May 19, 2015
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 19 May 2015
When concerts are held in large auditoriums, the “riggers” are the individuals who walk the rafter beams, which are often a hundred feet above the concrete floor, to secure the sound speakers and spotlights. They often confess that they are not bothered by the height. What they do not like is working in auditoriums that have false ceilings consisting of acoustical tile, which is only a couple feet below the rafters. The tile gives the workers a false sense of security because if they slipped they would fall through the flimsy tile. They do not like the deceptive look because it lulls them into being careless.
One of the amazing things that the Bible reveals is the reality of a Dark Power in the universe, who is a mighty evil spirit and enemy of humanity. Christianity affirms that God created this Dark Power, who was good when the Lord brought him into existence, yet rebelled against his Creator. Thereafter, the universe is at war, and humanity lives in that part of the universe that is occupied by the rebel. The world, which God will indeed reclaim and restore, is territory occupied by the enemy. In the meantime, the Lord is saving souls in preparation for that time. Meanwhile, the enemy of the souls of humanity employs deceptive tactics to make dangerous things appear safe. We must be vigilant that we are not lured into carelessness. The closing verses of the book of Jude can help us in that regard.
Jude 17-19 remind us to remember the past warnings and prophetic announcements. Having warned us to recognize those who threaten the Christian faith (vv. 5-16), we are now exhorted positively to motivate us to persevere faithfully in spite of the spiritual dangers that we may encounter. Whereas the Epistle of Jude began with a passionate denunciation of apostates, the last verses (vv. 17-23) provide loving encouragement and guidance to believers even amid apostasy.
Jude 20-21 exhort those of us who are believing/trusting in the Lord Jesus for salvation to remain constant in our pursuit of sanctification (from the Hebrew and Greek, to be sanctified is “to be set apart” from common use, i.e. “to be made holy”). The nature of sanctification is twofold: (1) believers are made holy by grace through faith in Christ; and (2) believers continue to mature in and strive for holiness by obeying the indwelling Holy Spirit (by studying and heeding God’s Word; cf. John 14:23-26 and Eph 1:13-21) until we experience ultimate conformity to Christ (viz. glorification).
Jude 20 (cf. v. 3) instructs us explicitly to study God’s Word so that we are able to gain discernment and wisdom in our faith, and the process will be spiritual strength for encountering the challenges of life. Secondly, we are to pray, knowing that the Holy Spirit enables our prayers (cf. Rom 8). We should pray that God will sustain us so that our attitudes will be glorifying to Him, and that our memory of Scripture will cause us to live its truths, as is pleasing to our Savior.
Jude 21 commands us to keep ourselves “in the love of God.” The instruction here is abide in and obey God’s Word. Do not be a prodigal who abandons the blessings of God’s love (cf. Luke 15:11-32). We are also exhorted to be “waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.” “Waiting” is an action verb, which means we are to live with expectancy (in the same manner as one would be prepared for a special guest until they actually arrive). The three exhortations in Jude 20-21 (build yourself; pray; keep yourself) are foundational for “contending earnestly for the faith,” and also cause us to have good expectation with regard to the outcome, as we expectantly await the Lord’s arrival.
The enemy of our soul does not seek to scare us to death, but gives a false sense of security that the danger of a spiritual fall is only minimal. For this reason, 1 Peter 5:9 exhorts believers to be firm in their faith. Jude 17-21 exhort us with regard to protecting ourselves by commitment to spiritual maturity through studying Scripture, praying in God’s power, abiding in God’s love by obedience, and expectant waiting.
Your Missionary to Georgia's Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia