I love Jude’s greeting! “… those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.”—Who better to be kept (separated, set apart, made Holy!!!)for?— Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. ☺! Mercy & Peace was a common greeting in the Jewish culture at the time, but Jude adds Love, a mark of the Christian faith.
Jude just wants to write about the salvation they share—he’s eager to talk about the good news, but unfortunately there is bad news he must bring up—because there are apostates (those who claim to be believers, but are not) among them. So Jude is charging his readers to battle for, or contend for & protect their Faith! There are ungodly people, who are mixing in among the true believers and are using Grace as an excuse for immorality & even denying that Jesus is God—leading others away from the truth.
He further warns and reminds them, that though God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, He did destroy some who were not faithful to Him. Jude points out that God, not only punishes human sin, but even the sins of the angels. He reminds them of how God used the cities of Sodom & Gomorrah as examples of those who were punished by fire alluding to the future eternal damnation. These ungodly people among them reject authority and even heap abuse on celestial beings that were led astray. These apostates are wanting to (v.19) cause divisions, not unity-- like the unity that Judas started out his letter with.
When we focus on God and His goodness we have Mercy, peace & love in ABUNDANCE, but when we stray…we reap eternal punishment… He also makes it clear in verses 8-11 that leading others astray brings great condemnation from God as well.
Jude wants his readers to separate themselves from these selfish “shepherds who feed only them selves, (these) clouds without rain, autumn trees with out fruit and uprooted twice dead.(vs.12&13) He goes on to remind his readers of what the apostles said would happen, and that the believer’s job is to build themselves up in Faith, PRAY, and wait for God’s mercy, while showing mercy to others during these times in order that others may be saved from the fire. He ends with a great Doxology—trusting in Jesus full of glory, majesty, power & authority—perfect authority this time.
Jude is written using bookends. He begins with sweet encouragement-- blessing them with all that is good, and again, at the end, Jude praises God for all His goodness, while the middle part is full of warnings and pointing out the sin & doom of ungodly people because of their ungodly acts & causing others to stumble. The good news is that God wins; He is the only thing that saves us, and his benevolent Love is clear. He has given us authority & wants us to join Him in saving others, which ultimately brings Him Glory. In the end, it is God who is making all things right, and making us holy through His Son.
Knowing that we are beloved and set apart for Jesus, it is our job to fight for our Faith like it is a great treasure! If we are to do this, we need to know the Scriptures well, and Pray with out ceasing. We also need to be soberly minded, so that we can recognize those who may seem like they know God, but don’t. This includes books and speakers who may be popular. We need to test these things against God’s word, His wisdom. Run them through passages like James 3:16, or other wisdom passages like those we have just learned by reading 1st & 2nd Peter. I am convicted to “hide (more of God’s) word in my heart, that I might not sin against (God)” because if I have more of His word memorized and in my heart, then the words of this world, will butt-up against the truth & be made clear for what they are--lies! The other truth I am convicted of is that I need to be more mindful and thankful that God is ultimately the victor, and if I am in Him, I need not fear because I am blameless through His Son. I can have confidence in that.
Oh God, I am thankful that You are good and great, and that You have all authority for all time. Thank you for the peace I have because You sent Your Son to take care of all the places where I fall short. Thank you for Your Word that brings life and wisdom. Prompt me, God, not to just read Your Word, but to memorize it & “hide it in my heart” for eternity, so that I can have more peace, and so that I can lift others up and encourage them. Please help me to build in that habit more, especially now as life gets busier with school and less unscheduled time. Amen
Posted on Tue, August 18, 2015
by Brian Landers