A Study of Jude
Parting Words: A Praise of Hope and Assurance (Jude 24-25)
“Self-love may lead us to prayers, but love to God excites us to praises.” ~ Thomas Manton
The purpose of Jude’s letter is to encourage his readers to contend earnestly for their faith. This command becomes extremely urgent in light of individuals who have crept in the church and seek to undermine the authority of Scripture. The author pens these closing words in verses 24-25 to summarize this epistle and to provide one final word of encouragement. These final words remind the readers of God’s character, His promises to those who love Him, and His faithfulness for all eternity.
II. The Content (vv. 24-25)
A doxology is a short, spontaneous ascription of praise to God which frequently appears as a conclusion to prayers, hymns’ expressions, and letters (e.g., Rom 16:25-27; 2 Pet 3:18). Jude’s doxology contains the typical four components:
- acknowledgment of who is to be praised
- attributes ascribed to the one who is praised
- the extent of the praise that is to be given
- the concluding “amen” to what is stated
v. 24 – Typical of doxologies, Jude’s closing prayer is theocentric. Rather than looking to what his readers can do, Jude calls for their attention to be addressed to the sovereign Lord.
Note the contrast between what the Lord will not allow them to do versus what He will enable them to do. First, the Lord will keep them from falling. While the wicked would seek to lay traps and waylay the righteous (Pss 140:4-5; 141:9), God preserves the path of the righteous (e.g., Pss 66:9; 73:2; 121:3).
Second, Jude assures his readers that, with God’s help, they will stand. Rather than falling into unbelief (Rom 11:20) or succumbing to the forces of evil (Eph 6:11, 13-14), the believers will be established in faith (Rom 16:25). Jude provides the following clarifications concerning this standing:
- Rejoicing. This rather unique term for “joy” is used frequently in the later New Testament writings to speak of the future when Christians will stand with Christ in His glory (1 Pet 4:13; Rev 19:6-7). The eschatological expectation is rooted in an unshakable faith in God and an understanding that righteousness will be vindicated.
The Puritan prayer summarizes it well: “There is no joy like the joy of heaven, for in that state are no sad divisions, unchristian quarrels, contentions, evil designs, wariness, hunger, cold, sadness, sin, suffering, persecutions, toils of duty. O healthful place where none are sick! Oh happy land where all are kings! How free a state where none are servants except to thee! Bring me speedily to the land of joy.”
- Without blemish. The term was used in reference to sacrificial animals which were flawless (Heb 9:14). The Lord will complete His saving work on that day.
- Before His glorious presence. While the references to “rejoicing” and “pure” can be comprehended, the amazing statement resides with this final clause. The thought that we, as humans, will not be kneeling, crawling, or even seated, but standing before the Lord is incomprehensible! One scholar writes, “The ‘glory of the Lord’ was intimately tied up with theophany—the mighty and ominous arrival of God, an arrival that dramatically subdues evil” (Newman, “Glory,” in DNLT, 396). Without blemish, God’s people will stand in the very radiance of God Almighty (Rev 22:3-4).
v. 25 – In a pluralistic society, Jude reiterates that all praise goes solely to God (Deut 6:4-9). The command is exclusive and is non-negotiable! One commentator aptly asks, “What idols might we be worshipping even as we recite these words? God is the only God; he demands all of our worship and obedience, and nothing must rival our affections for him” (Moo, 2 Peter, Jude, 303).
Observe that Jude refers to God as Savior—a concept common in the Old Testament (see Deut 32:15; Ps 65:5).
The phrase “through Jesus Christ” could indicate that He is the mediator of God’s salvation (e.g., 2 Clem 20:5). However, the phrase could be seen with the four following attributes. If this is the case, then Christ is the one who mediates the glory and authority to God the Father (e.g., Rom 16:27; 1 Pet 4:11). Either option is viable; and in fact, the phrase could be ambiguous to indicate both options (see Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter, 124).
In keeping with his letter, Jude highlights four attributes of God. What is unusual, however, is that Jude breaks with his standard use of speaking in “three’s”. Why would Jude alter his use of a triad in this verse?
Note the attributes Jude ascribes to the Lord:
- Glory. Already mentioned in verse 24, glory speaks of the awesomeness of God, His dignity and respect, and the honor due Him (see Collins, NIDOTTE, 2:577-87). “To give God glory is not to add something to him; rather, it is an active acknowledgement or extolling of what he is or has already done (Pss 29:2; 96:8)” (O’Brien, “Benediction, Blessing, Doxology, Thanksgiving,” in DPL, 69).
- Majesty. Used only of God in Hebrews 1:3 and 8:1, this term refers to God’s “greatness and preeminence”. “These two attributes [glory and majesty] place in high relief the importance of not turning away from the One who holds the most honorable position. They therefore frame the whole argument of the epistle. To dishonor such a one would be unconscionable” (Green, Jude and 2 Peter, 136).
- Power. A common term in doxologies (1 Tim 6:16; 1 Pet 5:11), this term speaks of God’s sovereignty.
- Authority. The Lord is in control; and He alone possesses the might to vindicate His name.
“before all time, and now, and for all eternity” – In this most extensive indication of time in all of the New Testament doxologies, Jude clearly indicates that these previously listed attributes of God are “inherently God’s throughout all time” (Green, 136).
In referring to the use of ‘amen’ at the end of a doxology, one scholar writes, “The ‘amen’ makes it clear that Paul’s ascription of praise is not simply a matter of the lips, but is the spontaneous response of his whole being” (O’Brien, “Benediction, Blessing, Doxology, Thanksgiving,” in DPL, 69).
A. Joy in the future should result in our rejoicing in the present. Christ-followers should be the most cheerful humans walking this globe!
Philippians 4:4 –
B. The God of the past is the same God who is working today and is guaranteeing our future!
Hebrews 13:8 –
C. We shouldn’t wait until our death bed to look to the Lord. Remember Jude’s call for all believers to “remain in God’s love”. It is an ongoing activity, whether we are 4, 40, or 140 years of age.
2 Timothy 4:5-8 –
“This life was not intended to be the place of our perfection, but the preparation for it.”
~ Richard Baxter
For further thought . . .
Based upon our study this morning, I invite you to spend some additional time this week reflecting on the following:
Observe the use of “joy” in the Book of Philippians. Be sure to note what brings Paul joy.
Philippians 1:4 –
Philippians 1:18 –
Philippians 1:25 –
Philippians 2:2 –
Philippians 2:17 –
Philippians 2:28-29 –
Philippians 4:1 –
Philippians 4:10 –
What brings you joy in your life? Does your life reflect Paul’s theology of joy? If not, takes some time to explore ways to align your understanding of joy better with Paul’s understanding of joy.
Commit to memory Philippians 4:4.