Today we read the 25 verses of the epistle of Jude. He describes himself as the brother of James. It is reasonable to conclude this James is the one who is the chief spokesman of the believers in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13) and are both sons of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Judging by the urgency in his language, his epistle is written about the same time as Peter’s second letter: his message is very similar – there is a crisis among believers.
He addresses it to
“those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ” (verse 1).
Are there some in the church who are not “called” and are therefore not “kept” for the Lord? It seems so, for his letter is
“appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed … who pervert the grace of our God unto sensuality …” (verses 3,4).
That reminds us of Paul’s complaint in writing to the Romans,
“Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!” (6:1,2).
We hear this foolish way of thinking expressed today in some churches in the phrase ‘Once saved, always saved’, which in effect apparently means,
you cannot become unsaved; Christ will always forgive you, no matter what!
God’s grace does abound – and our response must be to show our appreciation by how we live – as King David did after he had grievously sinned.
Jude’s letter is an appeal to remember the lessons of history especially the failure of the people of Israel after they were miraculously delivered from bondage in Egypt (verse 5).
He comments how the Apostles have been warning,
“In the last time there will be scoffers following their own ungodly passions. It is these who cause divisions, devoid of the spirit. But you beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith … that leads to eternal life” (verses 18-21).
Jude’s “last time” was the end of Jerusalem, and the destruction of the Temple. His message is just as appropriate for us today, for we live in the Gentile “last times”. “Scoffers” abound today.
Jude ends his message by being wonderfully positive, a prayer and vision for us to hold in our minds every day!
“Now unto him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25)