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Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Jude 1 : 1-21

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” -Jude 20-21 [NKJV]

Jude’s message to Christians everywhere is that opposition would come, and godless teachers would arise, but Christians should defend their faith by rejecting all falsehood. The audience to whom Jude wrote was vulnerable to heresies and to temptations towards immoral living.  Jude encouraged the believers to remain firm in their faith and trust in God’s promises for their future.  The message of Jude was even more important then, as it is now, as they were living in a time of increased falling away from the faith. 

We read in Jude Vs.4, “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for the condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” With all the blunt descriptions of the false teachers, Jude neither gives the believers a command to confront these troublemakers nor any plan of corrective action, but to avoid them. He simply states that these heretics are already under the condemnation of God.

God’s Word and the gift of eternal life have infinite value and have been entrusted to Christ’s faithful followers. But many people are hostile to God and His true followers and they twist God’s Word.  While he reinforces that we must remain true to Christ’s message by keeping our faith, Jude uses three powerful pictures to illustrate the importance of staying true to God.  Thereby he points out the following as a caution to stay away from wickedness and evil:

  1. The Jews in the wilderness were destroyed due to their unbelief (Jude 1:5)

  2. The fallen angels were imprisoned due to disobedience (Jude 1:6)

  3. Sodom and Gomorrah were burned due to immorality and rebellion (Jude 1:7)

 

We further see that the Christians were given enough warning concerning false teachers from the words of Christ and the Apostles (Jude 1:17-18), but they had become negligent and were no longer on guard. From the life of the Israelites we too are warned that that though they had a magnificent beginning in Egypt, many were left to a disastrous ending in the wilderness.  The false teachers who had made their way into God’s people would be judged, just like the false believers who rejected God in the wilderness.  The description of the heretics as “mockers” shows  that one of their tactics was to gain credibility by tearing down godly leaders.  Jude in declaring the false teachers were without the Spirit, leaves no doubt as to their eternal destiny. They are merely worldly persons who did not belong to God. 
 

Finally, Jude stresses to the children of God to maintain in the following:

  • Building yourselves up on your most holy faith (Jude 1:20)

  • Praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:20)

  • Keeping yourself in the Love of God (Jude 1:21)

  • Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life (Jude 1:21)

 

It is clear that Jude is encouraging us here to cultivate our love for Christ, for we cannot be separated from His love for us (Rom. 8:35-39).  


As we are living in the last days, much closer to the end than the original readers of this letter, we too are vulnerable to doctrinal errors and the deceit of the wicked.  It may look “godly” but… “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”  (Matt. 7:15). But God, in His grace, can keep us from falling and drifting, if we remain faithful, that will keep us in His presence and give us everlasting joy.  
 

Prayer:  

Dear Lord, …. lead us not into temptation, but deliver us

from the evil one.  For Yours are the kingdom and the power

and the glory forever. Amen.  

(Based on Matthew 6:13)

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