We live in a very perplexing time as a church. There are conflicting sides of “faith”, grace, grace and more grace and the super pious, full of law, rules, and condemnation. It is easy to look at Jesus and side with the grace side of the argument. Besides it just seems nicer. The movement against judgment because “how can a loving God judge anyone?” is a very popular movement, even in the most conservative of churches. Now i don’t pretend to know or have all the answers. i seek the Lord daily and He has on more than one occasion corrected my thought. Which He promised to do, through Paul, the Lord taught us in Philippians 3:15, “So all of us who are spiritually mature should think this way, and if anyone thinks differently, God will reveal it to him or her.”
i have been in Jude recently and even though i taught this book at Alaska Bible Institute, in Homer, Alaska, i still find it both enlightening and challenging. i discover what seems new or just new perspective given the move of society. i want to take the next few weeks and look into the depths of Jude. What did one of the four brothers of Jesus have to say? This Jude eventually led the Church in Jerusalem. He didn’t follow Jesus right away, arguably he came to faith after the resurrection. Which says a lot, and i find particularly interesting and convincing of Jesus’ resurrection and victory over the grave. It has two possible dates of being written, 50 A.D. or 90 A.D. many lean towards an earlier date, although, some settle in the middle 70 A.D.
He was writing to a Church that was beginning to express itself in ways that were contrary to the teachings of Jesus. They were swaying, not from faith, but from judgment. The early Church began to gamble a bit in their expression of faith living as they saw fit rather than following Jesus and honoring Him through their life choices. Jude isn’t casting anyone into hell, in fact, he begins with this greeting, “Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James. To those who are called, loved by God the Father and kept safe by Jesus Christ. May you have more and more mercy, peace, and love.” Not the condemnation one would expect given his warning.
3 “Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 3-4)
Sit in that for a moment. Weigh the words. Understand the author. Give heed to his warning. There is more, so much more. We will look more and more into this . . . verse by verse. But for now, pray, pray on this, the introduction, and then these two verses. Jude is a short book, one chapter, twenty-five verses. You can easily read it in a minute or two or a few seconds for you speed readers. Do it. One time read through it quickly. Then, go back and reread the first four verses. Then sit, weigh, understand, heed, and pray. Until next week . . .
You are loved,