#6. Able to Keep You From Falling (Jude 1-2, 20-25)

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
http://www.jesuswalk.com/2peter/6_persevere.htm

VanDyke's St. Jude (Thaddeus)
"St. Jude (Thaddeus)" by Flemish painter Anthony Van Dyke (1599-1641). Larger image.

Text

Jude 1:1-2, 20-25

[1] Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,
To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ:

[2] Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance....

[20] But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. [21] Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

[22] Be merciful to those who doubt; [23] snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear -- hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

[24] To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy -- [25] to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.


Exposition

As you'll recall, we looked at several passages from Jude in Lesson 4 when we looked at the warnings of both 2 Peter and Jude about false teachers. This week we'll take a brief but leisurely walk through the beginning and end of the short, 25-verse Letter of Jude.

Jude's Humility (Jude 1a)

The letter begins:

"Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints...." (Jude 1-3)

Notice how Jude introduces himself -- "a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James." The word he uses for servant is the Greek noun doulos, "slave, bond servant." It is an expression of his humility. Instead of boasting that he was the brother of Jesus -- which he seems to have been -- instead he identifies himself as the brother of James. This can be none other than "James the Less", the brother of Jesus, who wrote the Epistle of James and served as the leader of the Jerusalem Church (Acts 15:13; 21:18). Jude first humbles himself as a servant or slave and then, again, by claiming kinship to a prominent brother, James -- but not his most prominent brother, Jesus. Jude, as we learned in the introduction to this series, is sometimes identified with the Apostle Thaddeus[1] and is spoken of by St. Paul as "the brother of the Lord" (Galatians 1:19). According to Hegesippus, he "was said to have been the brother of the Lord according to the flesh" and that two of his grandsons lived until the reign of Emperor Trajan.[2]

Privileges of the Letter's Recipients (Jude 1b)

As is customary, the letter's author introduces himself first, and then names his recipients:

"To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ." (Jude 1b)

Jude seems to love triads, groups of three. His three-fold characterization of his recipients' privileges is:

  1. Called (by God),
  2. Loved by God the Father, and
  3. Kept by Jesus Christ.

Think about these words for a moment.

First, we are "called" by God, which means we are "summoned" personally. This relationship begins not at your initiative, but God's. He calls you. He invites you into fellowship with himself. We evangelicals sometimes used the phrase, "accepted Christ," as if it were our initiative. Yes, we have a part and we must say, "Yes," but it is God who initiates, God who calls. "We love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19).

Second, we are "loved by God the Father." Sometimes we Christians are so Jesus-centered that we forget about the Father. I've run across some Christians who find it politically incorrect to speak of God as "Father," thus the concept of God as "Abba," God as the loving Parent, gets blurred, and is dropped out of liturgy and preaching in order not to offend. How very sad. One of Jesus' chief revelations of God was as Father -- his Father and ours. In the Lord's Prayer he taught us to address God as "Father." The disciples had depended upon Jesus to reveal God to them, but he tells them: "The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God" (John 16:27).

I don't know about you, but to hear my own father say, "I love you, Ralph," has been very special to me. Sometimes there had been strains in our relationship. A distance had developed. But to have my father say, "I love you," is special. To be accepted and loved by my father touches me to the core.

The same is true with my heavenly Father. I so long to hear him say on that Day when I stand before him, "Well done, good and faithful servant.… Enter into the joy of your Lord" (Matthew 25:21). My dear friend, meditate on this phrase, pray it back to the Father with thanksgiving -- "loved by God the Father." I am loved by the King of the Universe -- personally. How wonderful!

Third, we are "kept by Jesus Christ." "Kept" (NIV), "kept safe" (NRSV), and "preserved" (KJV) used here and in verse 21 is the Greek verb tēreō. It has the basic meaning of "to retain in custody, keep watch over, guard." Here it has the meaning "to cause a state, condition, or activity to continue, keep, hold, reserve, preserve someone or something ... keep unharmed or undisturbed."[3]

Some brands of Christianity maintain in their adherents a constant fear of damnation. It's an attempt to keep them living right, no doubt. But it can also be a means of control. Jude's characterization of a Christian's privilege is of one who is "kept by Jesus Christ." You are "guarded" by Jesus. I am "preserved unharmed" by Jesus. We don't have to fend for ourselves for salvation and protection in the spirit world. Jesus, the King of Kings, has set a guard around us. Hallelujah!

Q1. (Jude 1) Which of these three privileges catches your attention more than the others? Why is it so special to you? How does it encourage your faith?
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A Three-Fold Blessing (Jude 2)

Jude has characterized his readers' privileges. Now he blesses them:

"Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance...." (Jude 2)

Think of Jude as a priest of God pronouncing upon you this triad of blessings:

"Mercy" -- Greek eleos, "kindness or concern expressed for someone in need, mercy, compassion, pity, clemency."[4] I'll receive that blessing! I need God's mercy to stand before him at all. Yes, I receive God's mercy and compassion.

"Peace" -- The Hebrew blessing behind this word is "Shalom." Peace with God and wellness and welfare from God himself. Yes, I receive that, too.

"Love" -- God's amazing love for us who deserve nothing, who have done much sin to offend any concept of righteousness. To us his love is a marvelous blessing and gift. I receive the blessing of love, as well.

The three-fold blessing -- mercy, peace, and love -- is now multiplied. The Greek verb is plēthunō, "be multiplied, grow, increase."[5] Jude blesses us with mercy, peace, and love and then calls upon God to up the ante, to double the blessing, to multiply it many fold. What a wonderful God we serve, that his servants can speak blessings not curses.

Five Commands for Christian Growth (Jude 20-21)

After his salutation and blessing in verses 1 and 2, Jude turns to the matter of false teachers:

"Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints...." (Jude 3)

In Lesson 4 we studied this verse and many others, with parallels in 2 Peter, so we'll skip them today. Jude lashes out at the false teachers, but by verse 20 his tone changes to one of love and nurture for his recipients, who must live out their faith in a context where false teachers dangerously blur the boundaries between immorality and Christian righteousness.

He speaks to them tenderly in verse 20, "But you, dear friends….." Literally, he calls them "beloved," agapētos, "pertaining to one who is dearly loved, dear, beloved, prized, valued,"[6], from the word agapē, "self-giving love." In verse 1 he as reminded his readers that they are "loved by God the Father." Now he addresses them with that same tender love, and gives four commands for Christian growth that will help them maintain a vibrant Christian life in the midst of an immoral and antagonistic society:

  1. Build yourselves up on your most holy faith.
  2. Pray in the Holy Spirit.
  3. Keep yourselves in the love of God.
  4. Look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.[7]
  5. Rescue the perishing.

Let's look at these one by one.

1. Build Yourselves Up in Your Most Holy Faith (Jude 20a)

The first command is, "Build yourselves up in your most holy faith" (Jude 20a). "Build yourselves" is the Greek verb epoikodomeō, "to build something on something already built, build on to," here figuratively, "to engage in a building process of personal and corporate development, edify, build up/on."[8] The building material is "your most holy faith." Jude speaks of a "most holy faith" to contrast it with the unholy teachings of the false teachers.

Sometimes we expect God to build us -- and the Holy Spirit is certainly at work to "edify" us. But this building requires significant cooperation from us. How do you build yourself up in your faith? Paul reminds us, "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). Our faith is built up when we listen to, meditate on, and put into practice in our lives the teachings of Christ. We can do that for ourselves, through reading the Bible on a regular basis -- and not just reading, but thinking about, dwelling on, absorbing. It builds up, edifies, strengthens us in our most holy faith. It is Jude's first command.

Q2. (Jude 20a) Why does God make you responsible to "build up" your own Christian faith? What are you doing on a regular basis to obey this command? What should you begin to do that will help you be built up better?
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2. Pray in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20b)

The second command is: "Pray in the Holy Spirit" (Jude 20b). What does this mean? Some say it means to pray in tongues, based on Paul's explanation of worship in tongues:

"So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind." (1 Corinthians 14:15)

If you'll notice, in this passage prayer and singing in tongues come from Paul's own personal spirit -- though no doubt moved on by the Holy Spirit. Several other verses indicate that prayer "in" or "by"[9] the Holy Spirit is broader than prayer in tongues:

"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'" (Romans 8:15)
"Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father.'" (Galatians 4:6)
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." (Romans 8:26-27)
"And pray in (en) the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." (Ephesians 6:18)

The Spirit assists us in all kinds of prayers and requests. I have no doubt that the Spirit assists us with prayer in tongues, but also all kinds of other prayers. We are not to pray just rote prayers, but ask God how to pray and rely upon the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit to pray effectively. Spirit-led prayer is Jude's second command to help us grow in Christ.

3. Keep Yourselves in God's Love (Jude 21a)

The third command is, "Keep yourselves in God's love" (Jude 21a). "Keep yourselves" is the Greek verb tēreō that we saw in verse 1 -- "keep/preserve unharmed or undisturbed." "God's love" here could be either God's love for us or our love for God. Whichever it is, this command talks about us keeping up our part of a love relationship with God. Consider these verses:

"Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Matthew 24:12-13)
"Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love." (Revelation 2:4)
"As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love." (John 15:9-10, NRSV)

The false teachers were flagrantly disobeying Jesus' commands, thus they weren't abiding in his love. No doubt you've met Christians whose love has "grown cold," who have abandoned the love for Jesus they once had. Perhaps this describes you.

Jude commands us to "keep ourselves in God's love." How do you do that? By prayer and worship. The first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks: "What is the chief end of man?" The answer is: "To glorify God and to enjoy him forever." Worship can be conducted with outward formality and external propriety. It can also be conducted with love and full heart toward God -- any kind of Christian worship and liturgy! I want to encourage you to prepare yourself for worship so that you can worship God with a true heart. Nurture that relationship with him in your own private worship as well as in public worship. You can fall back in love with the Lord. He'll help.

Q3. (Jude 21a) What does it mean to "keep yourself in God's love"? What are you doing to strengthen your love relationship with God? What more could you do that might help?
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4. Look Forward to Christ's Mercy (Jude 21b)

The fourth command to help you grow in your Christian life is:

"Look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life." (Jude 21b, NRSV)

"Wait for" (NIV), "looking for" (KJV), and "look forward to" (NRSV) is the Greek verb prosdechomai, "to look forward to, wait for."[10] We should live in the present, not in the past or future, but we must keep alive the flame of hope in the promises of God for the future. "The mercy ... that leads to eternal life" looks back to Jesus' atonement on the cross, then forward to the great judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) where we are acquitted, based on the presence of our names in the Lamb's Book of Life (Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 21:27), among the roll call of those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Beyond the judgment we look to an eternity of life in the presence of God. Dear friend, look forward to that mercy and to eternal life.

5. Rescue the Perishing (Jude 22-23)

We are told to look forward to God's mercy for us, but in the next breath Jude tells us to be merciful to those who are tempted to various degrees. Here is the fifth command: rescue the perishing.

"Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear -- hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh." (Jude 22-23)

"Be merciful" (NIV), "have compassion" (KJV), and "have mercy" (NRSV) in verses 22 and 23 is the Greek verb eleaō, "have mercy on," from the noun eleos, "kindness or concern expressed for someone in need"[11] that we saw in verse 2 above.

Specifically, we are to have mercy on those who waver, who doubt, who don't have stability in their Christian walk. "Those who doubt" (NIV) is the Greek verb diakrinō, "to be uncertain, be at odds with oneself, doubt, waver."[12]

These waverers are probably not the false teachers who are brazenly propagating sexual immorality, but those who have been influenced by their teaching. Speaking figuratively, their "white garments" have been stained by their immorality.[13] The garment referred to[14] is the one worn directly over the skin or "flesh" -- which hints a both to (a) the physical flesh where sexual sin may have taken place and (b) the figurative use of "flesh" to refer to one's sinful nature.[15]

Jude warns us that in helping those who are entangled in sin, we must be aware of our own spiritual danger, lest we become accepting and calloused to sin -- especially the sexual sin he seems to have in mind here. We live in a generation that winks at youthful promiscuity and expects a young person to live with several lovers before marriage. When we help those who are caught in sin, we must do so "with fear" lest we stop hating the sin that has entrapped the sinner whom God loves.

Jude likens the rescue procedure to pulling a piece of wood out of a fire that is already begun to burn it (Amos 4:11; Zechariah 3:2). "Snatch/snatching" (NIV, NRSV) and "pulling out" (KJV) is the Greek verb harpazō. This is a violent word which means "to make off with someone's property by attacking or seizing, steal, carry off, drag away." Here it means "to grab or seize suddenly so as to remove or gain control, snatch or take away."[16]

To snatch people from sin is a command every bit as much as binding on us as those which relate to maintaining our own spiritual life. We have a responsibility, especially towards our brother and sister Christians, to watch out for them:

 "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted." (Galatians 6:1)
"My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins." (James 5:19-20)
"If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life...." (1 John 5:16)

How do you grow in Christ?

  1. Build yourselves up
  2. Pray in the Spirit
  3. Keep your love fresh, 
  4. Look forward to Christ's promises of mercy, and
  5. Rescue the perishing.

He Who Is Able to Keep You from Falling (Jude 24)

Jude closes his brief letter with an amazing description of God's commitment toward us:

"To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy." (Jude 24)

Both Peter and Jude have pronounced some terrible judgments upon the false teachers. A Christian could become terrified of falling. I've talked to some Christians who are frightened that they might have committed the unforgivable sin or that they have sinned so badly and so often that God is tired of rescuing them and they are beyond forgiveness. The wonderful message of the Christian gospel is found in three parts (Jude seems to love triads):

  1. He will guard you against falling.
  2. He will present you before judgment without fault.
  3. He will present you with tremendous joy.

First, God will guard you against falling. What does "falling" mean here? It is the Greek adverb aptaistos, "without stumbling,"[17] specifically referring to the kind of fall from which you cannot recover -- the loss of salvation.

God guards you against that. "Keep" is the Greek verb phulassō, "to carry out sentinel functions, watch, guard" or "to protect by taking careful measures, guard, protect."[18] Are you afraid that the devil will be too strong for you? God is stronger. The apostle John writes, "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

God is guarding you. He is a hedge of protection around you (Job 1:10). He instructs his angel to "encamp" around you and deliver you from your enemy (Psalm 34:7), to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91:11). As the invisible horses and chariots of fire surrounded Elisha, so God is protecting you (2 Kings 6:17). God's guard around you is no small thing. You can rely upon him.

Second, he will present you[19] before his glorious presence at the judgment without fault. "Without fault" (NIV), "faultless" (KJV), "without blemish" is the Greek adjective amōmos, a word used with reference to sacrificial animals being without defect or blemish. Here it carries the figurative sense: "pertaining to being without fault and therefore morally blameless."[20] When you think about this, it's amazing. The longer I live, the more I realize that I fall short. I am much more aware of my own imperfection than when I was a young man. But we see this again and again in scripture as a core celebration of the Gospel's power to save:

"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight." (Ephesians 1:4)
"Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." (Ephesians 5:25-27)
"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe...." (Philippians 2:14-15)
"But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation...." (Colossians 1:22)
"So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him." (2 Peter 3:14)
Of the 144,000 -- "... who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless." (Revelation 14:3-5)

What an amazing promise! Though we least deserve it, it is Christ's mission to present you and me to God blameless, clothed in Christ's righteousness. Hallelujah!

Third, he will bring you before his presence with tremendous joy. "Great joy" (NIV), "exceeding joy" (KJV), and "rejoicing" (NRSV) render the Greek noun agalliasis, "a piercing exclamation, exultation," from the verb agalliaō, "to be exceedingly joyful, exult, be glad, overjoyed."[21] There's a passage in Zephaniah that expresses this well:

"The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17)

He loves you that much! Can you bring yourself to imagine that God himself delights in you -- you personally? This scripture teaches that he does. He delights in you as does a mother with her babies, as a grandfather constantly showing off pictures of his grandchildren. He loves you with an intense and emotional love. So when you finally appear before his glorious presence, he is utterly delighted to see you there and will shout with joy.

Q4. (Jude 24) What does it mean to you that God is guarding you from falling? How can you explain God's exultant joy towards you? How will God manage to present you to himself "blameless"? How does that work?
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This is the Gospel we declare: that our God guards us, forgives us, and delights in us -- and with all who will draw close to him through Jesus our Savior.

God Our Savior (Jude 25)

Jude now concludes with a doxology, words of praise to God:

"To the only[22] God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!" (Jude 25)

Observe that he calls God "our Savior." Sometimes we reserve this title to Jesus the Son, but God the Father is very much our Savior, too. Dozens of verses in the Bible call God our Savior (such as Psalm 18:46; Psalm 42:11; Isaiah 43:3; Luke 1:47; 1 Timothy 2:3; 4:10; Titus 1:3; 2:10).

Next, Jude offers four words that describe God's greatness -- glory, majesty, power, and authority. Following this, he offers praise through "Jesus Christ our Lord." Finally, he encompasses all time with the words:

  1. Before all ages,
  2. Now, and
  3. Forevermore.
2 Peter and Jude: Discipleship Lessons, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Available as an e-book in PDF or Kindle formats.

As I finish Jude I find myself groping for words to express my love, and my mind lights upon a chorus by Noel Richards:

You deserve the glory and the honor
Lord, we lift our hands in worship
As we praise Your holy name.
For You are great, You do miracles so great.
There is no one else like You,
There is no one else like You![23]

Our God is great in so very many ways -- but to us he shows his greatness in his restraint, the undeserved mercy he has shown us and in his inexplicable delight in us, his love which springs with no reason from the heart of God and knows no quenching. Yes, to him be glory, majesty, power and authority through Jesus Christ our Lord -- forever! Amen.

Q5. What has this study on 2 Peter and Jude meant to you? How has it enriched your life? How could it be improved?
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Prayer

Lord, I am amazed at your love -- tough love, enduring love, love that breaks out toward me when I least expect it, cleansing love, love that delights in me even when I despair of my own weaknesses. I don't know why you have chosen to love me -- and my brothers and sisters -- but you have. Help me to return that love to you with my whole life. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Key Verses

"To him who is able to keep you from falling 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." (Jude 24-25)

References

Standard References http://www.jesuswalk.com/1peter/refs.htm

  1. A. Camerlynck, "Jude., Epistle of St.," Catholic Encyclopedia (1908), in loc.
  2. Hegesippus is quoted in Eusebius, Church History 3.19, 20, 22.
  3. BDAG 1002.
  4. BDAG 316.
  5. BDAG 826.
  6. BDAG 7.
  7. In Greek three of these are present participles that serve as commands, the fourth is the present imperative.
  8. BDAG 387. Here the lexicographer translates verse 20, "build each other up on the basis of the faith."
  9. The Greek preposition en can have either a either local or instrumental sense here.
  10. BDAG 877.
  11. BDAG 314, 316.
  12. Diakrinō has the basic meaning "to differentiate by separating." The KJV selected the meaning "to conclude that there is a difference, make a distinction, differentiate," which doesn't fit this context at all. Rather it means here "doubt, waver" (BDAG 231). The meaning "doubt, waver" appears first in the New Testament. This meaning is also found at Matthew 21:21; Mark 11:23; Luke 11:38; Acts 10:20; Romans 14:23; and James 1:6; 2:4
  13. "Stained" (NIV), "spotted" (KJV), and "defiled" (NRSV) is the Greek verb spiloō, "stain, defile," here and in James 3:6 (BDAG 938).
  14. "Clothing" (NIV), "garment" (NIV), or "tunic" (NRSV) is the Greek noun chitōn, "tunic, shirt," a garment worn next to the skin, and by both sexes" (BDAG 1085).
  15. "Corrupted flesh" (NIV), "flesh" (KJV), and "bodies" (NRSV) is the Greek noun sarx. This word is used in several ways in the New Testament: (1) the material that covers the bones, "flesh," (2) a "physical body," (3) figuratively as "the sinful nature," commonly used this way in Paul's writings, (4) a human being, and (5) the outward, external side of life (BDAG 914-916).
  16. BDAG 134. The word is used where no resistance is offered -- of Phillip being caught up by the Spirit (Acts 8:39), of Paul being caught up to the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2, 4), and of the rapture of the church (1 Thessalonians 4:17; Revelation 12:5).
  17. BDAG 126. From the verb ptaiō, "to lose one's footing, stumble, trip." In 2 Peter 1:10 it has the idea, "to experience disaster, be ruined, be lost," referring to the loss of salvation." (BDAG 894).
  18. BDAG 1068.
  19. "Present" (NIV, KJV) or "make you stand" (NRSV) is the common Greek verb histēmi, "to stand." Here it carries the meaning, "to come up in the presence of others, come up, stand, appear." "Before" (NIV, KJV) is the Greek adverb katenōpion, "marker of a position in front of, right opposite" (BDAG 531). This is an adverb used as a preposition.
  20. BDAG 56.
  21. BDAG 4.
  22. "Wise God" (KJV). The Textus Receptus plus K L P and most miniscules add sophō, "wise." Bruce Metzger calls it "an obvious interpolation derived from Romans 16:27." The shorter reading (without "wise") is decisively supported by alpha A B C vg syr(h), cop(bo) arm, and others (Metzger, Textual Commentary, p. 730).
  23. Words by Noel Richards, copyright 1991, administered by Kingsway’s ThankYou Music.

Copyright © 1985-2017, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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