before the presence of His glory
in great joy’
before the presence of His glory
in great joy’
This arresting statement rewards pausing for deeper reflection. Despite all that we know about ourselves, and God knows more, we can be presented ‘faultless before the presence of His glory in great joy’!
First (for any who don’t know), how can we be regarded as ‘faultless’?! The Bible is clear, ‘all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God’(Romans 3:23). However, if ‘we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’(1 John 1:9). If we turn to God, although are ‘“sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow”’(Isaiah 1:18). This cleansing is possible because we can be ‘“washed… and made… white in the Lamb’s blood”’(Revelation 7:14), i.e. that of Jesus, the ‘lamb without blemish or spot, the blood of Christ’(1 Peter 1:19, cf. Exodus 12:5, Leviticus 22:19-21). In this way, with Jesus as our ‘atoning sacrifice’(Romans 3:25), our sins can be removed as ‘far as the east is from the west’(Psalm 103:12), as God’s word had foreshadowed and promised from of old.
However, we mustn’t as a result become complacent about sin, content with the identity ‘sinner’, quite the opposite. Although not saved by our own works, this washing by God, if truly present, includes a ‘washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit’(Titus 3:5), so that we’re empowered to ‘will and to work’(Philippians 2:13) for Him. Jesus ‘gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good works’(Titus 2:14), gleaming brightly as ‘children of God without defect in the middle of a crooked and perverse generation… lights in the world’(Philippians 2:15, cf. Matthew 5:14).
However, although Christians might twinkle, whilst still in this world we’ll flicker too. It’s true that we’re cleansed by Jesus’ sacrifice, and that our union with His death and resurrection enables us to ‘walk in newness of life’(Romans 6:4), but we’re still ‘being sanctified’(Hebrews 10:14). We’ll continue to trip, as we learn to walk ever more steadily, and it remains the case that if ‘we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us’(1 John 1:8). However, one amazing thing is that we’re already regarded by God as ‘perfected forever’(Hebrews 10:14)!
Moreover, we can be sure that He’s ‘able to keep’(Jude 1:24) us, as Jude points out at the start of this study verse, meaning all the way to that glorious ‘end’(1 Corinthians 1:8). Paul was ‘confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in [us] will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ’(Philippians 1:6), and also wrote as if every stage was as good as done: ‘predestined… called… justified… glorified’(Romans 8:30). This echoes the confidence of Jesus, who said that all ‘“those whom the Father gives me will come to me…”’(John 6:37ff.) and ‘“I give eternal life to them… no one will snatch them out of my hand… my Father’s hand”’(John 10:28-29) – the ultimate double grip, working as One.
However, again we must not be complacent or passive about this. Jude had earlier urged his readers to keep themselves ‘in God’s love’(Jude 1:21), actively cooperating with these gracious, loving, guiding, encouraging and empowering hands.
So, in a sense, we’re in His presence already, in His hands. That’s true of everyone to some degree, since God ‘looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth… fashions all of their hearts… considers all of their works’(Psalm 33:14-15) and He’s ‘“not far from each one of us. ‘For in Him we live, move, and have our being’”’(Acts 17:27-28). However, for the Christian His presence is especially with us as the ‘grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s love, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit’(2 Corinthians 13:14). This sweet presence is something to savour and enjoy now, and grow in, now that we’ve ‘tasted that the Lord is gracious’(1 Peter 2:3).
An important part of our joy though is anticipatory, excitement about this glorious hope, as we look forward to the great moment when we’re presented ‘faultless before the presence of His glory in great joy’. Peter describes this hope as rejoicing ‘greatly with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory’(1 Peter 1:8), and if there are no words to describe the anticipation, imagine our joy on finally reaching the ‘heavenly Jerusalem… the festal gathering… enrolled in heaven… made perfect’(Hebrews 12:22-23)! As Jude concludes here, ‘to God our Saviour, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.’(Jude 1:25).
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