April 26, 2011

"Keep yourselves in the love of God", Part 2

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. Jude 20-23

We said last week that the main thing in these verses is that we “keep ourselves in the love of God”; that we keep the fire of our devotion to the Lord burning brightly; that we fan our love for Him in to flame and throw logs onto the fire of our zeal. So that’s the command in these verses: “Keep yourselves in the love of God.”

But then, surrounding that command, Jude suggests four ways we might fan the flame; four logs we might throw onto the fire of our devotion to keep it burning bright and hot. How do we keep our zeal for God lit? Four ways from these verses:

1. By “building [ourselves] up on our most holy faith”
2. By “praying in the Holy Spirit”
3. By “waiting anxiously” for the Lord’s return
4. By having “mercy” on the doubting and the unbelieving

Over the next two articles, I’d like to look at each of those four things; at each of those four logs that, if we will simply pick them up and make use of them, will brighten the fires of our love for the Lord. And the first, as I say, is simply that we build ourselves up on our most holy faith. But what does that mean?

Well, when Jude talks about “your most holy faith”, I believe he is talking, not about your personal trust in God, per se; but about the faith; about the Christian faith in all its truth and doctrine. In other words, what Jude wants is for us to build up our lives on top of the foundation of the faith; on the foundation of Christian truth and doctrine. And where do we find that doctrine? In the Scriptures! That is where “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (v.2) has been deposited – in the Bible. And so what Jude wants us to do, in order to keep our love for God burning brightly, is simply to build our lives upon the Christian faith, as it is given to us in the truths of the Bible.

Now that sounds over-simple, does it not? How do you keep yourself loving God? Read the Bible! Study the Bible. Listen to the Bible preached. Memorize the Bible. Seek to better understand the Bible. Comprehend the Bible’s doctrines. And then just do what the Bible says! In some ways, it really is that simple! And yet how often do we find ourselves neglecting the Scriptures, or just breezing through a five minute devotional in the morning? That’s like trying to keep your winter fire going with only a few pieces of kindling wood thrown into the smoldering embers once or twice a day! It will never work. And neither will scant attention to the word of God ‘work’ for those who want to obey Jude’s command to keep themselves loving God! If we are to love God, we must be people of great devotion to the Book! We must really dig into deeply!

The picture Jude paints is that of a building. Our love for God is like a building, or a house. And no house is ever built with just the few pieces of lumber that you can hang out the back of your trunk after a visit to Lowe’s! No! A house can only be built with multiple trips and large loads gathered at the lumber yard! And so it is with the building of our love for God. We must take multiple trips to the lumber yard of God’s word; we must gather large loads of the truths which make up our “most holy faith” and stock them away in our minds! And so I plead with you, very simply, to become people of the book! To give yourself copious opportunities for reading it, hearing it, and meditating upon it! “Keep yourselves in the love of God” by “building yourselves up on your most holy faith”!

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