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JUDE’S DOXOLOGY – PART 3

 

We have been looking at Jude’s doxology and noted that Jude is directing his thoughts to us his readers. These words are not of a general nature but directed specifically at us. We looked at one of the ways that God is both able and willing to keep us, namely to keep us from falling, or more correctly from stumbling.

We looked at what might be the scene when Jesus presents us to His father. The word “present” conveys the idea of setting forth, or putting on display. We sometimes refer to each other as being trophies of God’s grace – and that we are.

Sometimes we sing these words –

Look, ye saints! The sight is glorious;
See the man of sorrows now,
From the fight returned victorious;
Every knee to him shall bow.
Crown him, crown him!
Crowns become the victor’s brow.

Crown the Saviour, angels crown him;
Rich the trophies Jesus brings;
In the seat of power enthrone him,
While the vault of Heaven rings.
Crown him, crown him!
Crown the Saviour King of kings!

We may have seen important sporting events either as spectators or on television or other media and been somewhat overwhelmed by the emotion of the successful winners. They proudly display their trophy and their joy is awesome. This joy is not just the result of their victory but the fact that the contest itself is finally over. To use some Australian slang it is “game, set and match” or it is all “done and dusted”. All opposition has been defeated.

Similarly, but on a much grander and much more important scale, Jesus has been in a contest, no more than a mere contest, in a battle, not just in a sporting match but in the contest for the souls of men. And now His victory is declared, the battle is over. It is no longer a “Come on!” situation but one of “Yes! Yes!” And Jesus has His trophies, yes, not just one trophy but millions of them and He wants to show them off, as it were. And who should have priority in that display, why, it would be His Father God wouldn’t it? And that is the way it will be. I will be one of the trophies He will have on display before His Father. And I trust that you will be as well.

And the joy of My Redeemer will be much more intense than the joy of a sporting champion. And of course so will be the joy of God the Father as well. Joining them in that whole environment of elation will be the entire host of heaven.

But we said in our last lesson that we would consider how we will be presented.

Jude said that we will be presented faultless. We will need to explore that further in order to fully understand the depth of what that means.

When God created man it is said that that creation was very good.

GENESIS.
CHAPTER 1

 31. And God saw everything that he had made and that it was very good. There was evening, then morning-the sixth day.

In fact, as we know, man was created in the image of God.

GENESIS,
CHAPTER 1.

 27. So God made people in his own image. God made people as a copy of himself. God made them male and female.

And that involved perfection.

But then man was disobedient and rebellious and sin was introduced into God’s perfect creation.

With it came imperfection, corruption and decay, division and separation, a curse instead of blessing.

These things even affected the natural environment. Disease followed and death affected the animal and plant kingdom as well. The pollution and corruption, in its many forms spread throughout all God’s creation.

Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge and evil. As a result new emotions entered into man’s experience, things such as fear, shame and guilt. Man had acquired a conscience.

GENESIS.
CHAPTER 3.

10. The man said, “I heard you walking in the garden, and I was afraid. I was naked, so I hid.”
11. The Lord God said to the man, “Who told you that you were naked? {What caused you to be ashamed?} Did you eat fruit from that special tree? I told you not to eat from that tree!”

And as a result of the sin that had corrupted mankind God had to shut man out of His presence.

GENESIS.
CHAPTER 3.

23. therefore the LORD God expelled the man from the garden of Eden so he would work the ground from which he had been taken.

It was never God’s intention to exclude man from His presence, it was man’s act pf disobedience that brought that result. Death and separation were to be the punishment for man’s rebellion.

GENESIS.
CHAPTER 2.

 17. But you must never eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because when you eat from it, you will certainly die.”

So man was now subject to death, both physical death, and spiritual death which means separation from God

But immediately God began to implement His plan to rescue man from this terrible situation. Throughout the Old Testament God initiated ways for man to come into His presence. But always there was a debt to be paid.

You see the Bible, as we know, declares the following.

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 6.

 23. When people sin, they earn what sin pays—death. But God gives his people a free gift—life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And the wages that sin pays are not a credit but a debt. And in order to be acceptable to God and once more enjoy His presence that debt needs to be paid.

Therefore God initiated a means by which the children of Israel could come into His presence. It took the form of animal sacrifices and this was the only way that man could approach God. The debt of sin had to be met by death, the death of an animal.

HEBREWS.
CHAPTER 9.

 22. The law says that almost everything must be made clean by blood. And sins cannot be forgiven without blood (death).

But these animal sacrifices had to be repeated over and over and countless animals lost their lives so that man could have limited access to God.

But it was always God’s intention that the debt that sin created should be removed and that His human creation would be permanently restored to a position of being without blame and once again faultless as in the original creation so that they were no longer expelled or shut out but invited into God’s presence and into a lasting relationship with Himself.

We are included in  God’s plan to rescue the human race, to save us from the consequences of our sin and the debt it imposed.

EPHESIANS.
CHAPTER 1.

 4. according as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

Sin is abhorrent to a holy God and only perfection can exist in His presence. That was true even for a man like Moses.

EXODUS.
CHAPTER 33.

 20. But you can’t see my face. No person can see me and continue to live.

So we can only be considered as being rescued, as being restored, if we are sinless, rather than sinful.

So how was that to be achieved? What would make us blameless?

I want us to consider two spiritual concepts – justification and sanctification. It is through these that access to God could be achieved permanently.

Let us deal firstly with justification.

What is justification? If we consider a spectrum then, at one end, a negative one, is condemnation, at the other end, the positive end, is justification. Condemnation and justification are opposites. The one is opposed to the other. The contrast is shown in this verse.

MATTHEW.
CHAPTER 12.

 37. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.

We could just as easily relabel the ends of the spectrum as “guilty” and “not guilty” because in basic terms that is what justification is, the removal of all guilt.

Because we inherited Adam’s sinful nature, all of mankind start at the negative end, at the end labelled condemnation.

Some experts try to tell us that all babies are born good and only become bad because of their environment, or because they learn to become bad. This is not what the Bible teaches and what our own experience also reveals. One of the first words in the vocabulary of an infant is the word “No!” which is a word expressing rebellion and defiance.

And as we grow from infancy that rebellious spirit within us leads us to rebel against God Himself in the breaking of the rules He has set for the benefit of us all, rules that are set for the harmonious functioning of society, for positive relationships between individuals, rather than allowing the opposite, chaos, disorder, confusion, treachery.

So we are born with an evil nature because we are human and have inherited Adam’s DNA. But then we ourselves go on to commit our own indiscretions and add to our inherited guilt.

So here is the dilemma. How to move from condemnation to justification?

It goes without saying that we cannot achieve that shift by our own actions. Our corrupted natures would never allow us to reach perfection which is the only way to be justified.

Well what about a fellow human being. That is not possible either.

PSALMS.
PSALM 49.

 7. No man can redeem the life of another, nor can he give to God a sufficient payment for him
8. for it would cost too much to redeem his life, and the payments would go on forever—

All fellow human beings are in the same boat as you and me. They, too are all as guilty as we are.

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 3.

 23. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

PSALMS.
PSALM 143.

 2. and do not enter into judgment with Your servant; for not anyone living is just in Your sight.

God gave the children of Israel certain laws which we know as the Law of Moses. These laws contained the Ten Commandments. If I keep them would that achieve the shift from condemnation to justification?

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 3.

 20. For no one is put right in God’s sight by doing what the Law requires; what the Law does is to make us know that we have sinned.

But here is the problem.

JAMES.
CHAPTER 2.

 10. And you might follow all of God’s law. But if you fail to obey only one command, then you are guilty of breaking all the commands in that law.

We have already discussed animal sacrifices which were all part of that same Law of Moses, and may have achieved a temporary shift towards justification. But unless repeated over and over again they are of no effect. Man’s guilt could be covered for a time but not removed.

HEBREWS.
CHAPTER 10.

 1. The law gave us only an unclear picture of the good things coming in the future. The law is not a perfect picture of the real things. The law tells people to offer the same sacrifices every year. The people who come to worship God continue to offer those sacrifices. But the law can never make those people perfect.

And verse 4 of the same chapter is even more emphatic.

HEBREWS.
CHAPTER 10.

 4. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

So what does allow us to move from condemnation to justification, from guilty to not guilty? What will allow a guilty verdict to be overturned and for us to be declared to be “not guilty”?

Let us reflect for a moment on what is required. We know that the debt we owed brings the penalty of death. Yes, death is required to pay the debt, but something more than the death or animals. And we know that whatever or whoever endured this death had to be free from the effects of Adam’s sin. And it might be appropriate to again consider that all creation had come under a curse because of Adam’s disobedience so nothing in all creation would really be sufficient. The sacrifice required would need to come from a source outside of creation.

And this is where the Godhead steps in. Jesus comes to earth and demonstrates that He will be that perfect sacrifice and takes our sin debt, which, for us, involved physical death, and separation and exclusion from the presence of a holy God. To absolve us from what we owed He had to endure the same – physical death and separation from God.

And at the cross He fully satisfied God’s demands against our sin.

So how do we receive the benefits of this means of justification? Do we have to earn it? No, we don’t.

It is made available to us as a gift. This is what the Bible says.

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 3.

 24. By his grace they are justified freely through the redemption that is in the Messiah Jesus,

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 5.

16. And there is a difference between God’s gift and the sin of one man. After the one sin, came the judgment of “Guilty”; but after so many sins, comes the undeserved gift of “Not guilty!”

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 5.

 18. Consequently, just as one offense resulted in condemnation for everyone, so one act of righteousness results in justification and life for everyone.

And we can accept that gift from Jesus through faith, through believing what God says about this justifying death that Jesus died. We accept that He died for me.

ACTS.
CHAPTER 13.

 39. and in him all that believe are justified from all the things from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 3.

 26. for the shewing, I say, of his righteousness at this present season: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus.

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 3.

28. We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

GALATIANS.
CHAPTER 2.

 16. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

In fact no action, no effort of any sort on our part will achieve justification.

So anyone who has faith to believe, and wishes to be free from the debt that sin imposed on him/her can be relieved of that debt, be forgiven, and once more enjoy the presence of God.

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 10.

 10. For it is by our faith that we are put right with God; it is by our confession that we are saved.

This is what the Bible says –

COLOSSIANS.
CHAPTER 1.

20. God was also pleased to bring everything on earth and in heaven back to himself through Christ. He did this by making peace through Christ’s blood sacrificed on the cross.
21. Once you were separated from God. The evil things you did showed your hostile attitude.
22. But now Christ has brought you back to God by dying in his physical body. He did this so that you could come into God’s presence without sin, fault, or blame.

Our salvation in its beginning, progress and in its end, as we will see, is the Lord’s. There is nothing of us in it and its enjoyment except to recognise our need and to have faith in what has been done, and as shall see to live a holy life in our present walk with God.

Through Jesus, and Jesus alone, we have forgiveness, we are made clean and we move from condemnation to justification. Only Jesus could bridge the gulf between the two. Only Jesus could move our position from condemnation to justification, from guilty to not guilty

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 5.

 9. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 8.

 1. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

And no condemnation means justification.

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 8.

 33. Who will accuse God’s chosen people? God himself declares them not guilty!
34. Who, then, will condemn them? Not Christ Jesus, who died, or rather, who was raised to life and is at the right side of God, pleading with him for us!

Sin is abhorrent to a holy God and, as we have seen, only perfection can exist in His presence. And we can only be considered as being rescued from our guilty state if we are sinless rather than sinful.

So every believer in the completed work of Christ is justified, found not guilty of any wrongdoing and is acceptable to God. He/She is in a state of peace with a righteous God.

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 5.

 1. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

And this brings us to the next topic – sanctification. In essence the word means to make clean or holy. But this concept is somewhat more difficult, because like many other spiritual concepts it comes in three parts, the past, the present and the future.

Let us look back at the past.

Here is what the book of Hebrews says –

HEBREWS.
CHAPTER 13.

 12. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate.

And similar verses in Colossians and Corinthians.

COLOSSIANS.
CHAPTER 1.

 21. And you, who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled
22. in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish, and without charge in His sight,

1 CORINTHIANS.
CHAPTER 1.

 30. You are partners with Christ Jesus because of God. Jesus has become our wisdom sent from God, our righteousness, our holiness, and our ransom from sin.

1 CORINTHIANS.
CHAPTER 6.

 11. In the past, some of you were like that. But you were washed clean, you were made holy, and you were made right with God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

But because of our old nature inherited from Adam we needed changing. And that is just what God did. The Bible speaks about us becoming new creatures and about us being born again.

2 CORINTHIANS.
CHAPTER 5.

 17. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

JOHN.
CHAPTER 3.

7. Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again.

We needed a fresh start, a clean start, and that is what the work of Christ did for us. We have received forgiveness and cleansing and in God’s eyes we are completely holy and without sin. That is now our position in Christ.

HEBREWS.
CHAPTER 10.

 9. Then he said, “Here I am, O God, to do your will.” So God does away with all the old sacrifices and puts the sacrifice of Christ in their place.
10. Because Jesus Christ did what God wanted him to do, we are all purified from sin by the offering that he made of his own body once and for all.

But we know that practically that is not the case. You see Jude not only in his doxology speaks about us being presented blameless and in v1 about us being sanctified, but also speaks about us needing to be preserved.

JUDE.

 1. Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:
2. Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.

The need for preservation suggests dangers. And yes they exist. We continue to be exposed to adverse influences and to numerous enemies which are at war with our souls. Jude brought this to our attention in the first part of his letter.

We face similar dangers and we need to be watchful. We face danger from the traitorous suggestions of our own hearts; and from the allurement, or the intimidation of the outside world.

There will be a faultless presentation in the future but we need preservation now. And we have already seen that Jude speaks about stumbling.

The truth is that our body of sin and death is carried by us to the grave. Have you ever wondered why our souls and spirits return to God and last for ever but our bodies go to the grave and decay? I believe that it is for the simple reason that they are still not perfect but carry the curse of Adam’s sin and still need changing before they are fit to enter the sinless environment of heaven.

And it is in these impure bodies that we must live the Christian life.

Listen to what the apostle Paul says and reflect that if this was his experience then we would surely expect that it would be what we would face as well. There are quite a few verses involved but let us read them anyhow.

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 7.

17. So I am no longer the one who is doing the things I hate, but sin that lives in me is doing them.
18. I know that nothing good lives in me; that is, nothing good lives in my corrupt nature. Although I have the desire to do what is right, I don’t do it.
19. I don’t do the good I want to do. Instead, I do the evil that I don’t want to do.

23. However, I see a different standard at work throughout my body. It is at war with the standards my mind sets and tries to take me captive to sin’s standards which still exist throughout my body.
24. What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from my dying body?
25. I thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ rescues me! So I am obedient to God’s standards with my mind, but I am obedient to sin’s standards with my corrupt nature.

And we also learn from these verses that our walk in righteousness is not just God’s responsibility but ours as well. In God’s sight we are sanctified and He, in His goodness, will be there to preserve us and to keep us from stumbling but we need to do our part as well.

The Bible quite clearly says these things –

1 PETER.
CHAPTER 1.

15. But because the God who called you is holy you must be holy in every aspect of your life.
16. Scripture says, “Be holy, because I am holy.”

2 CORINTHIANS.
CHAPTER 7.

 1. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

2 PETER.
CHAPTER 3.

 11. Since all these things will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people should you be? Your lives should be holy and dedicated to God,

And we need to remember that we now serve a new Master, One who is righteous and holy.

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 6.

 18. And since you have been freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness.

And we need to show allegiance to God by living as we should.

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 12.

 1  Therefore, brothers, I call on you through the compassions of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service.

We should therefore be making progress to being more like our New Master, to becoming more mature Christians.

EPHESIANS.
CHAPTER 4.

 15. Instead, as we lovingly speak the truth, we will grow up completely in our relationship to Christ, who is the head.

Our aim should be to reach for the goal of perfection, no matter how distant it might be, and to be pressing on, to be persevering in the quest for a holy life.

PHILIPPIANS.
CHAPTER 3.

 14. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

That progress may not be straight line but full of failings. However these failings ought to be superseded by many victories. And though jagged the trend should be nearer and nearer towards holy living, to be an upward trend. What progress are we making toward that goal?

And to help us God gives us tools to use

GALATIANS.
CHAPTER 5.

 16. If you are guided by the Spirit, you won’t obey your selfish desires.

2 CORINTHIANS.
CHAPTER 3.

 18. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lor

Then there is God’s Word, the Bible and the promises it contains.

JOHN.
CHAPTER 17.

 17.Use the truth to make them holy. Your words are truth.

2 CORINTHIANS.
CHAPTER 7.

 1. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

We need to effectively use these tools.

So to conclude we are justified, declared “not guilty” and freed from condemnation when we exercise faith in Christ’s work of salvation and at the same time we are sanctified, made holy, our sins are all forgiven and we are made clean in the sight of God. But at present we still live in a corrupt body and as we live the Christian life, in essence, the daily battle against temptation continues.

Perhaps we need to hear one final instruction,

ROMANS.
CHAPTER 13.

 14. Instead, live like the Lord Jesus Christ did, and forget about satisfying the desires of your sinful nature.

And we will need to wait until next time to see how the journey ends.

 

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