From Stumbling to Standing

Have you ever had doubts about whether or not you measure up to God’s standard? Now, I’m not talking about salvation. As far as that goes, you are as acceptable to God as you will ever be because of the gospel of our Lord Jesus. No, the question I am asking is, have you ever, as a Christian, questioned your ability to live a life that is pleasing to God; a life to which God would say, “well done my good and faithful servant?” Well, I surely have. For me, these doubts became a problem for me at age 15. I had really been trying to “live the Christian life,” but the more I tried, the more I failed. Also that year, I was struggling with some nagging sins that I just couldn’t seem to overcome. Discouraged, I asked myself, “am I ever going to get this right?” And to pile on more conviction, the Lord had me study the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) in Precept class that year. According to this sermon, the Christian standard of living is even more difficult to attain than keeping the Mosaic Law! I was dumbfounded! This seemed impossible; especially with the way I had been struggling that year. I pleaded with God to answer these questions: “Will I ever be able to overcome these nagging sins? Will I ever be pleasing to you, and if so, how?” And because our God is a God of complete faithfulness, he answered me with Jude 24-25. It was exactly what I needed to hear. So let’s unpack these verses and see how it applies to you and me!

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of his glory blameless 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 24-25 NASB).

I love verse 24! It is packed with such amazing truths! First of all, we learn that it is God who is able to keep us from stumbling. The answer to my first question was “Yes, but not in the way that you have been trying to do it.” You see, I had been just gritting my teeth and willing myself to stop committing these sins, but these verses told me that is God who has the ability (The Greek word is dunamis, which means: strong, capable, and powerful) to overcome sin in my life, not me. Secondly, not only did these verses answer my first question but they also answered my second question. God does not only keep me from stumbling, but actually causes me to stand in the presence of His glory blameless, and with great joy. Again, He is the one who has the power to make me stand before him blameless and with great joy. I realized after reading these verses that I, in my human striving, cannot live a life pleasing to God. It is His work in and through me that causes me to be blameless. And because of His work, I will not only be blameless before Him, but also overflowing with extreme joy. The word here used for joy is agalliasis and it carries with it the image of a person being anointed with the “oil of gladness” at a great feast (“You prepare me a table in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5). Do you realize what this means Christian?! One day, you will stand before the throne of God, not as a guilty sinner, who has stumbled one too many times to receive a reward, but as a son/daughter of God without blemish or spot; He will anoint your head with the oil of gladness and make your joy complete! Not because of anything you have done, but because of whom He has made you to be, into the likeness of His Son.

These are some awesome truths! After studying Jude 24, I decided to stop striving and simply allow God to work in and through me in order to make me blameless before Him. But how are we to respond to this verse? Let me give 3 suggestions:

1. With Surrender: Daily, we must cease striving to will ourselves to overcome sin and follow God’s commands. Instead, we must surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit and simply walk where He leads us. We can’t keep ourselves from stumbling, but He can.

2. With Confidence: Every day, we must preach the gospel to ourselves and believe that God will do what He says He will do. In Jude 24, God says that He will cause us to stand before Him blameless and with great joy. And Philippians 1:6 says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Believe it and you will be able to live life with confidence in the promises of God.

3. With Praise: Finally, I think the best response is the one Jude himself gives us in verse 25. A God who can do all these things is worthy of our eternal worship. 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

 

 

If you happen to know Richard you know that he lives with purpose! Richard has been around the Precept Ministries for years and has most recently served as one of our summer interns. Richard attends Lee University and hopes to someday be a college professor. 

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