Book of Jude Part 22 (series: Lessons on Jude)
by John Lowe
Flesh: "Flesh," in the ethical sense, is the whole natural or unregenerate man, spirit, soul, and body, as centered upon self, prone to sin, and opposed to God-- “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Rom 7:18). The regenerate man is not "in the sphere of the flesh, but in the sphere of the Spirit--“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Rom 8:9), but the flesh is still in him, and he may, according to his choice, "walk after the flesh" or "in the Spirit" :
(1Co 3:1-4) "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?”
(Gal. 5.16, 17) “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
In the first case (1Co 3:1-4) he is a "carnal," in the second (Gal. 5.16, 17) he is "spiritual," Christian. Victory over the flesh will be the habitual experience of the believer who walks in the Spirit:
(Rom 8:2, 4) “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death…That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
(Gal 5:16) "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."
Walk in the Spirit. Have the habit of continually walking by the energizing power and under the divine direction of the Holy Spirit. This is the only way of deliverance from selfish lusts.
And ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. You will never gratify the sinful desires originating in and overflowing from the lower nature. When God saved us, He did not eradicate the old nature, neither did He reform the old life; He gave us an absolutely new life--"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit' (John 3.6). The old nature is “not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom 8:7). The Christian can conquer the self-life and have continual victory by walking by the Holy Spirit.
VI. Conclusion. 24–25.
24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
In closing and after the turmoil and passion of this short letter, Jude gives one of the most balanced and beautiful benedictions in the New Testament. It is a prayer fitting for his readers who are threatened both with falling and with fault because of the false teachers who are trying to lure them into sin with claims of false revelation. Only by recalling the Word of God, i.e., the Old Testament, and especially the preaching of the apostles which showed it to be fulfilled in Jesus Christ, can they be “kept” from falling, and “presented” faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. This verse can be changed to modern language to clarify the great message found there: “God can guard you so that you don’t fall and so that you can be full of joy as you stand in his glorious presence without fault.” This glorious doxology expresses praise that truly springs from the Spirit of God.
Here, the redeemed are taken by the eye of the mind, into the very courts of God and before the throne of the King of kings and Lord of lords. The stress of the letter fades from their minds and hearts as they are confronted with this glorious picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who has saved them. The imposters and frauds that surround them seem less threatening. Their salvation is secure. They can never be lost amid the confusion and strife that ungodly people have caused among the churches. This truth is absolute and irrevocable. This is the most substantive fact of the believer’s life. This is unalterable not because of their strength but because of Christ’s power--“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or
think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Ephesians 3:20 ). It is immutable because of the faithfulness of God. Their hearts soar with Jude’s in this glorious outpouring of praise to the Sovereign God.
Truly, the Lord has given His Son and has called His own into fellowship with Him. In this life, believers can be certain of their redemption. In the life to come, they may be equally certain that their sin is blotted from God’s record. They shall be found blameless when they stand before the Lord on that great day when they shall see Him face-to-face. “I give them eternal life. They will never be lost, and no one will tear them away from me” (John 10:28). We are His and have been held in the hollow of His hand from the beginning to the end of time.
“Before the creation of the world, he chose us through Christ to be holy and perfect in his presence” (Ephesians 1:4). This love exceeds human comprehension, and will remain so for all eternity. The redeemed can only bow before the Lord of glory and sing His endless praise.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling. Jude closes with a beautiful benediction. It is the assigning of praise and worship to Him who is able. He is able to save—“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25); able to establish—“ Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25); able to aid—“ For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Heb. 2:18); able to subdue—“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phil. 3:21); and here He is able to keep. He is able to keep us in perfect peace—“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isa. 26:3); He is able to keep that which we have committed to Him until that Day—“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12); He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think—“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph. 3:20); and He is able to keep us from stumbling. This latter promise is especially timely for the days of apostasy to which Jude is referring.
Now (But) unto him (God) that is able (to work out our full salvation) to keep you from falling—Who alone can preserve you from the contagion of sin, and preserve you from falling into any kind of error that might be prejudicial to the interests of your souls; and thus to present you faultless, or, as many others read, without spot, alluding to the spotted garment mentioned above.
This acclamation to one who was able to keep them from failing is made in view of the facts referred to in the epistle-the dangers of being led away by the skill and the example of these false teachers. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” ( Jude 1:3, 4).
The phrase "to keep from falling" means here to preserve from falling into sin, from yielding to temptation, and dishonoring their religion. It is God only who, amidst the temptations of the world, can keep us from falling; but, blessed be his name, he can do it, and if we trust in him he will.
and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. But the promise doesn’t stop with “He will keep you from falling.” He is able to make us stand faultless in the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. This is truly stupendous! When we think of what we were—dead through our trespasses and sins; when we think of what we are—poor, weak, failing servants; and then to think that one day we will stand absolutely faultless in the Throne Room of the universe, rejoicing with exceeding joy—what grace is this!