Summary: We're secure; we didn't earn Heaven--Jesus earned it for us--so we won't lose out. We're guaranteed Heaven--not based on what we've done--but based on what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross.
How secure do you feel? The story is told of a monastery in Portugal, perched high atop a 3,000 foot cliff and accessible only by a terrifying ride in a swaying basket. The basket is pulled up with a single rope by several strong men, perspiring under the strain. One American tourist who visited the site was about to climb in the basket when he noticed the rope was old and a bit frayed. Hoping to relive his fear he asked, "How often do you change the rope?" The monk in charge replied, “Whenever it breaks!”
One thing we can count on: We are safe and secure because God loves us. He won't turn His back on us. He is committed to us. Even when life hurts, He has a plan for us. It's been said, “When God ordains, He sustains.” Christ completed a work for us on the cross; He began a good work in us when we came to faith, and He will finish that work. We're in a process of spiritual growth--on a journey of faith--with a Heavenly destination.
Sadly, a lot of Christians lack assurance of salvation; they fear they may fall from grace. They have what I like to call “eternal insecurity.” John MacArthur observed, “If you could lose your salvation, you would.” We didn't earn Heaven in the first place--Jesus earned it for us--so we won't lose out. We're guaranteed Heaven--not based on what we've done--but based on what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross. We can't lose something we didn't earn. Heaven is an undeserved gift. Spurgeon wrote, “We are as safe as He in whom we trust.”
Jude was writing to people living in the depraved Roman empire--a corrupt environment with a pagan worldview and lifestyle. Immorality was rampant. People rejected authority and morality and followed base instincts (verses 8 & 19). Jude was also writing to people vulnerable to false teachings. He warns of scoffers, divisive people. Heresies abounded...which sounds a lot like today. British author G.K. Chesterton spoke about just how twisted viewpoints had become in England: “Today people boast with a self-conscious laugh, 'I suppose I am very heretical,' then they look around for applause.”
Jude gives us his blessing--the comforting reassurance that we are eternally safe and secure. Once we're in Christ, we're in Him forever. Nothing can sever His unconditional love. This doesn't mean God has no standards, no rules, but that He loves us even when we violate them. He takes us as we are, but He loves us too much to leave us that way. He changes our condition, our inclination. Nothing will change our status; God “is able to keep us from falling.” We may stumble, but we will never fall beyond recovery. God will pick us up, get us back on track, and help us to learn from each failure. And throughout our earthly journey God helps us to avoid the contamination of this fallen world. We are guarded by Jesus and will be forever kept with Jesus.
How does Jesus keep us from falling? With 4 resources:
1) We're kept from falling by His word. “Thy word have I hid in my mouth that I might not sin against Thee,” Psalm 119:11. The more we know the Bible, the harder it is to sin. The Scriptures give us the light we need to walk rightly, avoid pitfalls, and to choose wisely.
2) We're kept from falling by the Holy Spirit living within us. We have an inner motivation. We can sin, but we can't enjoy it. When we do sin, we feel remorse. The Spirit equips with us with the Armor of God that guards us from the arrows of the devil. Do we have a firm-enough hold on God? We need not worry about that when we realize Who's doing the holding!
3) We're kept from falling by godly company. Our fellowship with other believers is a support system. Those involved with Alcoholics Anonymous have sponsors they can call on when they're tempted with self-abuse; AA got this concept from us, the church. We have battle-buddies in our war with sin.
4) We're kept from falling through prayer. When we pray “lead us not into temptation”, God will do that! He will always provide a way out, a means of escape. He knows our weaknesses, and He can keep us from those things to which we're most vulnerable. He's also given us the wisdom to know what we need to avoid. And this differs from person-to-person. Prayer keeps us close to our power-source. Henri Nouwen said that “Prayer is primarily a time of listening to the blessing.”
Jude tells us that we'll be presented before God “without fault.” How can that be? We've got plenty of faults! Yet when we trust Christ, we are declared righteous; our sin-record is wiped clean by His blood and the Holy Spirit seals the transaction. Salvation comes as a free gift of grace by faith.