Last week Peter Firth considered the opening verses of the book of Jude. Today he directed our thoughts to the final verses (Jude vs. 24-25). But first – in order to place these verses in context – he summarised briefly the contents of the verses in-between.
In the main section of this letter, Jude has some hard-hitting things to say regarding those who were troubling God’s people (read verses 4-16). He describes them graphically and denounces them severely.
But there is a marked change in tone when we come to verses 17-23. Here Jude issues a series of practical commands for the believers to obey. These illustrate how they are to go about ‘contending for the faith’ (verse 3). With all of these commands Jude places a great responsibility on the believers to respond correctly to their situation and to put things right.
But, in addition to all this, they need God’s help and so Jude concludes his letter by directing their attention Godward and by reminding them of some central truths about the One they worship and serve. He writes:
Jude does not end his letter the way other letters of the time would often end with secondary greetings and a farewell wish. Instead, he concludes with a doxology – an expression of praise to God. He draws attention to four areas of truth about God:
- Who God is: In Jude’s day, people worshipped many gods – including the emperor himself. But Jude reminds these believers, and us, that there is only one true God – the God of the Bible. When it comes to needing help we need only to look in one direction.
- What God is: God is our Saviour. Even though they had already looked to God to save them from their sins, they still needed God’s ongoing help if they were to come through this present crisis safely. The same is true for us. No matter how old we are in the faith, we cannot live the Christian life and overcome whatever spiritual obstacles stand in the way of hindering our progress without God’s help.
- What God is able to do: Jude focuses attention on God’s ability to do two things: to keep us from stumbling and to present us blameless before the presence of His glory. God is able to bring us safely to our eternal destination.
- What belongs to God: Jude highlights four attributes that belong to God. This is not a random collection of attributes; they are carefully selected to underline God’s ability and greatness.
– Glory – a term that recognises God’s high status
– Majesty – a term that speaks of His greatness and pre-eminence
– Dominion – a term that highlights His ruling power
– Authority – a term that reminds us of His sovereign control
These attributes are not relative to time – they are eternal attributes and inherent in His person:
Jude ends this outpouring of praise to God with the word ‘Amen’ = ‘it is true’.
It is a strong and personal affirmation of all that he has said about God.
Doubtless, when the letter was read publicly in the communities, the believers would have responded with their own ‘Amen’. May we do the same!
Peter linked the final verses of Jude’s letter to verses from Psalm 121:
I LIFT UP MY EYES TO THE HILLS. FROM WHERE DOES MY HELP COME? MY HELP COMES FROM THE LORD, WHO MADE HEAVEN AND EARTH. HE WILL NOT LET YOUR FOOT BE MOVED; HE WHO KEEPS YOU WILL NOT SLUMBER. BEHOLD, HE WHO KEEPS ISRAEL WILL NEITHER SLUMBER NOR SLEEP. THE LORD IS YOUR KEEPER.
In many ways verse 5 sums up Jude’s closing section: the Lord is the Keeper of His people. As we journey together through life towards our heavenly Jerusalem – may we encourage one another with these words: “The LORD is Your Keeper.”