Safety, Service, and Song

Jude 20-25

But ye, beloved, building yourselves on your most holy faith [WE CANNOT DO THAT IF WE NEGLECT THE WORD OF GOD]; praying in the Holy Ghost [WE CANNOT DO THAT IF WE ARE WALKING IN THE FLESH]; keep yourselves in the love of God [WE CANNOT DO THAT IF WE LOVE THE WORLD]; looking for the mercy our Lord Jesus to eternal lift [WE CANNOT BE DOING THAT IF OUR HOPES AND AMBITIONS ARE CENTRED IN ANYTHING BELOW].

In every Christian heart that is not withered and cramped by carnal things there is the desire to save others, it is one of the chief instincts of the divine nature that is in them. They do not desire, as God does not desire, that any should perish, they want all, as God wants all, to come to the knowledge of the truth. "The damnation of hell" is not a question of words with them, it is a reality, terrible and everlasting, and they want to save men from it and to serve God in doing it; but they know, if they are intelligent, that if men are to be saved from this final doom, they must be saved from the snares and seductions of the devil that lure them on to it: to save them from these is to save them from that. So they will endeavour to save men from the blinding doctrinal errors of the day, the profane and vain babblings (2 Tim. 2:16) and doctrines of devils (1 Tim. 4:1), by which the faith of some is overthrown; they will endeavour to save men from the pollutions and enmity against God that are native to the flesh, and from the seductions of the world and from placing their hopes in the false dreams of man's ability to evolve himself and his world into all that he and it should be.

But how shall we save others from the soul-destroying teachings that characterize these last days — teachings that deny the God of Genesis 1 and John 3:16, and Revelation 20:12 — the God who is Creator, Saviour, and Judge — that deny the incarnation of the Son, His holy humanity, His sacrificial death, His bodily resurrection — unless we are rooted and grounded and built up and made strong in the faith? How shall we save others from the corruptions of the flesh unless we are manifestly praying in and sowing to the Spirit? How shall we drag others out of the world that is to be destroyed by fire, as the angels dragged Lot out of Sodom, unless we are morally out of it ourselves, its seductions having no power over us because our hearts are kept in the love of God? How shall we turn men from its will-o-the-wisp promises unless we ourselves have been attracted by that sure and blessed hope of our Lord's return.

It is, surely, only as those things that are brighter and better than the brightest and best that can be found below are controlling our souls that we ourselves are safe and able to save others also.

We need less newspaper and more Bible, less minding of the flesh and more sowing to the Spirit, less seeking the threads and shoe latchets from the King of Sodom and more feeding on the bread and wine that Melchizedek brings from the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth (Genesis 14), of whom we can now say "God is love"; less building of homes and hopes in a world that has rejected God and His Son and more reaching outward and onward to that world of glory that the death of Jesus has opened for us.

We press these things upon others because it is pressed upon us that we are neither safe ourselves nor able to serve God in saving others if we are neglectful in these things.

"And of some have compassion." If we are to fulfil that exhortation compassion must first flow into our hearts, and from whence does it come? It does not spring up from false teaching, or from the flesh, or the world. This tender pity that expends its all to bless those in distress and danger is a divine quality. And if our hearts are to be full of it we must build ourselves up in the faith, pray in the Spirit, keep ourselves in the love of God and be conscious of the eternal and incorruptible riches that are ours in heaven above.

But we shall not maintain true compassion for souls, the compassion that will make us zealous for their salvation, unless we hate the flesh and the garments spotted by it. And since the flesh is in us, we shall not hate its works unless we judge it by the standard of the FAITH, which is God fully revealed to us in Christ; and from the standpoint of THE SPIRIT by whom we have access to God in prayer; are consciously in THE LOVE OF GOD, which the flesh cannot bear, and are looking for THE MERCY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST UNTO ETERNAL LIFE, in which the flesh has no part.

It may be that we have longed to obey these exhortations and earnestly sought to do so, but we have failed, and have bitterly to confess that we have fallen under the power of the very things from which we would deliver others. Where lies the fault? In that we have sought after these things by human effort, and in our own strength and have not understood that One alone is able to keep us from failing. It changes everything when we understand that, when we see that our safety, service, and song are all alike dependent on this one great fact. WE ARE NOT ABLE BUT GOD IS ABLE. He is able to keep us safe amid abounding evils and in the happy confidence that this gives we can serve Him in saving others and sing our happy songs of praise to Him the while.

Consider it, dear brethren. God gave His Son to save us, in this we perceive His love towards, and His grace and power that are equal to His love are put forth for the constant and complete deliverance of those whom He has saved. He is able to keep us from falling. May we not rely upon Him, rely upon Him wholly, constantly, and without misgiving, to keep us in these things wherein lie our present safety and without which we can neither serve nor sing?

Consider further this wonderful statement He is able to keep you from falling — more than equal to every snare and power of evil below — "and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." Such is the efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ, such the perfection of the righteousness in which we stand in Him that the glory of God will discover no imperfections therein but will make manifest its exceeding blessedness, and so will God have exceeding joy in the results of His wisdom and grace. Well might we sing to Him, the only wise God and our Saviour, glory and majesty, dominion and power both now and for ever. Amen.