How to Close a Letter
(Since there aren’t 3 chapters in Jude, this “3:16” isn’t actually a 3:16.)
24Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, 25to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now, and forever. Amen.— Jude 24-25 (HCSB)
This is my favorite benediction in the entire Bible. It’s a blessing to the church to whom Jude had written, but in the process, Jude writes a great summary of the power of God.
The entire book of Jude is not very large - only one chapter of 25 verses. In it, though, Jude was addressing the apostasy (a total desertion of belief) of some people who had come into the church. In verse 3, he encourages them to “contend for the faith,” because people were trying to destroy it.
In this context, verse 24 begins by telling them that Jesus can “protect you from stumbling…” This was an encouragement that this church needed. It is often difficult to resist people, especially when they have fervor and passion on their side. Jude reminds these church members that they are not alone, and that the Lord can keep them from falling into the seduction of sin.
He then continues “…and to make you stand in the presence of His glory…” This was the reward for which they were working, and Jude reaffirms to them that they will receive it. Many times, we do not see the destination when we begin our journey; but, if we persevere, we will get there. This also let the church know that if they did not abandon Jesus, He would not abandon them - they would stand in His presence!
Jude ends that verse with “…blameless and with great joy…” When they arrive in Jesus’ presence, they would be “blameless,” even though they may not have been perfect here on earth. What a transformation! And Jude isn’t making this up himself; Paul told the Corinthian church the same thing.
8He will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.— 1 Corinthians 1:8 (HCSB)
If we’re preserved blameless, and are in the presence of God, no wonder there’s great joy!
In verse 25, Jude leaves no doubt as to the identity of the One the church should follow - “The only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord…” Some of the people who had come to destroy the church were trying to get them to follow other gods, but Jude reminds them that they serve the one true God. He continues with “glory, majesty, power, and authority,” which speaks to the totality of God’s being, and His control over them. Finally, “before all time, now, and forever” refers to God’s eternity and infinity - He was, is, and is to come.
These days, we’ll usually just end our letters with “Love” or “Sincerely.” But what an encouragement this must have been to the church! Not only did it bless them personally, it reminded them of Who and why they were serving, and what the fruits of their labor would be. I pray that you will also be encouraged from these words today.