Jude – Stand Firm With Eyes Wide Open!
For Jude, family was not everything. He was the brother of James – the well-known leader of the early church – and the son of Mary and Joseph. Jude and James were half-brothers of Jesus. Yet Jude did not come to saving faith until after Jesus’ resurrection.
Still, once Jude signed on as a believer, he was committed. He knew the meaning and the purpose of the faith that Jesus had introduced to the world, and he would rebuke anyone who maligned it – or its Founder. That is exactly what he did in this brief epistle.
Apparently, as Jude was planning to write a longer letter “concerning our common salvation” he received reports of false teachers who had infiltrated local congregations. So Jude addressed the crisis at hand with a letter equivalent to a modern-day email with a red exclamation mark. His vigorous memo urges God’s people to stay alert, to contend for the truth, to stay strong in the Lord, to protect the vulnerable, and to remain certain that God would judge false teachers.
Jude wrote this letter to warn his readers that the apostates were already on the scene, and to motivate Christians everywhere to action. He wanted them to recognize the dangers of false teaching, to protect themselves and other believers, and to win back those who had already been deceived.
Peter had prophesied that they would come (2 Peter 2:1-3; 3:3), and his prophecy had been fulfilled. Apparently Jude wrote to the same believers who had received Peter’s letters, intending to stir them up and remind them to take Peter’s warnings to heart. You will discover a number of parallels between Jude and 2 Peter as you study this fascinating but neglected letter.
He wrote to “exhort” them (Jude 3). In the Greek language, this word was used to describe a general giving orders to the army; hence the atmosphere of this letter is “military.” Jude had started to write a quiet devotional letter about salvation, but the Spirit led him to put down his harp and sound the trumpet! The Epistle of Jude is a call to arms.
Greeting to the Called
Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,
To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:
Jude 1 (NKJV)
Jude’s passion to protect his readers from false teaching is evident from his first words as he recalls God’s saving work on their behalf. Called and sanctified refer to being selected and set apart as His holy people at salvation (Rom. 1:17); preserved means salvation secured for eternity (John 6:37-44; 17:11-12; Rom. 8:29-39).
The truth is a believer’s best defence; to stand firm in one’s identity as God’s child and His ability to safeguard one’s soul is strength indeed.
Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
Jude 2 (NKJV)
Jude prayed that three qualities, mercy, peace, and love would overflow in his readers’ lives. Mercy is the idea of showing compassion to one who was suffering and is used of both God and man. Peace speaks of tranquility, quiet, and rest. Love is a strong feeling of affection between those who are closely associated.
If these qualities were truly present in every regenerated individual, what would the world be like?
Humbly Stand Up For The Good News
Jude reminds God’s people that they have two vital responsibilities when they hear the Good News being slandered, distorted, or misrepresented.
- They are to explain and defend the gospel to the best of their ability;
- Then they must stay strong, confident, and humbly rooted in the knowledge and practice of the gospel.
In today’s world, just as in the first century, people present lies and misleading messages about the gospel and about Jesus. Even so, Christians must be careful to follow both Jude’s call to “contend earnestly for the faith” and Paul’s reminded that the Lord’s servant “must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition” (2 Tim. 2:24-25).
In a world that prizes tolerance and claims that standing for truth is unacceptable, Jude demonstrates that tolerance has its limits. When the truth of the gospel is challenged, God’s people must take a stand – all the while remembering to act with love and mercy.
DECLARATION OF FAITH
Mercy, peace, and love from God are mine in abundance.
I pray this declaration of faith in the name of Jesus Christ! Amen.
Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Alert
The Jeremiah Study Bible
The Moody Bible Commentary
The Complete Personalized Promise Bible