Jesus was confident that His sheep were safe. That those who heard His voice, believed in His name, and were brought into His fold would have eternal life and would never perish (John 10:28-29). If the Father had given His Son these sheep, then no one, and nothing, could snatch them from His hand.
Paul had the same confidence. Writing to the Romans, Paul is pretty sure, as in certain beyond any doubt, that nothing is able to separate the child of God from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. “Neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation” (Rom. 8:38-39).
So Jude’s words kind of jump off the page this morning when he writes, “keep yourselves in the love of God.”
But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. (Jude 20-21 ESV)
Nothing can separate us from the love of God, yet we are to keep ourselves in the love of God. So what’s that about?
It’s NOT ABOUT us maintaining our salvation. Not about us having do do something in order to retain God’s favor. For if it was, and if we failed, then Paul would be wrong–something or someone could separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.
No, it’s not about us doing something so that what God has done won’t somehow be undone. Instead, in a world that grows increasingly dark around us, with circumstances that can weigh more and more heavily upon us, and with a “here and now” that can relentlessly try to take our eyes off of our “there and then,” Jude says in effect, “Keep taking practical steps to remind yourself of your positional reality.”
Practical steps like building ourselves up in our faith–something we do with other believers. Practical steps like praying and engaging heaven’s ear–something we do with the Holy Spirit. And practical steps like waiting for the end of the salvation wrought by His mercy and grace–something we do with an eye to the sky, knowing His return is soon.
Building, praying, waiting . . . all ways of keeping.
Keeping ourselves in the love of God. Guarding the truth that we have been loved by the Son, just as the Son has been loved by the Father (John 15:9).
Loved with an everlasting love. Loved with an uninhibited love–so uninhibited the Son humbled Himself to death, even the shameful death of the cross. Loved with an adoptive love, evident by the Spirit who leads us to cry, “Abba Father.” Loved with an exalting love, even lifting us up and seating us in the heavenlies. Loved with a consummating love, realized fully when the Bride stands before her Bridegroom, presented in the glory and splendor not of her own-making, but of His work in her through the eternal power of the cross, the eternal presence of the blood, and the eternal promise of His love.
These things are true always. Ours is to remain in them daily.
His love is forever. Mine is to keep myself in it today.
Possible because of grace. Desirable for His glory.