"My heart I give Thee, Lord, eagerly and earnestly." - John Calvin
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Jude, That Obscure Little Epistle, and the Doctrines of Grace
"Now unto Him that is able to keep you that ye fall not, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with joy, that is, to God only wise, our Savior, be glory and majesty and dominion and power, both now and forever, amen."
- Jude 1:24-25, Geneva Bible
I use the Geneva Bible here instead of my usual ESV for two reasons. One is that it simply has a loftier rhythm to it, to my ear, though there is no material difference between the two translations of these verses. And the other is because of the archaic use of pronouns that shows the use of the plural here. Jude isn't addressing a particular person, but rather the church as a whole.
One doesn't hear much about the Epistle of Jude. Not only is it painfully brief overall, but it also addresses a string of eschatological concerns, so it just doesn't get talked about as much as, for example, Paul's epistles. But here it explicitly touches on a doctrine that can be misused as a justification for spiritual complacency, but should, rather, serve as a great comfort to the struggling believer.
Notice how it combines major themes from other books of the Bible. Where Jude reminds us that God is able to keep us, we are reminded of the words on Jesus in John 10:28, "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand." And "to present us blameless before Him" recalls the words of Paul in Ephesians 1:4, "He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him." Thus, contrary to the view of most Baptists, our perseverance is grounded in His predestination of us. Then Jude justifies this perseverance as, not for our sakes, even as profitable as it is, but rather because of the glory it brings to God.
This is where I believe that the Calvinist rises above the Arminian: while the Arminian is concerned to preserve his own pride and supposed native righteousness, the Calvinist is concerned only with the glory of God and establishing His righteousness.
My name is Chris Cole. I have lived in the Charlotte, NC, area for over thirty years, and have been an active Presbyterian during most of that time. I love the Westminster Confession of Faith as a beautiful expression of my own personal beliefs.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I prefer the English Standard Version of the Bible, and all quotations are from the ESV, unless otherwise stated.
I have a number of reviews of Reformed books on Amazon. There is a link to them in the Reformed links below.
"Seeing [that] the Lord of lords, the Lord Jesus, is so ready (never was there king so ready to hear a subject as Jesus is), [even] if thou wert the vilest body that goes, a thief, a harlot, etc., yet if thou wilt say this, 'Lord, remember on me, and give me a part of thy kingdom'; - if thou prayest to him from a penitent heart, with confidence and assurance, I promise unto thee, heaven and earth shall go [fall] together ere thou wantest [lack] thine asking. Seeing [that] our Lord Jesus is so liberal [free-giving], then seek more than enough, more than a kingdom, and thou shalt get more. The only cause why we want [lack] is in us: we have no hearts to seek it." - Rev. Robert Rollock, Scottish Presbyterian minister, about 1590, in a commentary on Luke 23:42-43