Harry Whittaker

11. Doxology (v24-25)

The apostle Paul has two wonderful doxologies, glorifying God for what He has done for His redeemed in Christ:

"Now unto him that is able to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ...." (Rom. 16:25).
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that ask or think...." (Eph. 3:29).

But Jude surpasses even these transcendant expressions of faith:

"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory...."

If Jude had written nothing but these words the New Testament would have been much the poorer with them.

There is a contrast here in the words for "keep". In v. 21, "keep yourselves by means of the divine Love Feast" indicates a contribution which the believer can make towards his own spiritual well-being, by the simple act of presenting himself, though faulty, before the presence of the Glory of the Lord. But, once there, he is caused to stand faultless, guarded from falling away.

Prophets of the Lord, splendid men that they were, prostrated themselves before the heavenly Glory, overpowered by a sense of their own unworthiness. Yet Jesus had bidden his men "watch and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36).

Such faultless standing may be the disciple's status even now (yet what a contrast with the searing language of vv. 12,13), because he has a covering sacrifice of "a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Pet. 1:19). So Peter might well exhort to diligence "that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless" (2 Pet. 3:14). The Lord's Righteous Servant justifies many, bearing their iniquities (Isa. 53:11), but only if they give diligence are they guarded from falling away, and so presented "blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 1:8; 2 Thes. 3:13). Yet, also, some are so set on achieving in the Last Day a credit balance of good marks over against bad marks that they fail to realise that, both then and now, there are only two conditions, either faultless or fallen.
The language of this amazing passage is that of the Day of Atonement. "Before the presence of his glory" pictures the High Priest in the Holy of Holies. "Faultless, without blemish" describes the sacrifice offered and accepted, hence the mention of the Glory. But whereas Israel, called to repeat this ceremony of atonement year after year, heard the commandment: "Ye shall afflict your souls" (Lev. 16:29,31), that is, go fasting all the day, this New Israel partakes of Bread and Wine "with exceeding joy", thankful for a sacrifice without blemish offered once for all.

For all this, praise is given to "God our Saviour", but only "through Jesus Christ our Lord". The highest "glory, majesty, dominion and power" comes to Him through His glorious Son. Very strangely, the A.V. omits this most necessary clause about Christ (it has very strong manuscript support), and also "before all time" (literally: before the age) to link with "now and ever" -- this is the Covenant Name Jehovah, "which is, and was, and is to come" (Rev. 1:8). Could Jude end on a better note?

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