June 7, 2012

That's the God I Want

This month I have been studying the book of Jude.  It is such a small and often overlooked book.  Because it is just 25 verses, I decided to read it through each morning as part of my devotions.  That sounds really impressive when you think, "I read the book of Jude 30 times this month."  Ha!

Seriously, though.  The thing that floors me about this book is the incredible mercy we see.  These believers are completely surrounded by apostates.  They have even infiltrated the church, being part of their fellowship meals.  But God sent Jude to warn them so that they would be aware and be kept from falling into the same sin.

When I look back at my previous life, prior to salvation, and I think of where I could have ended up, this is what I see the Lord did for me.  I know so many who had far less trials than I faced and yet they have long since given their lives over to immorality, drugs, alcohol and a myriad of self destructive lifestyles.

But here I am.  Living a life full of joy and peace in the salvation of my sweet Jesus.  Isaiah 61:10 says, "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels."  This is such an amazing picture.

For one thing there is the beauty of realizing we are can always rejoice, no matter what, because we have the garments of salvation.  What is it we are failing to rejoice in today?

But then there is this, the main point I want to draw out, we have on HIS CLOTHES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.  I think the reason God used the picture of a bride and groom so often in picturing salvation is because that was a relationship the people understood as permanent.  When the bride and groom put on their wedding clothes, they were never not a bride or groom again.  It didn't matter if they wanted to run away and hide, they were stuck.  This is the relationship we have with our Jesus.

In the book of Jude, he begins and ends by addressing the security of the believer.  There are just 25 verses in the entire book and yet 2 of them deal with this issue.

WHY?

He wants to make it clear that no matter what sin they fall into or how far they stray they are still saved because their savior is all-powerful and can, indeed already has, and forever will keep them from the grip of death.  In verse 1 he says they are preserved in Jesus Christ and in verse 24 he tells us it is the job of our God to keep us from falling and present us faultless before the throne.  If it was up to us to stay saved, we would all be doomed.  However, the one who saves us is able to keep us until the judgement.

For which cause I also suffer these things:  nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.  2 Timothy 1:12

All through the book of Jude, he addresses on form of apostasy after another, each "worse" than the one before.  he even mentions the entire generation who were so sinful in their murmurings and disobedience that God let them die out in the wilderness before allowing the Israelites to conquer the Promise Land.  The author points to the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah and those destroyed cities.  Their sins were so wicked that neither the Israelites nor the inhabitants of those cities could inherit the blessings God had in store for them.  In fact, he ended their lives early, in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah and could not allow them to do any more work for him, in the case of the generation in the wilderness.

However, and this is the clever bit, Jude tells us after all that, the true believers who were falling into sin were still saved and kept by the grace of God.

Now, that's the God I want!

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