Jude 1:21
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1:17-23 Sensual men separate from Christ, and his church, and join themselves to the devil, the world, and the flesh, by ungodly and sinful practices. That is infinitely worse than to separate from any branch of the visible church on account of opinions, or modes and circumstances of outward government or worship. Sensual men have not the spirit of holiness, which whoever has not, does not belong to Christ. The grace of faith is most holy, as it works by love, purifies the heart, and overcomes the world, by which it is distinguished from a false and dead faith. Our prayers are most likely to prevail, when we pray in the Holy Ghost, under his guidance and influence, according to the rule of his word, with faith, fervency, and earnestness; this is praying in the Holy Ghost. And a believing expectation of eternal life will arm us against the snares of sin: lively faith in this blessed hope will help us to mortify our lusts. We must watch over one another; faithfully, yet prudently reprove each other, and set a good example to all about us. This must be done with compassion, making a difference between the weak and the wilful. Some we must treat with tenderness. Others save with fear; urging the terrors of the Lord. All endeavours must be joined with decided abhorrence of crimes, and care be taken to avoid whatever led to, or was connected with fellowship with them, in works of darkness, keeping far from what is, or appears to be evil.Keep yourselves in the love of God - Still adverting to their own agency. On the duty here enjoined, see the notes at John 15:9. The phrase "the love of God" may mean either God's love to us, or our love to him. The latter appears, however, to be the sense here, because it is not a subject which could be enjoined, that we should keep up "God's love to us." That is a point over which we can have no control, except so far as it may be the result of our obedience; but we may be commanded to love him, and to "keep" ourselves in that love.

Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ - Particularly when he shall come to receive his people to himself. See the Titus 2:13 note; 2 Peter 3:12 note; 2 Timothy 4:8 note.

21. In Jude 20, 21, Jude combines the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost: and faith, hope, and love.

Keep yourselves—not in your own strength, but "in the love of God," that is, God's love to you and all His believing children, the only guarantee for their being kept safe. Man's need of watching is implied; at the same time he cannot keep himself, unless God in His love keep him.

looking for—in hope.

the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ—to be fully manifested at His coming. Mercy is usually attributed to the Father: here to the Son; so entirely one are they.

Keep yourselves in the love of God; i.e. in love to God, or that love whereby ye love God; this implies love to each other, as the cause doth the effect.

Looking for; viz. by hope: and so in these two verses we have the three cardinal graces, faith, hope, and charity.

The mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life; the merciful or gracious sentence of Christ the Judge, whereby he puts believers in possession of eternal life, Matthew 25:34. This reward of eternal life is promised, but being promised freely, and out of mercy, it is called mercy, 2 Timothy 1:18, the effect being put for the cause. Keep yourselves in the love of God,.... By which may be meant either the grace and favour of God, that love with which God loves his people; and then the exhortation to the saints to keep themselves in it is, to set it always before them, to keep it constantly in view, to exercise faith on it, firmly believing their interest in it; as also to meditate on it, give themselves up wholly to the contemplation of it, and employ their thoughts constantly about it, which is the foundation of all grace here, and glory hereafter; or to preserve themselves by it, for so the words may be rendered, "preserve yourselves by the love of God"; against Satan's temptations, the snares of the world, and the lusts of the flesh; whenever Satan solicits to sin, and any snare is laid to draw into it, and the flesh attempts to be predominant, saints should betake themselves to the love of God, as to a strong hold and preservative against sin, and reason as Joseph did, Genesis 39:9, for the love of God, and continuance in it, do not depend on anything that can be done by men; nor is there any danger of real believers falling from it, or losing it, since it is unchangeable, and is from everlasting to everlasting; or else by the love of God we are to understand that love with which his people love him and of which he is the object, Luke 11:42; and then the meaning of the exhortation is, that though this grace of love cannot be lost, yet, inasmuch as the fervour of it may be abated, and the people of God grow cold and indifferent in their expressions of it, it becomes them to make use of all proper means to maintain and increase it in themselves and others; such as are mentioned in the context, as conversing together in an edifying way about the doctrines of the Gospel, and praying either separately or together, under the influences of the Holy Spirit, and looking forward for the grace and mercy of Christ unto everlasting life; all which, with many other, things, by the blessing of God, may serve to maintain and revive the grace of love, and blow it up into a flame: though perhaps this phrase may chiefly design that love, peace, and concord, which ought to subsist among saints as brethren, and which they should be careful to preserve; and may be called the love of God, just as the same thing is styled the peace of God, Colossians 3:15, because it is what God requires, what he calls unto, which is of him, and is taught by him in regeneration, and what his, love engages to, and without which there is no true love to him; and he takes, love shown to his people as if shown to himself; and this sense is favoured by the context, both by the words in the preceding verse, and in the following ones:

looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. The mercy of Christ may be considered either as past, which was shown in eternity, in his covenant transactions with his Father, in engaging in the cause of his people, in espousing them to himself, and in the care of their persons, grace, and glory; and in time, in assuming their nature, in his tender concern for the bodies and souls of men, in bearing the sins and sorrows of his people, in the redemption of them, and in their regeneration and calling; and there is the present mercy of Christ, in interceding for his people, in sympathizing with them under all their afflictions, in succouring them under all their temptations, in suiting himself, as the great Shepherd, to all the circumstances of his flock; and there is the future mercy of Christ, which will be shown at death, in the grave, and at the resurrection, at the day of judgment, and in the merciful sentence he will pronounce on his people; and this seems to be designed here; the consequent of which, or what is annexed to it, and in which it issues, is eternal life; which is not owing to the works of men, but to the grace of God, and mercy of Christ; eternal life is in him, and is given through him, and to his mercy should men look for it. Christ himself is to be looked for, who will certainly come a second time; and eternal life is to be looked for by him; and this is only to be expected through his grace and mercy; and this is to be looked for by faith, in the love of it, with delight and pleasure, and cheerfulness, with eagerness, and yet with patience.

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Jude 1:21. ἑαυτοὺς ἐν ἀγάπῃ Θεοῦ τηρήσατε. In Jude 1:1 the passive is used: those who are addressed are described as kept and beloved (cf. Jude 1:24, τῷ δυναμένῳ φυλάξαι): here the active is used and emphasised by the unusual order of words; each is to keep himself in the love of God, cf. Jam 1:27, ἄσπιλον ἑαυτὸν τηρεῖν, Php 2:12, τὴν ἑαυτῶν σωτηρίαν κατεργάζεσθαι· Θεὸς γάρ ἐστιν ὁ ἐνεργῶν ἐν ὑμῖν. Again in Jude 1:2 the writer invokes the divine love and mercy on those to whom he writes: here they are bidden to take steps to secure these. Compare Romans 5:5, ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐκκέχυται ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν διὰ πνεύματος ἁγίου τοῦ δοθέντος ἡμῖν, ib. Romans 8:39, πέπεισμαι ὄτι οὔτε θάνατος οὔτε ζωὴοὔτε τις κτίσις ἑτέρα δυνήσεται ἡμᾶς χωρίσαι ἀπὸ τῆς ἀγάπης τοῦ Θεοῦ, John 15:9. καθὼς ἠγάπησέν με ὁ πατὴρ κἀγὼ ὑμᾶς ἠγάπησα, μείνατε ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ τῆ ἐμῇ. ἐὰν τὰς ἐντολάς μου τηρήσητε, μενεῖτε ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ μου. The aor. imper. is expressive ot urgency, see note on ἡγήσασθε, in Jam 1:2.

προσδεχόμενοι τὸ ἔλεος. Cf. Titus 2:13, προσδεχόμενοι τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν τῆς δόξης τοῦ μεγάλου Θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰ. Χ., and 2 Peter 3:12-14. The same word is used of the Jews who were looking for the promised Messiah at the time of His first coming, Mark 15:43, Luke 2:25; Luke 2:38.

εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον. Some connect this closely with the imperative τηρήσατε, but it seems to me to follow more naturally on the nearer phrase, πρ. τὸ ἔλεος: cf. 1 Pet. 1:37, εὐλογητὸς ὁ Θεὸςὁ κατὰ τὸ πολὺ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος ἀναγεννήσας ἡμᾶς εἰς κληρονομίαν ἄφθαρτοντετηρημένην ἐν οὐρανοῖς εἰς ὑμᾶς τοὺςφρουρουμένουςεἰς σωτηρίαν ἑτοίμην ἀποκαλυφθῆναι ἐν καιρῷ ἐσχάτῳ.21. keep yourselves in the love of God …] The words admit equally of being taken of our love for God, or God’s love for us, but the latter meaning is more in harmony with the general tenor of Scripture, and, in particular, with our Lord’s language (“continue ye in my love”) in John 15:9, and probably also St Paul’s (“the love of Christ constraineth us”) in 2 Corinthians 5:14.

looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ] The verb implies, as in Luke 2:25; Luke 2:38; Luke 23:51, that the “mercy” is thought of as in the future, and probably there is a special reference to the second coming of Christ as that which will manifest His mercy no less than His righteous judgment. There is no ground, however, for limiting it to this significance, and it may well include all acts of mercy to which men were looking forward in patient expectation, as in store for them during the remainder of their earthly pilgrimage.

The reference in this and the preceding verse (1) to the Holy Spirit, (2) to the Father, (3) to the Lord Jesus Christ, may be noted as shewing St Jude’s witness to the “faith once delivered to the saints.”Jude 1:21. Ἑαυτοὺς, yourselves) He who defends himself first, is able then, and not till then, to preserve others. The following verses.—προσδεχόμενοι, waiting for) They, who build themselves up, are able to wait with confidence.—ἔλεος, mercy) Opposed to fire, Jude 1:23.—εἰς, unto) To be construed with waiting for.
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