Lina Sandell Berg was no stranger to affliction. At the tender age of 12, she lay stricken with a paralysis that confined her to bed. Although physicians had all but given up, God restored her to complete health one Sunday after a time of prayer.
Fourteen years later, Lina watched her father fall overboard and drown when the ship in which they were sailing lurched forward. At 35, Lina married C.O. Berg, a wealthy businessman. The joy of their happy marriage was short-lived when their firstborn son died at birth.
In spite of everything she suffered—affliction, heartbreak, and loss—Lina wrote nearly 650 hymns, many of them expressing how secure believers are in Christ’s love. One hymn, “More Secure Is No One Ever,” aptly expressed this security.
Believers in Christ are eternally secure in Him. Nothing will ever separate them from Christ—not affliction, heartbreak, loss of a loved one, or sometime when they draw away from God’s love.
With this thought in mind, Jude (author of the book bearing his name) greeted the recipients of his letter by reminding them of their security in Christ, which will keep them secure no matter what affliction, hardship, persecution, or trial they must face in life. He wrote, “To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you” (Jude 1–2).
SELECTED IN CHRIST
Jude was writing to those who had been “called” to salvation by God the Father (v. 1). The Bible mentions two kinds of calls concerning salvation. In the general call, God externally offers salvation to all mankind through Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Many people hear the gospel and are invited to accept the general call. Unfortunately, few do. This call does not become effective until an individual receives Jesus Christ as Savior.
The efficacious call takes place when God, through the Holy Spirit, works in the mind and heart of a person He has chosen, so that the individual freely chooses to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior. Believers are called, not according to their own works, but according to God’s purpose and grace (2 Timothy 1:9). Paul is a classic illustration of God’s efficacious call. He was called, not according to his own will, but according to God’s will (1 Corinthians 1:1). In fact, he was bent on destroying the church until the moment of his call and conversion (Acts 9).
SANCTIFIED IN CHRIST
The moment a person heeds the call and becomes a Christian, he or she is “sanctified by God” (Jude 1)—set apart, both spiritually (1 Corinthians 1:1; 6:11) and physically (1 Thessalonians 4:3), to God for service. The sanctifying process takes place through the Holy Spirit, who cleanses believers by washing them with the water of God’s Word (Ephesians 5:26).
Scripture mentions three stages of sanctification. First, believers are positionally sanctified. They have been eternally set apart to God by redemption through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:10, 14; 13:12). Positionally, believers have been declared righteous before God through the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, which they received at the moment of belief. It is called positional sanctification because believers are considered holy in their standing before God.
Second, believers are progressively being sanctified. Progressive sanctification is an ongoing process in the daily walk of believers as they live out the teachings of God’s Word. They must separate themselves from sin and allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse them daily by means of the Word of God. Jesus said, “Sanctify them by Your truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17).
Third, believers will be perfected in sanctification. They are promised an ultimate (complete) sanctification at the moment they receive their resurrected bodies. Paul said, “That He [Christ] might present her [the church] to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27). Then believers will be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29), for they shall be like Him (1 John 3:3).
Sanctification involves four agents. The Father chastens believers concerning their sin (Hebrews 12:10). The Son provides the means for sanctification through His shed blood (Hebrews 13:12). The Holy Spirit applies the truth of God’s Word to believers’ lives (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2). Believers are to separate themselves voluntarily from sin. “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).
SEALED IN CHRIST
Today many Christians reject the idea that people can be eternally secure after they have received Christ. For such people, Jude stated unequivocally that believers are “preserved in Jesus Christ” (v. 1).
Grammatically, the word preserved is a perfect participle that means “guarded,” “held firmly,” “watched,” and “kept.” It speaks of a past act that took place the moment the person received salvation in Christ, with the present and permanent results of still being “preserved.” Believers have been kept, are being kept, and will be kept as an eternal possession by Christ.Believers in Christ are eternally secure in Him. Nothing will ever separate them from Christ—not affliction, heartbreak, loss of a loved one, or sometime when they draw away from God’s love.
Many scholars teach that Christians can lose their salvation. This is not true. Believers are kept, not by their own power, but by God’s power (1 Peter 1:5), which provides the security necessary to preserve them in salvation. If Christians could lose their salvation, then salvation would depend upon them and not upon the keeping power of God. Christians are as secure in their salvation as the power of God is to keep them secure.
There are several Scriptures that prove beyond a doubt that redemption is a once-for-all divine act that cannot be reversed. First, Scripture teaches that people who have been regenerated by God “have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This means that believers have eternal life as a present and permanent possession.
Second, Jesus stated concerning believers, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28). The word never is a double negative in Greek and means under no condition will believers ever perish (lose their salvation).
Third, Jesus said that He keeps all whom the Father has given to Him, and He will lose “none of them . . . accept the son of perdition that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12). If it is possible for a person to possess salvation and then lose it, Jesus’ words are untrue and cast suspicion on other statements He made about salvation.
Fourth, believers are “sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13). God the Father seals Christians into Christ by the Holy Spirit at the moment of conversion. That sealing is a once-for-all act that takes place at salvation and is irreversible. The sealing work of the Holy Spirit signifies several things. It authenticates the genuineness of a person’s salvation (Ephesians 1:13), denotes ownership and identifies the person as God’s possession (Revelation 7:3), and guarantees that the person is eternally secure until the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).
SUSTAINED BY CHRIST
Jude prayed that God’s “mercy, peace, and love be multiplied” to those to whom he was writing (v. 2).
“Mercy” is the manifestation of God’s pity and compassion to people in distress and is kin to His grace. In God’s divine order, His mercy comes before grace—He acts in grace because He has mercy for the plight of His people. It is God’s mercy that will support believers who must face the persecution poured out against them when they stand for truth in an apostate age. Share this Post
Share this Post
Mercy produces “peace” in the hearts of believers. People who have made peace with God receive peace from God, which produces the peace of God in their lives. This peace of God produces inner stability to face the pressures of an apostate age.
People who possess God’s mercy and peace will also have His divine “love.” God’s divine love, abundantly poured out, strengthens believers, enabling them to stand and face any adversity that comes into their life like Lina Berg who wrote the hymn, “More secure is no one ever than the loved ones of the Savior”! Two of the five stanzas go like this:
More secure is no one ever
Than the loved ones of the Savior—
Not yon star on high abiding,
Nor the bird in home-nest hiding.
Neither life nor death can ever
From the Lord His children sever,
For His love and deep compassion
Comfort them in tribulation.
My prayer is that the victory Lina Berg expressed would be your victory too!