This small book was written by Jude who was the brother of James, which meant he was also a half brother of Jesus yet look at how he identifies himself.
“Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you.” Jude 1-2
Jude doesn’t speak on the authority of being Jesus half brother. Remember Jesus’ brothers did not truly believe He was who He said He was until after the resurrection. But Jude speaks as a servant of Jesus. He is writing this letter to fellow Christians and he is calling for them to have mercy, peace and love. But not just to have it but that it may be multiplied!
Jude writes this letter as a warning to Christians of false teachers who were and really who will always be in their midst.
“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write 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 long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Jude 3-4
Jude wanted to write about “our common salvation”. No matter what we have in common with other believers, no matter if you dress similarly or not, no matter if you like sports or music, no matter if you are an intellectual genius or just a simple minded woman, those of us who have this salvation in Jesus always have something in common. Sure we will always navigate to those who seem more like minded as us in common things. But we always share this in common this salvation with other believers. Jude wanted to write about salvation, however he felt it more necessary to encourage the believers to “contend for the faith”! Yes he says this faith was “once for all delivered”. This is his reference to the fact that Jesus died on the cross once and He won’t ever have to do that again for us. That is done! But it does not mean that we will not have to “contend for this faith”. What that means is that there will always be spiritual battles against our faith. Now I’m not wanting to find a devil behind every rock. But Peter warned about the devil prowling like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) And Jude is warning here that there are people who “crept in unnoticed”. The devil is always going to creep in, or come in from the back door. He uses subtle ways to make us stumble and fall into traps and then; he roars. Just like a lion who is sneaking up on his prey. He sneaks in very quietly at first so as not to be seen coming. The devil takes down marriages by starting with simple flirtations. He entices into addictions by lying to us that we can handle it and it’s not harming anyone, it’s just a way to have fun. He will lure into pornography little by little, until the person who is so deep into it, can’t even get the images out of their head. Lifestyle sin never starts all at once, it always creeps in. Jude is telling Christians of his day and his words are scripture so that we can apply his warning to our own lives that it will creep in unnoticed and it will pervert the grace of God and it will ultimately deny Jesus.
In verses 5 – 16, Jude gave various examples of scripture that shows how sin crept in to the lives of believers. It’s worth a read to see the history of it and to be warned for yourselves. But we are called to persevere.
“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, ‘in the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions’. It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.” Jude 17-19
Here it is again, the warning of the last days where there will be people looking down on Christianity (scoffers) and people will follow their own “ungodly passions”. Sound familiar? But Jude leaves us with some encouraging words and some instructions.
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt’ save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” Jude 20-23
We as Christians are responsible for our own spiritual growth. We must be “building ourselves up” which simply put means studying for ourselves, and we pray to stay connected with God! Jesus has done the ultimate work on the cross, but we must do the day to day work to stay connected. I’ve often heard it said if I don’t feel close to God it is I who moved, not God. That is truth. When life gets too busy for me to find time to sit down with my Father every day, then I notice a difference in my daily walk with Him as well. And we are also called to look out for our fellow Christians. I loved that analogy of “snatching them out of the fire”. Friends if you see your brothers and sisters in Christ starting that flirtation, or falling into any sin, you aren’t supposed to sit passively by. We are to snatch them right out of that fire. Don’t just say to them simple warnings, give them the big picture of what they are falling into.
Jude leaves us with a prayer of praised! Read this slowly and give your praise to Jesus!
“Now to 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 Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” Jude 24-25