â€œBut you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith;
pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God,
waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal lifeâ€ (ESV Jude 20-21).
â€œBelovedâ€. I was stirred to joy this morning by the meditation on the meaning of this word from Jude 20-21. A definition of this word â€œBelovedâ€ that I found was â€œa much loved personâ€. Synonyms for â€œBelovedâ€ are darling, dear, precious, adored, cherished, highly regarded, and valued. But let us think more about this from the Holy Scriptures. Let us stir up our affections for Christ as we think about how He reveals His affections for us in His calling us â€œBelovedâ€. This is one way to build ourselves up in our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, and keeping ourselves in the love of God.
As you meditate more on this beautiful name â€œBelovedâ€, be encouraged by the fact that it is used by the living and true God to address believers. Think about this for a moment: the living, triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, adores, cherishes, highly regards and values you! What wonderful grace! God set His affection upon us before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:3-6; 2 Tim. 1:9) and decided that he adored and cherished us in Christ. What a thrill it is to say with the betrothed bride in Song of Songs:
â€œMy beloved is mine, and I am hisâ€¦â€
Let me encourage you to think about who you are as Godâ€™s Beloved this day. Meditate on how He addresses you so sweetly and tenderly in Christ. Is there anything good that God would not do for His Beloved? Let this precious name build you up in your faith, and by His Spirit increase your joy! Think about this in two distinct ways that are never to be separated, and are both given in our union with Jesus Christ: (1) â€œBelovedâ€ is who you are because of Christ Jesus; (2) â€œBelovedâ€ is who you are becoming in union with Christ Jesus.
â€œBelovedâ€ is who you are because of Jesus Christ. In Christ, you as a believer are the Bride of Christ, the betrothed of the Most Lovely One. Christ is your gracious and kind Bridegroom (John 3:29), the glorious Shepherd and King who gave His life for you. As Christâ€™s Bride, you are addressed as Godâ€™s Beloved â€œin God the Father and kept for Jesus Christâ€ (Jude 1). Note this â€œkept for Jesus Christâ€. This is the language of betrothal. You are Christâ€™s now by the betrothal of the Father through the Spirit, but you await the full consummation of this relationship, and the wedding that will be revealed when Christ returns (Rev. 19:7; cf. Matt. 22:1-14). The Father has set you apart for Christ alone. You are His, and He is yours.
God the Father calls His own dear Son His â€œBeloved with whom He is well pleasedâ€ (Isa. 5:1; Matt. 3:17; 17:5). Jesus Christ is Godâ€™s chosen servant, His Beloved who has secured the redemption and salvation of His people (Isa. 42:1-2; Matt. 12:18; Col. 1:13; cf. Luke 20:13). In our union with Christ, believers are also Godâ€™s Beloved! Because of this reconciled relationship we have with the Father through the Son by the Holy Spirit, we are called the â€œBelovedâ€. What God the Father says to His Son, He also says to us: â€œYou are my Beloved with whom I am well pleasedâ€. We are taught in Romans 9:25 (as Hosea said): â€œThose who were not my people I will call â€˜my people,â€™ and her who was not beloved I will call â€˜belovedâ€™.â€ What a joy! Let us revel in this one name that Christ reserves for His own.
What are some blessings that you possess as Godâ€™s Beloved? Godâ€™s Beloved dwells in safety (Deut. 33:12). Godâ€™s Beloved are those who are delivered from sin and evil (Psa. 60:5; 108:6). Godâ€™s Beloved have peaceful consciences that can sleep without being troubled by anxiety and guilt and worry (Psa. 127:2; 1 Jo. 3:21). Godâ€™s Beloved can depend upon His protection and judgment (Rom. 12:19). Godâ€™s Beloved is to know that you have been adopted by God and blessed with all the spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:3-6; 5:1; 1 Jo. 3:2).
â€œBelovedâ€ is who we are becoming in Jesus Christ. Godâ€™s Beloved are we who should build ourselves up in our most holy faith, and praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping ourselves in the love of God, and waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 20-21). As Godâ€™s Beloved, we have been chosen through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth (2 Thess. 2:13). Godâ€™s Beloved is loved by Christ and therefore must flee from idolatry (1 Cor. 10:14; 1 Jo. 4:7). Godâ€™s Beloved is to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord, knowing that our labor is never in vain (1 Cor. 15:58). Godâ€™s Beloved is to live a pure and holy life, cleansed by the blood of Christ, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of the God (2 Cor. 7:1). Godâ€™s Beloved is to be characterized as holy, compassionate, kind, humble, meek, patient and forgiving (Col. 3:12). Godâ€™s Beloved are sojourners and exiles who abstain from the passions of the flesh, awaiting the return of their Heavenly Bridegroom and Lover (1 Pet. 2:11). Godâ€™s Beloved is privileged to suffer with Christ in this present age (1 Pet. 4:12). Godâ€™s Beloved loves one another (1 Jo. 4:7, 11).Â
â€œBlessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.â€ (ESV Ephesians 1:3-6).
Love in Christ,