Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and a brother of James, to those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: (Jude 1)
Tucked into the address of Jude 1 is a beautiful picture of salvation.
Jude describes the believers who received his letter in three ways. First, they are those who are called. The language of calling is reminiscent of Romans 8:28-30:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed tot he image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
The calling that Jude refers to is a calling unto salvation. The theological term for this is ‘effectual calling.’ By the work of the Holy Spirit, those who belong to Christ have been called – called in such a way that effectively brings about their salvation.
Second, Jude says they are loved in God the Father. Literally, they are described as “beloved.” As a result of their election by God the Father in Christ, they are beloved of God. The joyous reality of salvation is that through God’s free pardon and gracious adoption of sinners, we are counted as beloved. We are objects of God’s holy, redeeming love.
Third, these believers are kept for Jesus Christ, which is a promise of their eternal security. What God has started in calling them to salvation, he will bring to its full completion. Note that it is God who keeps them for eternal salvation. It is the persistence, faithfulness, and perseverance of God that is in view here, not the strength or weakness of the Christian’s faith.
In this brief verse, Jude gives us an awe-inspiring picture of salvation from beginning to end.