I love a good benediction. There is something about the blessing spoken over me that I appreciate. I feel prepared to go out and do what the Spirit has directed me to do. If I were writing a letter to a congregation of believers, that’s how I end it. Especially in today’s climate. I would pray for love and grace to abound, unity among believers, strength to endure, and healing for bodies and souls.
However, Jude—the half brother of Jesus and a younger son of Mary of Nazareth—doesn’t conclude his letter this way.
Jude’s prayer for believers comes at the beginning of his letter. After teaching us to contend for the faith, and spot the ungodly teachers, Jude instructs us to look inward, then outward. Now he directs us upward toward God. Our only appropriate response is a doxology—an expression of praise to God!
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.Jude 1:24–25 NIV
This doxology is one of eighteen in the New Testament. They each follow a prescribed pattern: addressee, honor, duration, and response.1
Jude addresses his doxology to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. Our song of praise must be directed to the one true God—Jehovah (Isaiah 44:6). We recognize that he provided salvation to all by giving his son, Jesus (1 John 4:14). We acknowledge that as Jesus’s servants (Luke 1:38), we submit to him as lord, living by his Spirit.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.Titus 2:11–12 NIV
Jude continues to praise our God who is able to keep us from stumbling. Together, we confirm that God has both the ability and the authority to keep us into eternity because he has the power and the right to do what he pleases. “[E]ven though the godly might be tested, tempted, and at times, trip, because God is powerful enough to do it, He will be faithful to keep them from falling forever.”2
He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.1 Corinthians 1:8–9 NIV
God will also present us before his glorious presence without fault with great joy. We confess that without Jesus’s blood washing us clean, we would be destroyed in God’s presence. (Colossians 1:22, Hebrews 9:14). On that great day, we will rejoice as we stand before him. We can’t truly imagine the joy we’ll experience when we are actually in his presence (Psalm 68:3)!
But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy.Psalm 68:3 NLT (Revelation 19:7)
After making it clear who he is addressing, Jude gives him honor—glory, majesty, power, and authority. With Jude, we focus on God’s supernatural attributes, his amazing person, and his unlimited abilities. We declare these things to be true of God and exalt him.
“Glory” is the effulgent radiance of God, “majesty” His transcendence, “dominion” His absolute power, and “authority” His freedom of action.3—Dr. Thomas L. Constable
We celebrate his glory expressed in Jesus, the representation of all God is (John 1:14). We declare his majesty, greatness, and grandeur—his kingship—which inspires awe in us (1 Chronicles 29:11). We pay tribute to his dominion, his power to do whatever he pleases, not as tyrant or a despot but with perfect goodness (Isaiah 40:10–11). While we struggle to imagine loving power, we are grateful for it. And recognizing his absolute right to do whatever he pleases, we lift up God’s authority. That he pleases to save us and give us unlimited gifts of grace, life, peace, and mercy (Luke 1:52–53) deserves our humble thanks.
Jude then recognizes the duration of these characteristics as before all ages, now and forevermore. Our finite minds cannot fathom a being who has always existed and will continue to exist. But this fact of his eternal nature makes him worthy of our worship and trust.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.Psalm 90:2 NIV (Hebrews 13:8)
We can only respond as Jude does with Amen. With this little word, we mean, “so it is” or “let it be.” We’re saying “I agree with what you’ve just said. I think it should be that way. I accept, follow, agree, and affirm this.” YES! AMEN!
Jude’s letter started with prayer and ends with praise. Let me do likewise as I conclude this series:
To our only God, the source of truth and love, judgment and mercy,
To the Son who offered himself as a sacrifice for our sin,
To the Holy Spirit who fills us with his presence,
to him who called us into his kingdom, loves us faithfully, and keeps us for eternity,
be praise, thankfulness, and adoration
in the past, present, and future eternity.
Yes, so it is!
My friends, thank you for journeying through Jude with me. It hasn’t been easy but it has been good. As we make our way through a world full of conflicting beliefs, my prayer is that you will contend for the faith, build yourselves up in God’s love, and know without a doubt that you are kept for Christ and will be presented blameless before him. And you will experience great joy! Live confidently in that truth and mercifully demonstrate it to others.
1 Jackie Hill Perry, Jude: Contending for the Faith in Today’s Culture, (Nashville, TN: LifeWay Press, 2020), 158.
2 Perry, 161.
3 Dr. Thomas L. Constable, https://www.planobiblechapel.org/tcon/notes/html/nt/jude/jude.htm