Keep Yourselves in the Love of God
The above phrase is from Jude 21. Jude is exhorting Christians to contend earnestly for the faith in the book, for some had crept into local churches posing as believers, just as wolves would come into the fenced pen of the sheep. But it does not take long to find out and see who those ungodly persons are who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Licentiousness is a lacking legal or moral restraint, a disregard for strict rules or correctness. These would not be regenerate people, but lacking a Spirit filled life. These are like clouds without water, autumn trees without fruit, wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam. So, in the verse preceding 21, we see two exhortations to help us keep ourselves in the love of God.
So, unlike these in the last days, mockers, that cause divisions, worldly minded, devoid of the Spirit, we are exhorted in verse 20, to build ourselves up in our most holy faith. The great diamond, the title of our article above from verse 21, is surrounded by three participles, or lesser jewels. Building, praying, and looking or waiting. The exhortation of building is given to us, we are responsible for our own spiritual growth, working out our own salvation, even though He is at work in us both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Phil.2:13) He does the keeping, (1Peter 1:5), but we must do the building, like building a house on the rock. (Math.7:24) We cannot entrust our spiritual growth to someone else. No one can make another person grow in his relationship with the Lord, though there are those that can come along to help us. It is not a let go and let God attitude we need to have, but a trust God and get going attitude we must have.
As we put one block of Godly living upon another as we grow in our spiritual maturity, it should look something like the Apostle Peter mentions in 2Peter 1:5-11, where he says applying all diligence in your faith supply moral excellence..., we just don't float through our Christian life. Diligence makes faith fruitful. Christians who just float get into grave peril. This godliness just does not happen. Growth in godliness requires diligence. It’s a steady, earnest, energetic effort put forth, devoted and painstaking work and application to accomplish a goal. And how does the word of God show His delight in it? Prov.12:27, The precious possession of a man is diligence. Precious describing something of great value, something to be prized and sought after.
Gold, silver, precious stones, and not wood, hay, and stubble is what we should be building with. The fire one day in the future will test the quality of each man's work. Those precious promises in His word will do us good in knowing them, Peter wrote that believers should desire the word for spiritual growth just like the baby desires milk for physical growth. There is no substitute for it. Commentator Alexander MacLaren says, "What Jude says is just this, ‘Your trust in Jesus Christ has in it a tendency to produce holiness, and that is the foundation on which you are to build a great character.’" It is a lifelong task, a brick by brick, course by course undertaking that you can be sure He will bless by your diligence to take on such a task. And you can be sure He will be with you building the character He wants you to be. Next week, Jude goes on to say on this building to do it "upon your most holy faith." What does that mean? ‘Til then, make every effort to distinguish yourselves from others by living a Godly life because that is the design and end of your election.
Elder Randy Slak