But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,21keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. Jude
I hope my title caught your attention for those who have been living in the scriptures for some time will know that this statement is absurd. I can hear you saying that God can take care of his own Love. The image of the potter and the clay may come to your mind. Yet my title is one way that these verses from Jude can be translated concerning Gods love.
The NIV has ~ keep yourselves. It is interesting that all the major translation use the same phrase. The Greek word used by Jude is tre which has a sense of 'to attend to carefully.' But this concept of preserving Gods love in our life seems awkward to comprehend. I mean how can one do this? Should we can build a watch tower to observe Gods love in our life; when we can never be separated from his love; how can this be? It does not make sense. I trust you can follow my reasoning here.
Yet here in an obscure epistle we have this exhortation. In fact there was much heated debate when the cannon was being compiled for this insignificant epistle did not fit in. It was included then taken out again and fully accepted (Council of Nicea, a.d. 325 and Carthage, a.d. 397) It had the early church Fathers scratching their heads. Yet is not this imperative phrase the same as Jesus' word of 'Abide in my love?' I believe it is; hence on this basis we have the compulsion of the Holy Spirit to listen to God's word from these verse found at the bottom of Jude's letter.
When the letter was penned already the 'most holy faith' was being watered down as it was attacked by deceptive thoughts. Deluded believers had gone out from the faithful and were contending for the faith as taught by the apostles' cf verse 4.
We know how to keep ourselves in health, or on the correct side of our financial ledger. But to keep ourselves in the love of God! Yet this exhortation is something special and it behoves us to discover the meaning of this command. Take the word 'keep' ~ this suggests work on our part, in the sense that we have to do something to keep ourselves in the love of God. It will not just happen. It will not just fall into our lap. There is no folding of the hands here with a lazy floating dream mind set.
Can I suggest how we can do this courtesy of Jude and the Holy Spirit? I believe the focus of our spiritual life is to be: the Building, the Praying and the Waiting and by doing this Gods love will take care of itself. Hence as I see it the goals are not to be concerned about loving God more; but building up our doctrine, praying in Gods will and eagerly awaiting the return of Jesus.
Building, Praying and Waiting are all verbs which when I went to school are 'doing words;' but it is strange that many of us who have been born again seem to believe that we are on a holiday in Gods kingdom. We are called to do the works of Him who has called us. What are these works? To work out our salvation, requires effort on our part. To use the metaphor of being lights shining in the darkness; we have to continually trim our wick and have a constant supply of oil available.
Don't get me wrong, for we cannot by works be born again but once the birth of Christ has been placed in us by the super natural work of God we must cultivate that life within us. To fail to this is to make a mockery of the life of Christ within us.
There are plenty of illustrations in the scriptures that point to this work that has been prepared before the foundation of the world that we have been called to undertake. The Bible speaks using the illustrations of being athletes, farmers, boxers, servants, to push home that we must work out our salvation; along with Gods dealings with the Jewish nation.
We are without excuse for it is time O sleeper to wake up and begin to build, pray and watch. Building up our doctrine is to work out Gods truths with one hand fixed firmly on the cross. Praying in the spirit is to pray Gods will rather than our own will when we pray. Watching with eagerness for that great day keeps us grounded as to where our true home is and gives up the push to make disciples of all nations.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 byBiblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
If you ask anyone who has a strong and happy marriage, particularly one that has spanned decades, if you can simply put a marriage on auto-pilot in order for it to thrive and become even stronger, they would tell you no. The love might still be there but it becomes even richer and more precious when it is nurtured and cultivated. That is what came to my mind when I read that passage and your blog. God loves us but we miss something indescribably precious when we do not return or even respond to that love with love.
"Cultivate" I think says it very well. In Christ we are a new creation. Told over and over to grow, holdfast, to keep and abide.
Good teaching even if you did make me go want? at the start.