A post on the phrase “him who is able” from the URL I chose for this blog:
One has to imagine that out of the last 40 years the Jude from the Beatles #1 hit “Hey Jude” is much more well known than the Jude who wrote the final epistle of the New Testament. Nonetheless, Jude’s letter, though very short, is well worth our attention.
As I have read through Jude’s letter several times I am always impressed by the intensity with which he seems to have written his letter. He charges his Christian readers to “contend for the faith” against those who “deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” He speaks of “the judgment of the great day” and how Jesus “destroyed those who did not believe” in Egypt during the exodus. He speaks of God’s judgment towards unbelief as “eternal chains under gloomy darkness”, “a punishment of eternal fire”, and “the gloom of utter darkness…reserved forever”. How could one speak about such things and not do so with some intensity? Jude’s words are wildly sobering.
But the end of Jude’s letter proves that Jude’s worship was as intense as his teaching. Jude finishes his letter like this:
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.
This type of writing is often called “doxology”. Doxo means praise and logos means words or speaking. Jude was speaking praise to God by ascribing truth to God about who God is. God is “the only God” and “our Savior”, and He is also “him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.”
This description of God’s character is relevant for all Christians, and for all people for that matter. How else can we be blameless before God but through the forgiveness made possible by Jesus’ death and resurrection? And to whom is anyone to rely upon but the Lord Jesus that we might not stumble in our pursuit of righteousness? But I think this description is especially relevant for those who aspire to be leaders in the church.
In Paul’s description of a qualified overseer (i.e. pastor or bishop or elder) in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 he list fifteen things that a potential leader “must” be. Fourteen out of the fifteen have to do with character and only one has to do with gifting. Teaching is the only gift that a qualified pastor must have. Every other qualifying mark has to do with a man’s character.
As an aspiring pastor/elder/bishop/overseer/presbyter I am encouraged by Jude’s words that God is able to keep me from stumbling. God is able to help me overcome the remaining sin in my life. God is able to help me harness my tongue. God is able to help me cultivate and express love for my enemies. God is able to help me crucify the lusts of my flesh, the covetousness in my heart. God is able to make me “a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith.” (1 Tim 4:6)