Now to him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
Let’s talk about it…
What does it mean that God is able to keep us from falling (Jude 24)?
The doxology of Jude 1:24–25 says, “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 Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” What does it mean that God is able to keep us from falling (as the KJV terms it)?
In understanding the meaning of any verse, context is key. Jude is a letter written by Jude, a half-brother of Jesus. The letter is written to fellow believers, whom Jude addresses as “friends” (Jude 1:3, 17, 20). According to Jude 1:3, Jude had wanted to write about salvation, but he instead felt compelled to write about the need to contend for the faith. It seems there were false converts within the church who were “ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord” (Jude 1:4). Jude goes on to explain some of what these false believers are doing and compares their actions to other historical rebellions. Jude warns that these people will not escape judgment.
ὙΜᾶς] WERE ΑὐΤΟΎς THE CORRECT READING, WE COULD HARDLY DO OTHERWISE THAN REFER IT TO THE LAST-MENTIONED ΟὛς ΔΈ, TO WHICH IT IS UNSUITABLE, AS THEY ARE NOT ἌΠΤΑΙΣΤΟΙ, WHO, AS SUCH, REQUIRE ONLYΦΥΛΆΣΣΕΙΝ. THAT JUDE ACTUALLY WROTE ΑὐΤΟΎς: “IN THE FLIGHT OF DEVOTION MAY HAVE TURNED FROM HIS READERS, AND SPOKE OF THEM IN THE THIRD PERSON” (DE WETTE), IS HIGHLY IMPROBABLE.
ΚΑῚ ΣΤῆΣΑΙ ΚΑΤΕΝΏΠΙΟΝ Τῆς ΔΌΞΗς ΑὙΤΟῦ ἈΜῶΜΟΥς] SCHOTT CORRECTLY REMARKS ON ΚΑΊ: THE SECOND EFFECT IS THE ULTIMATE RESULT OF THE FIRST, SO THAT ΚΑΊ MIGHT BE RENDERED BY AND SO, AND ACCORDINGLY.ΔΌΞΑ IS HERE THE GLORY OF GOD, AS IT WILL BE MANIFESTED AT THE DAY OF JUDGMENT. ON ΣΤῆΣΑΙ ἈΜΏΜΟΥς, COMP. 1 Corinthians 1:8; Colossians 1:22; 1 Thessalonians 3:13. THE MEANING IS: “WHO CAN EFFECT IT THAT YE MAY APPEAR ASἌΜΩΜΟΙ BEFORE HIS JUDGMENT-SEAT.”
ἘΝ ἈΓΑΛΛΙΆΣΕΙ] MENTIONS THE CONDITION IN WHICH CHRISTIANS WILL THEN BE FOUND; COMP. 1 Peter 4:13.
The idea of preservation (being kept) similar to the Old Testament prayer, “Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust” (Ps. 16:1) is present. It is continuously repeated in Jude though his words. The addressees are kept by God (Jude 1), the fallen angels are kept in chains (Jude 6), darkness is being kept for the unjust (Jude 13), the believers are to keep themselves in the love of God (Jude 21) and finally God is the ultimate keeper Jude 24). The idea of preservation has an immediate connection to the emphasis of faith and false teachers. While the role of false teachers will be discussed later, it will be appropriate to notice that their action is both within the community and against the faith. Thus, faith becomes both the subject of preservation and the means by which “the believer is preserved unto the day of presentation.”
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling – This ascription to one who was able to keep them from falling is made in view of the facts adverted to in the Epistle – the dangers of being led away by the arts and the example of these teachers of error. Compare Jde 1:3. On the ascription itself, compare the notes at Romans 16:25-27. The phrase “to keep from falling” means here to preserve from falling into sin, from yielding to temptation, and dishonoring their religion. The word used (ἀπταιστους aptaistous) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means properly, “not stumbling” as of a horse; then “without falling into sin, blameless.” It is God only who, amidst the temptations of the world, can keep us from falling; but, blessed be his name, he can do it, and if we trust in him he will.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling
The people of God are liable to falling into temptation, into sin, into errors and mistakes, from an exercise of grace, or from a degree of steadfastness in Gospel truths, and even into a final and total apostasy, were it not for divine power; and they are not able to keep themselves. Adam, in his state of innocence, could not keep himself from falling; nor could the angels, many of whom fell, and the rest are preserved by the grace of God; wherefore, much less can imperfect sinful men keep themselves, they want both skill and power to do it; nor can any, short of Christ, keep them, and it is his work and office to preserve them; they were given to him with this view, and he undertook to do it; and sensible sinners commit themselves to him, as being appointed for that purpose; and this is a work Christ has been, and is, employed in, and he is every way qualified for it: he is “able” to do it, for he is the mighty God, the Creator and upholder of all things; and as Mediator, he has all power in heaven and in earth; instances of persons kept by him prove it; and there is such evidence of it, that believers may be, and are persuaded of it: and he is as willing as he is able; it is his Father’s will he should keep them, and in that he delights; and as he has undertook to keep them, he is accountable for them; besides, he has an interest in them, and the greatest love and affection for them; to which may be added, that the glory of the Father, Son, and Spirit, in man’s salvation, depends on the keeping of them: and what he keeps them from is, from falling by temptations, not from being tempted by Satan, but from sinking under his temptations, and from being devoured by him; and from falling by sin, not from the being or commission of sin, but from the dominion of it, and from the falling into it, so as to perish by it; and from falling into damnable heresies; and from the true grace of God, and into final impenitence, unbelief, and total apostasy. Instead of “you”, the Alexandrian copy reads “us”, and some copies “them”:
To keep you from falling.—Better, to keep you unfallen. From his own warnings, denunciations, and exhortations, which have been severe and sombre throughout, St. Jude turns in joyous, exulting confidence to Him who alone can make them effectual. “Keep you,” or, guard you: not the more general word translated “preserved” inJude 1:1, but another more in harmony with the present context, as indicating protection against the great perils just pointed out. A reading of much authority has “them” for “you”—to keep them unfallen. If it be correct, it may be explained as being in thought, though not in form, addressed to God, so that those to whom he is writing are spoken of in the third person.