Jude shares today that we are called, loved, and kept by God. These three words are loaded with meaning and we can’t gloss over them – our relationship with God starts with his love, is enacted through his call and our response, and sealed in the Spirit…
1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,
To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
Jude is writing to other Christians, describing them as called, loved, and kept. They’ll need it. They are contending with people who are wrestling with themselves over whether to live for God. Yet, before we get into the situation in this church, let’s look deeper at Jude’s salutation.
Called, loved, and kept. We are called by God. Called just like Simon Peter and the boys in Luke 5. We are part of the call of Jesus in Matthew 11 when he invites, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden.” We are called to relationship with the God who made us and loved us.
Yes, we are loved.
We are loved so much that God gave his only son to be the sacrifice for our sin. John 3 paints this picture for us in the words of Jesus as he tells his new friend Nicodemus about God’s plan of salvation, which is rooted in God’s love for the world.
And as we accept and receive what God has done for us in Jesus, we become what God wants for us. John 1 reveals that when we receive Jesus we become children of God. We are born of God in that moment, and we are then marked with a seal.
The Holy Spirit is our seal, guaranteeing our future.
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
As we can see, the idea that we are called and love connects to the reality that we are also kept by God in the Holy Spirit for our future redemption. Our souls are redeemed now (they are spiritually alive and connected to God), yet our bodies will be redeemed when Jesus comes again. Until then, our unredeemed bodies will be the source of our struggle to please God (as we will see in the rest of Jude’s letter).
Called, loved, and kept.
Jude was trying to encourage people in his letter, and so I don’t conclude that he had a particular order in mind from a theological perspective. If he did, he would have said that his audience is loved, called, and kept. God’s love for us was first. He loved us before he made us. He loved us before we loved him. He loved us. He loves us.
Do we love God? We should. We should love him for loving us, calling us, and keeping us. Thank you God for your love before all, Jesus for your sacrifice of love on the cross, and Holy Spirit for your promise of love for our future.