But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,…
I. A STATE IMPLIED. "The love of God" here obviously means God's love to the believer, and the believer's love to God, for every true Christian is in love to God, and in love from God.
1. God's love to the believer. It is not only the complacency, which is the portion of angels — and the love of goodness, which pervades the universe; but the love of compassion, that pities — the love of sovereignty, that chooses — the love of grace, that calls and renews — the love of mercy, that pardons and redeems — the love of faithfulness, that fulfils every promise, perfects every grace, and surpasses every expectation the love that knows neither beginning, change, nor end; and which, after having attended its object through earth's pilgrimage, will smooth and light his passage through the vale of death, and conduct him to a happy eternity.
2. The believer's love to God. This is our first great duty, and it is the foundation of all pure and undefiled religion, and of all the moral excellence and beauty which a created intelligence can possess. There is nothing in it of animal passion, but it is exclusively intellectual and spiritual; and though it subordinates the faculties and passions of the mind to its own movements, it is perfectly distinct from them. It is the feeling, conviction, and tendency of a redeemed created spirit towards an Infinite and Uncreated Spirit. It includes admiration of the natural and moral perfections of God; holy delight in thinking of Him, communing with Him, and feeling that we are near to Him; humble gratitude for all His mercies; and an earnest desire to be with Him in heaven.
II. THE MEANS BY WHICH THIS SPIRITUAL STATE IS TO BE MAINTAINED AND PRESERVED. "Keep yourselves in the love of God.
1. This spiritual state is like a delicate flower, or exotic; without constant care and culture, it may soon be injured, and droop and fade. The soul of the believer may get into such a cold, wintry state — be so pervaded by the chilling frosts of indifference, and the disturbing elements of worldly-mindedness and conscious guilt, as to be totally unfit for the nourishment and growth of this celestial plant.
2. And the language of the text implies another thing, and that is, that Christians are themselves responsible for the preservation, or decay, of this spiritual state. Jude says, "Keep yourselves in the love of God." It is true that in spiritual matters we can do nothing successfully without Divine aid and influence, but this is as true in the world of nature as it is in the kingdom of grace. The farmer can do nothing successfully without Divine aid and influence, and yet he would be thought very unreasonable to urge this as an evidence that no personal responsibility rests upon him for the state of his farm and crops.
3. But how are we to keep ourselves in the love of God?
(1) By praying very earnestly to God, so to exert upon us His mighty power and grace, as to keep us in that love.
(2) By carefully avoiding anything that would grieve and offend Him, and cause Him to withdraw the enjoyments of His love from us; and, on the other hand, by doing all we can to please Him, and to secure the continuance of His favour.
(3) By preserving our love to Him from injury and decay, and by diligently using all appropriate means for its growth and perfection.
Parallel VersesKJV: But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,