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"To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ." Jude 1:1
What a mercy it is for God’s people that before they have a vital union with Christ, before they are grafted into him experimentally—they have an eternal, immanent union with him before all worlds. It is this eternal union that brings them into time existence. It is by virtue of this eternal union that they come into the world at such a time, at such a place, from such parents, under such circumstances, as God has appointed. It is by virtue of this eternal union that the circumstances of their time-state are ordained. By virtue of this eternal union they are preserved in Christ before they are called; they cannot die until God has brought about a vital union with Christ.
Whatever sickness they may pass through, whatever injuries they may be exposed to, whatever perils assault them on sea or land, die they will not, die they cannot, until God’s purposes are executed in bringing them into a vital union with the Son of his love. Thus, this eternal union watched over every circumstance of their birth, watched over their childhood, watched over their manhood, watched over them until the appointed time and spot, when "the God of all grace," according to his eternal purpose, was pleased to quicken their souls, and thus bring about an experimental union with the Lord of life and glory.
"I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hell." Re 1:18
O what a mercy that he who was dead lives at God’s right hand! that he lives as a risen head; that he is not a dead Savior; but a Savior that lives for evermore; that can and does bless; that can and does comfort; that can and does bring the soul safely through all. He is not a Savior that stands as it were upon the brink of a river, and pulls us out when we have swum half way out ourselves; he is not a Savior that will take us half way to heaven, and then let us "fend or shift for ourselves". He must take us to heaven throughout. We are nothing, we have nothing without him. He must be, as he is, our "all in all." We value him in his death—nothing but his death could reconcile us to God; we value him in his life—nothing but his life can save. We need salvation now; salvation in the heart; a spiritual salvation revealed in and unto the soul; a salvation worthy of the name, wholly, fully, completely, finally, and everlastingly to the praise of super-abounding grace; an indestructible salvation, never to be lost; worthy of God, worthy of the God-man; adapted to every need of the soul, coming into every trial of the heart, and able to save the vilest and the worst, "without money and without price."
"But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit." Jude 1:20
By the words "most holy faith," we may understand chiefly the grand truths of the everlasting gospel which are revealed unto and embraced by faith. And they are called "our most holy faith," because they are imbued with all the holiness of God; and not only so, but as they are received into believing hearts, communicate sanctification, because they have a liberating, sanctifying efficacy. The words "build up" assume that there is a foundation laid. Christ is that foundation which God has laid in Zion, a chief corner-stone, elect, precious; and where Christ is revealed to the soul by a divine power, a foundation is laid in the heart on which every subsequent truth is to be built up.
The grand thing to be clear of in our own experience is, whether Christ has been laid as a foundation in our souls or not, and if he has, we have been driven from every other as finding no rest or peace but in him. If ever he has been revealed to our souls by the mighty power of God, then we have seen and felt that in him there is a foundation on which we can stand, and that for eternity. As the Son of the Father in truth and love; having come to finish the work which the Father gave him to do; having put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and brought in an everlasting righteousness in which we may stand justified, there is a foundation on which a poor, guilty soul may rest. When this foundation is brought near, and we, by the power of God’s grace, are lifted up to rest upon it, we can say, "How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord, Is laid for your faith in his excellent word."
"Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1Co 3:11).
"Keep yourselves in the love of God." Jude 1:21
When Christ is made known to our soul by the power of God, we have views of truth in him, of happiness in him, and of deliverance. "As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him." We receive him as the Son of the Father in truth and love; we receive him as suitable to our needs and woes; we receive him as putting away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and endearing himself to our heart in the sweet manifestation of his Person, goodness, and love. Now as long as Christ and the soul are together, there is no place for error, and no place for evil. He makes the soul tender, the heart upright, the spirit broken and contrite, truth precious, error hateful, and sin loathsome and detestable. And while he and the soul are engaged together, error cannot approach nor evil find an entrance, so as to get any standing-ground in the heart.
But error is very subtle; it addresses itself to our reasoning powers; and when we lose sight of Christ, then error very easily creeps in; or if not error, some special lust, or something ungodly, seems by degrees to obtain power and influence, and we gradually decline from the strength of faith, the confidence of hope, and the sweet affections of love, and drop, it may be, into a cold, carnal, careless, lifeless state, where we lie open to the invasion of error and the temptations of Satan as an angel of light or an angel of darkness.
But now Jude comes and says, "Keep yourselves in the love of God; and I will tell you, if you will listen to me, how you shall do it. You must build up yourselves on your most holy faith." God has laid a foundation for your faith in his holy word; he has laid Christ as a foundation in your own soul. That is a very strong foundation; it is of God’s own laying. It is very solid; it will bear any weight laid upon it. And therefore you must build up yourselves upon that most holy faith if you would have a religion which stands; because if your religion, or any part of your religion, be built upon another foundation, it will not stand. But if you build up yourselves on your most holy faith, then everything you build upon it will stand, because it rests upon the foundation, and is in harmony with it.
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Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on Jude 1". Philpot's Commentary on select texts of the Bible. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany