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, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time now and forever. Amen. Jude 24-25
These words were embedded into me at a camp I worked at in my twenties for several full summers. We sang it as a benediction countless times when we met for chapel services at a point that jutted out into a huge lake. We would canoe to get to it, and met up with two other camps around the lake. When we sang, nature sang with us. A thousand strong, we would sing: “Now onto Him who is able to keep, able to keep you from falling and present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…”
They still echo in my heart some thirty years later. It is a great promise of the faith. God is the One who keeps me from falling and will bring me safely home to Heaven. One day I will stand faultless before Him, with exceeding joy. Philippians 1:6 reinforces this: “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to bring it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” God started my faith, and God will finish it. What great news as I muddle through most days.
When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, recorded in John 17, He said to the Father, “I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction (Judas), that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” Add to that Luke 22:31-32 when Jesus speaks to Simon Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.”
Jesus was guarding Peter’s faith, the other disciples’ faith walk, and he guards ours. Hebrews 7:25 tells us, “Consequently, He (Jesus) is able to save to the uttermost (completely, for eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” In other words, Jesus is praying day and night before the throne to guard our faith. We probably all get sifted like wheat because Satan is the enemy of our souls, but our faith will still stand. That’s a promise.
This does not mean that we can live however we want and Jesus will pick up the pieces. If you really belong to Jesus, God is at work changing your desires and giving you the power to live for Him. Philippians 2:13 tells us, “It is God who at work in you to will and to act according to His good pleasure.” If you see yourself not longing for holiness and obedience, pray and ask God to change your heart, to place His desires on your heart, and to give you the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to carry it out.
When God does a work in you that you didn’t have the desire or power to accomplish on your own, then use that as a sign that your faith is driven by God and that you belong to Him. God is able. He is able to bring you safely home. I cry out with David in Psalm 138:8: “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands.”