Follower of Christ, did you know that you are “kept for Christ”?
In the greeting of his letter to early Christians, Jude, one of Jesus’ brothers, wrote:
“Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ” Jude 1:1
The original word used for “kept” in this verse is “téréo”, and it means to attend to carefully, take care of, to guard, to keep, to observe, to reserve.
We are kept for Him, guarded for Him, reserved for Him. Even better, He’s the one doing the keeping, guarding, and reserving. This means we are carefully attended to and taken care of by God.
Notice that the word “kept” is in the past tense; the keeping and guarding was completed in the past. God has already set us apart to carefully attend to us for Himself. This is a task that is accomplished when we accept salvation.
In the closing of the letter, Jude writes, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy…” The original word used for “to keep” here is “phylassó” – another verb similar in meaning to “téréo.” (This verb has a stronger emphasis on keeping someone or something safe). Not only are we kept by God, for God – something completed in the past – but God is able to keep us – something He will continue to do. He kept us in the past and will continue to keep us into the future.
Within Jude’s letter, he implores readers to “keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.” (Jude 1:21)
This implies that Christians have a responsibility in the keeping and guarding as well. So, although we are kept by God, we are also to keep ourselves in God’s love.
kept by God – God already did it when we accepted Jesus as our Savior
God is able to keep – God will continue to do it into the future
keep yourselves – Christians continue to do it
Ultimately, scripture teaches that true believers do not lose their salvation, but that doesn’t mean we have a free ride. We must keep our eyes on God so that we don’t fall away into sin rendering ourselves useless to God.
This brings up an important question: How do we keep ourselves for Christ?
We find clues for that by doing a Biblical word study and looking for the words “kept” or “keep” in other parts of scripture. Here are a few examples:
In Exodus 20:6, God, speaking to Moses, uses the word to explain that He will show lovingkindness to those who love Him and keep His commands.
In Leviticus 23:32, God talks to Moses about the Sabbath, describing how the people should behave on that day.
In John 14:23, Jesus tells the 12 disciples that anyone who loves him will keep his commands.
In these passages, God urges us to live as He said, to behave a certain way, to observe His words and do what He said to do. This is how we keep ourselves for Christ.
Still, how do we know how He said to live or behave? We have to study the Word and pray. We have to strengthen ourselves by reading our Bibles so we will know what God commanded. Then, we have to talk with Him daily to establish an intimate relationship with Him so we can know His heart.
Say this prayer with me:
Father, I am grateful that I am kept for you and kept by you. Thank you, Lord, that this part is finished. Done. In the past. Thank you for your lovingkindness. But, Lord, your word also tells me that you are “able to keep,” which means that your care and attention continues. I am grateful that, not only have you kept me for yourself in the past, but you are able to keep me today and forevermore. You’re able to keep me from falling into sin. I am kept, so my salvation is secure, forever. More than ever, I want to study your Word, pray to you, and wait for you. I want to live like I know you’re coming back. I will keep myself in your love.