Friday, 7 August 2020
…keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Jude -21
Jude just gave a couple of exhortations to which he adds on a couple more, beginning with, “keep yourselves in the love of God.”
There are two ways of viewing these words –
- God’s love toward us, or
- Our love toward God.
On the surface, it would appear the latter is what Jude is speaking of. We can keep our love toward God, but how can we keep God’s love toward us. However, that isn’t really a valid argument because it isn’t speaking of active love. Instead, it refers to the state – “in” the love. God is love. It defines Him. We move in relation to Him, not the other way around. He is fixed and unchanging. Therefore, it is actually just as likely that this is speaking of our existence in the sphere of God’s love.
This is because the previous clause said, “praying in the Holy Spirit.” In our drawing near to Him in such a way, it would then keep us close to Him and in His sphere of love. A counterargument, however, is that each of the four exhortations in this verse is a duty of the individual – building yourselves up, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves, looking for.
But, again, there is the tense of each verb. Three are present participles, but this one, “keep,” is an aorist imperative verb. And so, again, it appears that this is speaking of the duty to keep oneself in God’s love toward us. Either way, the exhortation comes down to the thought that we are to maintain a relationship with God which is based on love. One thing is for sure, if we love God, we will attempt to actively remain in His love. Both directions are implied in Jesus’ words of John 15 –
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 15:9, 10
Jude next says, “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.” As noted earlier, the verb here is a present participle. It applies to every believer in the church age. We are to be “looking for the mercy.” In other words, this is probably referring to Christ’s coming for His people. It would then reflect Paul’s words of Titus 2 –
“…looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:13
At that time, the mercy which first began to be revealed at the cross of Calvary will finally be realized in its fulness for God’s people. Just as we are saved, and yet awaiting the completion of our salvation, we have also received mercy, but are awaiting the completion of that mercy which is “unto eternal life.”
Again, at this time we have been granted eternal life, but we are awaiting the realization of that by faith. We watch fellow Christians die, but we believe they will be raised again. We face our own mortality, but we believe we too shall be raised. The word speaks of faith, and so we are to look ahead with faith.
Life application: We can organize this thought thus – “By praying in the Holy Spirit, you will build yourselves up in the most holy faith and keep yourselves in the love of God.” As believers, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit the very moment we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This action is permanent, and the believer is eternally saved. However, living in the Spirit involves continual action.
A believer can never get more of the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit can get more of the believer. This occurs as we yield ourselves to God through continual prayer. This doesn’t have to be “on the knees in the closet” prayer. Rather, it is a state of life where we talk to the Lord every moment – thanking Him for each blessing received, petitioning Him for each desire as it comes, and acknowledging His hand in each event that occurs. This is how we keep ourselves in the love of God and how we build up our most holy faith.
In this ongoing mindset, we are always expectant of the “mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ” to take us “unto eternal life.” This then is the goal of our salvation. We live it out with the prayer in our breath, and we look forward to it as we would anticipate the feeling of a cooling rain on the horizon as we stand in a dry land watching it approach. The anticipation of Christ’s return, and the mercy it will bring from this walk of woes, should be our very heart’s desire.
Lord Jesus, turn our hearts to become continuously and permanently in tune with Your will and with Your presence in our lives. May we always remember the words of Paul as he spoke to the Athenians – “…in Him we live and move and have our being.” As this is so, keep reminding us of this fact so that You will be in our hearts and on our lips always. Amen.