebrews 10:38 warns, “If (the professing believer) shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” However, then the writer to the Hebrews concludes in v. 39, “But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.”
How are believers able to persevere to the end? The true believer perseveres because of God’s mighty provisions. It is not we who are able, but God who is able to do great things in and through us. God provides new life in Christ that is eternal life and cannot end. God grants the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who will never leave us or forsake us. Christ constantly intercedes for His own at the right hand of the Father so no sin will be able to cut us off from God. Jesus prayed in John 17:11 “Holy Father keep them in Thy name.” Then in v. 15 he prayed for his disciples saying, “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.” So we will persevere in our faith to the end because of God’s keeping power. Peter also refers to God’s mighty protection in 1 Peter 1:5 “… you are protected by the power of God for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” “He is able to keep you from stumbling.” And He is able “to make you stand in the presence of His glory.”
Beloved, this is where the faith journey leads. This is where your walk of faith ends; when you stand in the presence of God’s unimaginable glory. That promise reflects the doctrine of eternal security that states, that once someone is saved by God, he can never lose that salvation. He most assuredly will be taken to glory. Eternal security reminds us to rest peacefully in the power of God. That’s how secure we are in Jesus! Once He saves us, we are saved permanently. The proof is that He promises to take us all the way to glory. How great that will be when we bask in the radiance of His divine love and light, beholding His face forever! Notice Jude’s contrasting imagery. Rather than stumbling, we will stand. We will stand before Him “blameless” without fault and with no sin on the record books. That will be a day of great and incredible joy. No one can fathom how great the joy will be when we stand before His majesty.
Both our eternal security and our need to persevere in the faith are taught in Scripture.
Eternal security is taught to remind us that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, Eph. 1:4. God saves us and what God starts He will complete, Phil. 1:6! If any of us sins, Christ intercedes on our behalf, 1 John 2:1.
Perseverance is taught to show that we have responsibility to choose Christ, to walk with Him, and to remain true to Him unto the end.
We may not be complacent in our spiritual journey; thus the command to persevere. Nor may we be fearful of losing our salvation; thus the promise of eternal security. In confidence we claim the promises of God relying on his power and protection, and then we prove His work by abiding with Christ to the end.