How Great the Light That Casts the Shadow

by Jared C. Wilson October 17, 2017

A Gospel Reflection on Jude’s Doxology

“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 and now and forever. Amen.”
— Jude 1:24-25

Jude’s concluding doxology is stirring, connecting God’s infinite worth to our “great joy.” The affirmation of Christ’s ability to “keep [us] from stumbling” is an echo of verse 1, which assures us that we are being “kept for Jesus Christ.” There is an inextricable connection between God’s glory and our salvation. Were it not for God, we would be falling from grace every waking second. It is he who keeps us from stumbling; it is he who qualifies us as blameless. So Jude wants to ascribe to God all that he is due: glory (credit), majesty (beauty), dominion (jurisdiction), and authority (power). Thus, this closing doxology stands in stark contrast to the darkness Jude has spoken of throughout his letter.

We see in the end the radiance of glory that stands in stark contrast to the depths of wickedness. Instead of dangerously hidden reefs (Jude 12), we see in the doxology the visible rock of refuge, the rock higher than ourselves, the stone carved from the mountain that smashes kingdoms (Daniel 2), the strong tower and safe refuge, the rock upon which, if we are shipwrecked, it is for our good and security. Instead of self-centered shepherds, we see the Good Shepherd who cares for the sheep at all times, who feeds the sheep with his own flesh (John 10:11).

We see the glory of God not in some thin, vaporous mist but in the pillar of cloud leading the sons of God through the wilderness. We see the commander of the winds, the sender and the stopper of them. Instead of fruitless trees, we see the true vine in whom there is life abundant—the vine who was once dead but who is now up-risen in glory and vindication (John 15:1). Instead of being swept along by the wild waves of the sea, we see the One who walks upon the waves and calms the storms (Mark 6:45–52). Instead of “wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever” (Jude 13), we see the bright morning star, the blazing sun of righteousness for whom the brightness of brightest glory has been reserved forever (Rev. 22:16).

How great the light that casts the shadow! He has illumined our way, and has kept us from falling away, so he gets all the glory. This is indeed grounds for great joy, as we look to Christ. What shall we say then to this confrontation with God’s “glory, majesty, dominion, and authority”?

Hallelujah! Praise Christ!

Adapted from my notes on the book of Jude in the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible

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