One of the most curious verses in the New Testament is Jude’s imperative, “keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21). As part of God’s prescribed protection from the spiritual dangers warned against throughout this little letter, we are commanded to discipline ourselves to live within the sphere of God’s love. We do this by remaining focused on His love for us in Christ Jesus and by demonstrating our love for Him through a growing obedience to His Word.
But what does this verse not mean? Keeping ourselves in the love of God does not mean we must keep ourselves saved.
• We are being kept by the power of God for our eternal inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-5).
• We are a gift to the Son of God and no one can snatch us from the Father’s hand (John 10:29; 17:9).
• We cannot be separated from God’s love in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:31-39).
• We are permanently sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30).
How, then, do we practically keep living in the conscious sphere of God’s love?
- Rest in the Father’s steadfast love and continual care for His blood-bought children. Read and meditate on 1 John 3:1-2. John instructs us to “see” (Look!) at the love of God. One of the New Testament writer’s favorite terms for us as believers is “beloved.” We are the loved ones of God. What an amazing thought!
- Remember the love of Jesus, the Son of God, most dramatically displayed on the Cross. Read and meditate on Romans 5:5-10. God demonstrated His love by giving His Son and the Son demonstrated His love by willingly offering Himself as the atoning sacrifice for our sin. For our Christian lives to be fruitful, we must never move far from the cross. Also read John 19:26-27 and note the tender love for others that Jesus demonstrated while He was in extreme agony.
- Remain in step with the Spirit who continually testifies to your spirit that you are a child of God. Read Romans 8:14-17 and note the Spirit’s loving ministry to us. And note Galatians 5:24-25. When we keep in step with the Spirit the pattern of our lives will become less fleshly, for it has been crucified, and more in line with the Holy Spirit’s character. The primary way we keep in step with the Spirit, and thus keep ourselves in the love of God, is by walking in obedience to God’s Word. See the connection Jesus makes between love and obedience in John 15:9-10.