Words of assurance, adoration and praise

Jude - Fourteenth and final in a series

In trials affecting the church, we witness and experience disappointing behaviors, confusion, heartbrokenness, despair, anxiety, bitter revenges, and even more. In part these are evidences of Christian immaturity, but that is not the full explanation. The Evil One and his assistants work hard to destroy the body of Christ, the church.

Why would God permit their attacks, as Jude describes, that undermine our faith and peace? Because going through them, we look to the One who is able to keep us from falling, and we grow in grace and the knowledge of the Truth.

Now to Him who is able
to keep you from stumbling, and
to make you stand in the presence of His glory
blameless
with great joy,
to the only God our Savior,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
be glory, majesty, dominion and authority,
before all time
and now
and forever.
Amen.

(Jude 1:24, 25)

Jude encourages believers that when we meet the Lord face to face, we not only will bow— we will stand, for he not only saved and redeemed but also enabled us to persevere through all our days.

At times we feel we are in great danger of falling below any hope of returning, but then the Majestic One steadies us. We are again ready to be those in his church who would rescue the perishing.

How to contend for the Faith

Jude - Sixth in a series

The reason Jude gives for writing his letter is to encourage his readers to contend for the true faith, however, nearly the entire text of Jude describes the "certain men crept in unawares." (Jude 1:4)

Verse 4 reads in full: For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

There are no pointers given in Jude on how to contend for the true faith, as we have come to expect from Christian seminars on evangelism or apologetics. Instead, Jude will advise simple steps to maintain ones personal faith and ones standing in the church: build up your faith by praying in the Spirit, keep yourself in God's love, and maintain a serious focus on the eternal life to come in the one who is all mercy. That is all.

It is possible to contend for the faith once delivered by setting a good example in loving God and man, enabled by prayer assisted by the third person of the Trinity, while cherishing eternal life. Yet, in your simplicity and peaceful hope, know you will be challenged. Perhaps you will be undermined by certain people in your own church!

Since the earliest days, unbelievers have filtered in among the ranks of God's soldiers. Christ warned about the ones who did not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbed in by some other way. (John 10:1) The Lord alone is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6), and those who enter by a side door to preach a different gospel (Gal 1:8) are thieves. A broad range of such people come to mind, but for our study, we will consider the "ungodly" ones that Jude warned about (vs 4, above).

Three initial points are made about these:

  1. They were before of old ordained to this condemnation.
  2. They turn the grace of God into lasciviousness.
  3. They deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

By God's superintendence of Scripture, Jude's very first point predicts the ultimate destination of those who design to ruin God's faithful ones. They are under a sentence of condemnation.

These men have warred on God in two ways, as Enoch described, (Jude 1:15) 1. by their deeds, and 2. by their words or "hard speeches" (rough, offensive).

There is assurance in knowing that rebels are under severe judgment. If they were not, if there is no difference between right and wrong, then there is no meaning in life, but there is.

Question: Are these men reprobate in the theological sense of the word? That is, have they crossed the line beyond which there is no turning back? Is there such a line? Though this question leads on a rabbit trail relative to our focus for this post, it is important to answer.

Is Jude saying that these men were predestined to condemnation? Or, have they simply incurred God's condemnation by their deeds and words? The concept of foreordination to condemnation is a difficult one. If God elects some, does he also choose to pass over others? The Westminster Confession says Yes, based on Scripture (John 6:64, 10:26, 8:47; 1 John 2:19; Mat 11:25; Rom 9:17-22; 2 Tim 2:19, 20; Jude 1:4; 1 Pet 2:8). Recall though, that Pharaoh hardened his own heart when God did not harden it for him (Ex 8:32, et al).

All people have choices, and we can cry out for help to stop behaving rebelliously, or we can choose reprobation, a state from which few ever emerge. We do not know the lines God draws and why. We do know he shows lenience for some and takes into consideration many circumstances. We do know it's impossible to stop rebelling without the help of God, so the best thing to do if you find yourself in a contrary lifestyle is to cry out for God's help. He hears the cries of the lost and has great mercy on weak sinners.

Thus, when Jude points out the need to snatch some from the fire (Jude 1:23), he could be referring to the rebels, not just those affected by their influence.

In two ways, these rebels qualified for judgment: 1. they convoluted the concept of grace by lascivious permissions, and 2. denied the lordship of Christ.

True freedom and abundant life in Christ grant power to overcome sexual lust, gluttony, addictions and consequent falling into worse sin. When we are saved, we are released from bondage to sin and thus from the law because we are enabled to obey God's laws by his Holy Spirit. To say this new inner reserve gives us license to practice the sin we were delivered from is to confuse the cure with the illness or to seize upon deliverance as a sign of privilege rather than mercy. But God is not a God of confusion; sin is bondage and deliverance is amazing grace that right-minded people cherish rather than test or despise.

Anyone who equivocates and engenders such confusion is denying that Jesus has the right to require his followers to be like him, righteous. They co-mingle his mercy with the deadly toxin of self gratification. They deny Jesus Christ is Lord, the only God.

A coveted stature

Jude - Third in a series

Jude warns his brothers and sisters about so-called Christians who have infiltrated their church to pollute and overthrow it, and urges them to contend for the faith.

To ready them for this alarm, he begins by reminding them of their stature as members of the body. It is this stature that the Evil One wildly despises. Believers are:

  • sanctified, loved of God,
  • preserved in Jesus Christ, and
  • called. (Jude 1:1)

As we saw in the previous post, the love of God that sanctifies is welcoming and faithful though all others forsake us, not permissive or short-sighted, but forgiving, upbuilding, and it is unending.

The second concept, that of being preserved in Christ, is, like the first, expressed in the Greek "perfect tense" which as in English, "describes an action… having been completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated." (ref, studylight.org Interlinear Bible)

Some Bible translations read kept for Christ and others, preserved in Jesus Christ. If I am kept for Christ, it is the Father who works, but if by him, then it is Christ working— so which is it?

Here is a reply from the "Divines" who joined together in the 17th century to ruminate all of Scripture and distill the essential doctrines of the Christian faith in what we now call The Westminster Confession. Our preservation is assured because it is based on:

  • The unchangeable mind of our loving God: Those whom he predestined he also called, and those who are called he has justified, and those who are justified are glorified. (Rom 8:30)
  • The merit and intercession of Christ. (John 3:16; Heb 7:25)
  • The abiding of God's Holy Spirit in our hearts. (John 14:26) (See Westminster Confession, Chapter XVII, www.reformed.org)

The summary statements in a good Confession and their attendant scriptures are helpful as a defense against those who would overturn the church in any century whether they be humans or rulers of darkness (Eph 6:12).

A good illustration in Scripture of a believer who was preserved by and for Christ is Peter. Though he denied Christ at the critical moment, he was forgiven and became a church leader. Preservation does not equal continually abiding but God is faithful.

Jude's third word for believers in the KJV is Called, however it precedes the other two in practice as well as in many Bible translations. The Christian's heart is awakened by God's Spirit calling him or her to come near and to follow closely. This call must provoke a certain fear and result in a thirst for finding out what is in God's Word. It will engender a desire to pray and to hear more from God. Eventually, it will lead to a hunger for friendship and community with other believers.

Of course, this last phase is often disturbed by the situation Jude describes, where certain people creep in to spoil the fellowship as we will see. This is why studying Jude’s letter is as relevant now as it was in the first century, for our security in Christ will be menaced and can be eroded when we are off guard.

Attention Readers

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Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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