Word for the Week
Short reflections on Bible passages, with a frontline focus...
Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear – hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
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 Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
How do you sign off your emails? An article a few years ago explored the strange world of Christian email sign-offs. Whether you go for ‘Blessings’, ‘In Him’, or my new favourite, ‘Under Aslan’s Paw’, none compare to Jude’s final few words in this letter.
But first, he seeks to offer some closing advice to the Christians to whom he has been writing. He’s covered the dangers of false teachers, offered suggestions for how they can remain faithful despite difficult circumstances, and now he counsels them on ministering to one another, and particularly to those who have been adversely affected by the incorrect teaching.
‘Be merciful to those who doubt’, he urges. For those in our communities who are struggling to sift truth from lies, we are urged to be kind and merciful, generous with our time and prayers, and patient with their questions. Others who are close to abandoning the faith and unaware of the dangers may need a more direct approach: ‘snatch them from the fire’. But most of all, Jude is clear, we must remember: no-one is a lost cause.
And so we arrive at Jude’s closing sentence. God is ‘able to keep you from stumbling’ and to ‘present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy’. No-one – no matter how big their doubts or sinful their past – is beyond God’s protection. His grace is sufficient for all. He is able.
How is his grace sufficient? Through his glory, majesty, power, and authority. In these four words, Jude seeks to remind his readers of the one who blesses, preserves, and keeps them in the faith. God is able to do what is needed and more. He is the only God. He is the Saviour who can keep us from falling.
Jude leaves his readers with a reminder to hold onto God’s presence, safe in the knowledge that he is powerful and kind enough to protect us from all that seeks to harm us, and to bring us safely into his kingdom.
Admittedly, even fellow Christians might be a little perturbed if you were to end your emails with a sentence as effusive as Jude’s closing remarks. But even if we avoid this declaration as an email sign-off, this truth can still encourage our hearts and uphold our faith, now and in the days to come.