“But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 20, 21
THE believer is nowhere in the Bible spoken of or addressed as a lifeless machine, a mere automaton; but as one “alive unto God,”—as “created in Christ Jesus,”—as a “partaker of the Divine nature.” As such he is commanded to “work out his own salvation with fear and trembling,”—to “give diligence to make his calling and election sure,”—to “watch and pray, lest he enter into temptation.” Thus does God throw a measure of the responsibility of his own standing upon the believer himself, that he might not be slothful, unwatchful, and prayerless, but be ever sensible to his solemn obligations to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world,” remembering that he is “not his own, but is bought with a price.”
If the power of God is the efficient cause of the eternal security of the believer, yet, as auxiliaries which God has appointed, and by which He instrumentally works, the believer is to use diligently all holy means of keeping himself from falling; as a temple of the Holy Spirit, as the subject of the divine life, as a pardoned, justified man, he is called to labor perseveringly, to pray ceaselessly, and to watch vigilantly. He is not to run willfully into temptation, to expose himself needlessly to the power of the enemy, to surround himself with unholy and hostile influences, and then take refuge in the truth, that the Lord will keep him from falling. God forbid! This were most awfully to abuse the “doctrine that is after godliness,” to “hold the truth in unrighteousness,” and to make “Christ the minister of sin.” Dear reader, watch and pray against this!
Let the cheering prospect of that glory unto which you are kept stimulate you to all diligent perseverance in holy duty, and constrain you to all patient endurance of suffering. In all your conflicts with indwelling sin, under the pressure of all outward trial, let this precious truth comfort you—that your heavenly Father has “begotten you again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation;” that soon—oh, how soon!—all that now loads the heart with care, and wrings it with sorrow—all that dims the eye with tears, and renders the day anxious and the night sleepless, will be as though it had never been. Emerging from the entanglement, the dreariness, the solitude, the loneliness and the temptations of the wilderness, you shall enter upon your everlasting rest, your unfading inheritance, where there is no sorrow, no declension, no sin; where there is no sunset, no twilight, no evening shades, no midnight darkness, but all is one perfect, cloudless, eternal day; for Jesus is the joy, the light, and the glory thereof.