Wonderful are the appellations that Jude applies to the churches of Christ that he addresses.  He mentions no particular assembly, so this epistle doubtless was a general one, meant to be disseminated far and wide, wherever there were congregations that called on the name of Christ.  First, he says that they are “sanctified by God the Father.”  They were set apart, first in the purpose of God, by sovereign election.  They were chosen from out of the mass of human creatures, and set apart for the purpose of salvation.  They are also sanctified in regeneration, born again to new life in the kingdom of God by the power of the Holy Ghost.  As part of God’s glorious purpose, and as part of His active power in their lives, they are sanctified and consecrated to the service of God, so that they no longer live unto themselves, but unto the God who chose them and called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.  Sanctification is a blessed doctrine in every aspect, whether we consider it as God’s choosing of us as vessels of mercy, or of His working His good will and pleasure in us, so that we walk in the light, as He is in the light.  It is to these individuals, highly favored by the most high God, that Jude writes.

He also writes to those who are “preserved in Jesus Christ,” who are, of course, the precise same people.  This is a twin grace conferred upon those chosen to salvation before the world began.  We were set apart in the purpose of God to be saved, and to walk in holiness.  But in addition to that, our standing in the grace of God was not to be left up to our own strength and aptitude for the Christian walk, but through the power of Christ residing in us.  Thus, Jude says that we are “preserved in Jesus Christ.”  We are joined to Him by vital union, so that we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.  Not a bone of Jesus could be broken, much less a limb amputated, and thus all who are raised up together with Him and made to sit down with Him in heavenly places, are positively certain of eternal life.  No more than the sun can rise in the west or the law of gravity be overturned, can a true believer be separated from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  We are preserved in Him against all the wiles of men and devils.  This will be a comforting doctrine to the churches to which Jude is writing, for he must soberly warn them against apostates who are seeking to deceive them and turn them out of the way of righteousness.  So weak is our intellect, so tremulous our faith, if we did not have confidence that our preservation is bound up in the person and effectual work of Jesus Christ, then we would have scant reason for confidence that we could ever arrive in safety at the heavenly city.

Finally, Jude says of the believing remnant to which he writes, they are “called.”  This is the natural Gospel outgrowth of being sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Christ Jesus.  Because the Father chose us and sanctified us in His blessed purpose of salvation, and because He ordained that we should be preserved in Jesus Christ our great Mediator, He also called us by His Holy Spirit unto the obtaining of saving faith.  Though the Spirit of God is not expressly mentioned here, we do know from other passages that calling and regenerating are His sovereign work.  Comparing scripture with scripture, it would not then be unjust to at least infer some hint of the trinity of persons in the Godhead from this passage.  Nevertheless, I will not insist upon this thought, but only direct our minds to rejoice in our calling.  God intentionally called very few of the world’s learned, mighty, or famous men, because it was His will that no flesh should glory in His presence.  If heaven was to be populated mainly with intellectuals, great warriors, mighty kings, and brilliant philosophers, then surely man’s vainglorious mind would be led to boast that it was through his own wit, wisdom, and strength (at least in part) that he obtained eternal life.  But since the Lord calls in the main the poor, ignorant, and obscure of the world, then we may ascribe our calling to nothing but the sovereign, effective grace of our gracious God, Who hath mercy upon whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.  To recognize that we are called and redeemed by nothing save the gratuitous mercy of God is a deeply humbling doctrine, but one to which every Christian ought to subscribe with deep and solemn joy.

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