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God’s Love is a Steady State [10-1-23]

Updated: Nov 5, 2023


October 1, 2023

Jude

“God’s Love is a Steady State”


Before we explore the context and historical overview of Jude, we’re going to tackle a key point made in the first two verses. It’s a Biblical truth echoed throughout God’s Word. Jude leads off with it, with the understanding that his audience clearly understands it.


Here’s the passage:

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,

To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.


Now, for the essential issue raised. It’s right there in verse 1…to those who are called. Those who are called. Called by whom? Called for what? Called when? Called why? We’re going to be busy answering these questions. And

we’re going to do it with lots of Scripture.


First, what does Jude mean by those who are called?


Let’s set the foundation with a good working definition of the called:

BEFORE CREATION, NOT BASED ON AN FORESEEN FAITH, GOD DETERMINED TO GRANT SINNERS FAITH AND REPENTANCE, FORGIVING THEM AND ADOPTING THEM INTO HIS FAMILY OF ETERNAL JOY.

That clarifies things, right? Not much for me, either. But we’ll get there.


To those who are called. Jude opens his letter with such a beautiful truth. With that promise, we can face anything in life.


First, God gives salvation according to His own gracious purpose:

  • And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. {Acts 13:48}

  • And we know that for those who love God all things work

together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. {Romans 8:28-30}

  • In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will. {Ephesians 1:11}

  • Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. {2 Timothy 1:9}


Second, by His sovereign choice, God saves those whom He chose to save:

  • Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who

has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. {Ephesians 1:3-4}

  • For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. {1 Thessalonians 1:4-5}

  • But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. {2 Thessalonians 2:13-14}


That is where Jude is coming from when he writes, “To those who are called.” In other words, from before the foundation of the world, God chose whom He would save. And His choosing is not dependent on

anything we would do or believe.


Who determines who will be saved? We certainly don’t. The only way I’m saved is if I make the decision to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior? Who’s in the driver’s seat with that? Who has the final word? I do. Did God look down through the corridors of time, from before the foundation of the world, to see if I would accept Jesus so He could then make the decision to save me? That would make me the determiner of my salvation. God has to know what I’m going to do before He can act? Then that would make God dependent on me for the determination of my salvation.


Jude writes to those who are called. Not to those who made a decision to control their destiny.


Now, allow me license to make an assumption. Some are perhaps troubled by the fact that God saves some but not all. If we have no hand in our salvation…if it is God and God alone who saves whom He chooses, why wouldn’t God choose to save all people? We know that not all people are

devoted followers of Jesus Christ. Why, then, would God not ultimately leave our salvation up to us? If we are saved because we have chosen Christ and others are not saved because they have rejected Christ… therefore, God is not the author of their destruction. It all comes down to choice exercised through free will.


Let’s do a little supposing.


Suppose election, which is what Jude is talking about in verse one, is not true. Suppose that God, according to His determining will, made it so that every person will have an equal ability to either accept or reject Christ as Lord and Savior. This gift of salvation will come through the Savior who will die and be raised and who will be shared through the gospel story. The moment God determined to set up that system, God would have immediately known who would be saved and who wouldn’t be saved. So at the very moment God set up such a system, He would be by default choosing who would be saved and who wouldn’t. Some would get passed over. And we’d be at the same place. God could save everyone, but doesn’t.

Here's what Jesus says in The Gospel of John:

But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

  • 6:36-40

Notice what Jesus is saying. His saving mission is to rescue those chosen by the Father and given to him for that purpose.


Then, in John 10:16, Jesus says:

And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

We are saved because we are Jesus’ sheep…part of his flock, given by his

Father to die for on the cross. We are his. We were chosen from before the foundation of the world. As verses 26-27 say:

But you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Who are the sheep? Those chosen by God to hear the voice of the Shepherd. They are the ones who will believe and receive eternal life.


A few verses later, so there be no misunderstanding, Jesus says:

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.

  • 10:28-30


Make no mistake. We were not called to faith in Christ through our own virtue. Believing in Jesus Christ was not our doing. It was a gift from the steady state of God’s love. Nothing more, nothing less. Jude begins, in verse one, with a huge affirmation. It’s huger than anything else he could begin with. We are sheltered in the steady state of God’s love. It is God who called us to Christ. He gave us hearts and minds to follow His Son. Amen?


Here's why it’s so important to lead with this understanding of God’s electing grace. Especially for these first generation believers, but also for us, life is hard. We face all kinds of dangers, toils, and snares. And our culture presents all kinds of threats to faith. It was true then. And it’s true now. So what does Jude do? He says we are kept safely in the steady state of God’s love. God chose to save us, therefore it is God who keeps us safe. We are kept safe from harm in Jesus Christ. That is the promise to those whom God has called. Another amen? No matter what we experience or go through in life, all is well, because God chose to save us from before the foundation of the world. What a great affirmation to start a letter with.


Here's something you might want to write down:

GOD UPHOLDS THOSE WHOM HE HAS LOVED AND CHOSEN.

In other words, we are fearless in life because God has chosen us to proclaim His glory in a hostile world. It has nothing to do with us…cleverness or insight or special knowledge. As Paul spells it out in 1

Corinthians 1:27-31:

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”


Jude opens his letter with a strong affirmation. We’d expect nothing less from the brother of James. Let’s close today with the last thing you might want to write down:

WHAT GOD STARTS, HE FINISHES.

God chose to save you in Christ. That is our assurance. In life, and in death, we belong to him. Until next week:

SOLI DEO GLORIA…

To the Glory of God Alone


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