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What does it mean that God is able to keep us from stumbling (Jude 1:24)?

"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." —Jude 1:24-25

When Jude says that God will "keep you from stumbling," does that mean that God will prevent you from ever sinning again? Not exactly. But to really understand verse 24, we need to look at it in context, which means that we study it as a part of a bigger written work. In the case of Jude 1:24, we're going to look at his entire letter. Don't worry—the book of Jude is a single chapter of 25 verses. (In fact, I'd highly recommend that you go read it before continuing with this article; it won't take long.)

Jude was a half-brother of Jesus, and he wrote this letter to fellow believers whom he addresses as "friends" (Jude 1:3, 17, 20). He starts off by saying that he was originally going to write to them about salvation but then he felt led to write about something else (Jude 1:3). This sounds to me like the Holy Spirit was guiding Jude toward writing a different message his fellow believers needed to hear at that time.

Identifying False Believers

As it turns out, Jude's friends' community had been infiltrated by false believers. Jude calls them "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). These people claimed to be Christians, yet they lived their lives however they wanted, doing things from unfairly playing favorites to being a loud-mouthed showoff to giving in to sexual immorality (v. 16). He compares their actions to other false believers from history, who gave in to sin without a second thought. Jude warns that these arrogant people, who claim to be Christians yet continue a life of sin, will indeed receive eternal punishment.

"These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever." —Jude 1:12-13

Encouraging True Believers

Jude then encourages the true believers to remain steadfast in their faith, awaiting God's mercy and salvation. He reminds them that the apostles prophesized that there would be "scoffers, following their own ungodly passions" (Jude 1:18) but not to allow their community to be divided by confused, false teaching.

"But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life." —Jude 1:20-21

Along with his advice to hold onto their faith, Jude instructs them to "have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh" (v. 22-23). Living out our faith is not an "us vs. them" kind of deal. We are not to be swayed by the words of false believers, but we are to have mercy on them and help them back to God however we can.

Jude's Doxology (v. 24-25)

A doxology is a little hymn of praise to God, and Jude ends his letter with one. He praises God as the one who can keep us from stumbling (v. 24) or keep us from "falling" (KJV) and present us as blameless (v. 25). This is a reminder that righteousness doesn't come from our power but from God's. Our eternal destiny is a gift from God—not something we earn. And we need not fear that we'll stumble so bad that we fall from our faith. God keeps us upright in our faith, never taking away what was promised (Colossians 1:22).

While false believers may come into our midst, our Savior will protect us from suffering their fates. Yes, we all still sin (1 John 1:8-9), but that doesn't mean we can't still be steadfast in our efforts to live a holy life. God understands our struggle with sinful tendencies, but He will always hold us up (John 10:28-30; Romans 7-8; Philippians 1:6). Not only does He help us stand in our weakness, but He does so with the utmost joy.

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God." —John 3:17-21

TL;DR

In Jude's doxology (v. 24-25), he praises God as the one who can keep us from stumbling (v. 24) and present us as blameless (v. 25). This is a reminder that righteousness and salvation do not come from our power but from God's. Yes, we all still sin (1 John 1:8-9), but that doesn't mean we can't still be steadfast in our efforts to live a holy life. God understands our struggle with sinful tendencies, but He will always hold us up in our faith (John 10:28-30; Romans 7-8; Philippians 1:6).

By: Catiana Nak Kheiyn

Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.

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