May 16, 2011

Glory, Majesty, Dominion, and Authority

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 24-25

Jude’s epistle closes on a triumphant note. “To Him who is able” – namely to “the only God and Savior” – Jude wants his readers to ascribe “glory, majesty, dominion and authority”. He finishes his letter by urging us, his readers, to give God the praise and the honor that are justly His!

Ascribe to Him glory, Jude says. Recognize that it’s all about Him; that we exist for His fame, not our own. God keeps us (v.24); and we should keep ourselves … yes, for our own good. But even more importantly, God does these things, and we work with Him to do them ourselves, for the sake of His “glory”! That’s why we exist, as the old catechisms remind us: “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”.

And then also, Jude says, we should ascribe majesty to our God. We should recognize that He is a great and marvelous King. We should be awed by Him. We should see the majesty of the recent British royal wedding, and then say to ourselves: ‘If there is that much pageantry, and ceremony, and beauty, and attention given to the prince of England … how much more does the King of Heaven deserve that we should make His praise great; that we should worship Him in the beauty of holiness, and with all our might?’ God is majestic! And we should treat Him that way!

Thirdly, Jude says that we should ascribe to God dominion. Unlike most of the kings and princes of our day, God is not just a figurehead potentate. He does not have a parliament through which He must work to make decisions. No! This King still has a realm under His absolute control. He is a true King! And, of course, His “dominion” is a vast one … stretching from one end of the infinite universe to the other! And we should ascribe this power to our God! We should recognize, and have no doubt of the fact, that He is in absolute control over everything that we see … and over billions upon billions of pieces of the created order that we will never see! God owns it all! He has “dominion” over the entire universe!

And, because He has dominion, we ought, also, to recognize His authority. If this God is King of everything we see, then He’s King over us! And, instead of making Him force us to fall in line with His dominion, we ought to voluntarily bow the knee to Him; we ought to voluntarily submit to His “authority”. He is the King! So who are we poor little spiritual peasants to question His rule, or to shirk our responsibilities to Him?

‘O’, Jude says, ‘let us grant our God “glory, majesty, dominion and authority”’. And let us do so, not just every now and again; not just on Sundays at 11am … but “before all time and now and forever.”

And let us do so, Jude says “through Jesus Christ our Lord.” That’s important! God has designed the universe for His own glory. But He has also designed it in such a way as to create maximum glory for Himself by bring people to worship, and adore, and trust in His Son! When knees bow to Jesus, the Father is glorified (Philippians 2.11). And that’s the same thing Jude is saying here. The way to glorify “the only God our Savior” is to glorify Him “through Jesus Christ”. The way to glorify the Father is to glorify His Son!

So, as we conclude our long, slow meander through the epistle of Jude, I close by asking you if Jesus is your everything. Is He? If He is, then you will most certainly contend earnestly for the faith (vv.1-3) … because the faith is about this Jesus! If He is, well then you will have no problem recognizing and avoiding false teachers (vv.4-19) … because you know and love the true one so well! If Jesus is your everything, then you will always have plenty of fuel to throw on the fires of your love for God (vv.20-23). And if Jesus is all the world to you, then, in glorifying Jesus, you will always find yourself, of necessity, ascribing “glory, majesty, dominion and authority” to His Father!

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