In light of Woody's recent exhortation to bring a positive post after a bunch of negative ones, and in light of the Hebrews 13 benediction I chose for my son's birthday blessing, I am reminded of another wonderful benediction from Scripture:
Jude 24-25 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory 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.
I'll put it this way- I remember my then 2 ½ year old son Nicolas feeling and acting secure in my arms as I stood in the middle of the pool. For fun, I began walking slowly toward the deep end, gently chanting, "deeper and deeper and deeper"as the water rose higher and higher on Nico. His face registered increasing degrees of panic, as he held all the more tightly to me, who, of course, easily touched the bottom. Had my little son been able to analyze his situation, he'd have realized there was no reason for his increased anxiety. First, the pool's greatest depth was just under 5 feet, even I am taller than that. He would be safe in my arms at the pools greatest depth. Second, even though his nervousness increased as the water got higher, the water's depth in ANY part of the pool was over his head if he were on his own. If he were not being held, he would have drowned in the shallow end just as fast as in the "deep" end. His safety anywhere in that pool depended on me holding him.
At various points in our lives, all of us feel we're getting "out of our depth" -- problems abound, a job is lost, sickness creeps in, a relationship seems to go awry, someone dies, etc. Our temptation is to panic as we feel we've lost control. Yet, as with my son in the pool, the truth is we've never been in control. We've always been held up by the grace of God, our Father, and that does not change. God is never out of his depth, and therefore we're safe when we're "going deeper" than we've ever been.
“Our great danger is falling and faultiness. Our great safety is Divine ability and faithfulness, by which we are kept from stumbling” –C.H. Spurgeon
In a beautiful and praiseful benediction by Jude, we are commended to the grace of God, with a declaration that it is God alone who can give us the perseverance that is required of us. These closing verses of Jude form a doxology. A doxology is an expression of praise to God. A doxology is a solemn ascription of Glory to the great God of the universe. These words in Jude 24 and 25 comprise one of my favorite benedictions to give the Covenant people of God, at the end of one of our worship services.
In essence, at the end of Jude’s weighty letter, He is calling us to worship our God who is both able to do all He has said He will and who is worthy of all praise. As we focus on worshiping God, His sovereign grace comes more and more in to view. When God’s grace comes in to clearer view- our confidence rises and obedience to God’s Law follows. At the heart of Christian ethics is not a list of rules first- it’s worshiping our able and worthy God. Following the rules relates to worship. Jude understands this dynamic of our growth in the faith so he closes by remind us of our God’s great ability to sustain us and His worthiness of our praise.