Stumbling…

Jude 1:24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,

Keep you from stumbling…..

What does stumbling mean?  I was curious.  Does it mean simply “keep you from sinning” or “keep you from falling away”?

My thinking was that if it means “keep you from sinning” – why do we still sin?  Is God not able?  Of course he is.  I don’t want to debate the whole free will of man and sovereignty of God idea so I went to the Blue Letter Bible to look for more clues.

Did you know that the Greek word that Jude used for stumbling only occurs here and nowhere else in the Greek translation of the Bible?  There has to be some significance to that, since there are 3 other Greek words for stumbling in the New Testament that are used 81 times.

Let’s broaden our scope a little bit.  What does keep [protect] mean?  Keep [protect or guard] carries the idea of being in a safe place and being protected from the danger on the outside and also being protected from yourself and not allowing you to leave the safe place and put yourself in danger.  Protect you from evil and protect you from yourself.

Jude 1:1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

Kept here is similar to 1:24 – it means preserved in the state you are in [i.e. – called, beloved in God and preserved for Jesus Christ].  Pretty good state to be preserved in wouldn’t you say?

So I begin to think that it has to be more than just keep from sinning.  It has to be more like keep from sinning to the point that you are hardened, fall away and prove that you were never called, beloved or preserved to start with.

The power of Christ would sustain the sincere believer from falling to the temptation of apostasy.  Apostasy means to fall away from the truth.  Therefore, an apostate is someone who has once believed [agreed to the facts of the gospel but not necessarily put their faith and trust in those facts] and then rejected the truth of God.

Just as the false teachers are “kept” by God for judgment (see 2 Pet. 2:9; cf. 2 Pet. 2:4; 3:7; Jude 6), so also he has infinite power to keep from stumbling those who have put their faith in him. By “stumbling” Jude at least means falling into sin or error.  If such stumbling is left unchecked it will eventually lead to falling away from the faith. Yet Jude says God will never let his own fall away but will “keep” them by his grace:

Jude 1:21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

Christians are to keep themselves in God’s love, and vv. 1–2 and vv. 24–25 teach that God keeps them as well. Ultimately, God promises to keep and preserve the faith of his own people, so that no true believer will ever lose his or her salvation.

2 thoughts on “Stumbling…

  1. Thank you for digging deeper in this concept. How do you think being “kept” correlates with “many are called but few are chosen” ?

    • I am persuaded that the general gospel calling goes to many/all people, which some reject. The effective gospel calling is an act of God, speaking through the proclimation of the gospel, in which He summons people to himself [chooses] in such a way that they respond in saving faith. Then once you respond to the effective calling:

      3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, *kept* in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being *guarded* through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

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