Title: In Christ you are blameless!
Text: Jude 20-25
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Our epistle reading for today from the book of Jude begins:
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
There is a statement of purpose:
20 But you, beloved.
Those who have been called by the Holy Spirit to believe are given faith in Christ and are loved by God. That too is you and me. This love is not earned, but it is freely given in the one who is righteous and the one who is righteous is Jesus. He has taken our sins and the sins of the whole world upon himself and we receive what he has earned by faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Eph. 2:8b-9
There is also a call to action:
Building yourselves up in your most holy faith – Or, “on your most holy faith,” not listening to the lie of those who would pervert the faith 3b I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (truth and doctrine Jude vs 3b) This is done by means of the holy Gospel.
Praying in the Holy Spirit - the Holy Spirit is the means by which you can pray rightly. Apart from him coming first to you we cannot know God or his love for us. All we can know is his Law and wrath. But here the Holy Spirit causes and invites us to pray to the one who has made peace with God and intercedes for us and thus this faith in Christ Jesus builds us up, you and me … his saints.
Keep yourselves in the love of God –This is God’s love not our love so we look always outside ourselves to what he has done for us in Jesus. God’s love is only for those who believe in him leaving those outside the church outside God’s love in Christ because they have and are placing their trust in the filthy rags of their own righteousness. It is with that in mind that we together call those outside to come. This is through the good news of the gospel and by the working of the Holy Spirit so that they too might be Christ’s own and receive all that he has earned for them.
Waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. – This can also be translated as “expecting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life.”
R.H. Lenski commentary Vol. 11 Jude Pg. 646
Here we see that all the things Jude called us to do is done in us and for us by the Holy Spirit.
God’s mercy leads to eternal life, and for that we wait, expecting God to keep us in his Love by the Holy Spirit who calls us to pray in this most holy faith and by that we are blessed and built up by the Spirit’s work in us.
In Christ you are blameless!
22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
A few years ago gunman in Paris took the lives of innocent people. Ludo Boumbas who while at a restaurant café celebrating the birthday of a waitress friend dove in front of one of the gunman who was shooting into the crowd in the outside café’ taking a bullet that was intended for another girl. She was hit but is in the hospital and expected to survive. His friend, Huda Saadi who was celebrating her 35th birthday and her sister Halima both died along with Ludo and 16 others in this senseless act. Ludo sacrificed himself in the hope that another might live.
One man who could not make sense out of the carnage said, “I am making prayers for them even though I don’t know if religion is true.”
22 And have mercy on those who doubt;
Those who doubt are in danger of everlasting damnation. We must continue to be light in a dark world with the gospel of truth. Some are snatched from the fire itself by the work of the Holy Spirit even through you and me and God’s word we speak and share. Others we pity as they continue to cling to the garment of sin in their life while they reject the good news and fall further away. It is like calling some to come into your home or pavilion of rest in the midst of the storm but they continue on their way only to be consumed by the elements of this life … a life apart from Christ with no hope for tomorrow.
But God in his mercy does not leave us hopeless.
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,
Jesus has made the rough ways smooth and the crooked ways straight. He will keep you strong in the faith. He does it through his means. It may at times seem trite … word and sacrament. But God uses the weak to confound the strong, the ordinary to do extraordinary things.
24 Now to him who is able, Christ is able … all things are possible with God.
to keep you from stumbling, those who desire to lead you a stray and to preach a gospel different than the one we preached – Paul says to the Galatians. He warns that there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. Here the Holy Spirit through the word will keep you safe. If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
By God’s working in you by his Spirit you will be protected from the wiles of the devil. This good news will remain and go forth until Jesus returns.
Be thankful, and make God and his gifts to you the center of your life and joy as you gather with family and friends this advent and Christmas season. Lift him up as the one who supplies all your needs, and by his working in you, you can know true thanksgiving, life, and peace in his name.
In Christ you are blameless!
25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen
In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.