Jude 17-25 (NASB): But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.
24 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, 25 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.
How often have you read something from the Letter of Jude? I found some notes this morning that I had made on these verses over two years ago. And as I was reading the Letter of Jude this morning, God spoke to me and so this is my devotional for today. Hopefully it will also speak in some way to you this day through the Holy Spirit.
Jude was a very common name used by the Jews. The Greek name would have been “Judas.” Some believe the letter was written by Judas the apostle. This would have been the Judas identified in Luke 6:16 as “Judas son of James” and not Judas Iscariot. However, most scholars believe the author to be Judas the brother of James and of the Lord. We find this Judas mentioned in two verses of scripture in the New Testament: Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? (Matthew 13:55). And also in Mark 6:3: Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?”
The issue or error that Jude seems to be addressing in his letter is the heretical teaching of the second century Gnostics. Jude wants the readers of his letter to know about salvation and he also warns them of immoral and sinful men that were moving among them, trying to misrepresent the grace of God. Being saved by grace does not mean that you can continue a life of sin because of God’s grace. There is a price to be paid for continued sinfulness in our lives and we must be aware of anyone who would teach in opposition to this.
The Apostle Paul addresses this same subject in Romans 6:1-6: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
This reading from Jude spoke to me for several reasons. First of all, we will all stumble at some point in our daily walk with God. What’s important for us to remember is that we must stand firm, with the help of our Lord, against all the ungodly and immoral things of this world that seek to pull us away from God. The letter of Jude reminds us today the best way to do this. As “beloved” children of God, we are to continue “building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.”
Secondly, we are to show “mercy” to those who doubt and we are to do our best to “save” those who do not believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are called to hate the sin but not the sinner. And while doing so, we are to realize that it is Christ and Christ alone who can keep us from stumbling and will enable us to “stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.”
I love to be around people who are full of the Holy Spirit and who are more spiritual and less worldly-minded. So many Christians, and even many churches today, do not emphasize enough – the incredible life changing power of the Holy Spirit. I am so thankful that my church does and it is a truly wonderful experience to feel the power of the Holy Spirit present during each service at our church. It is the Holy Spirit that guides me through each day of my life and the power of the Spirit is something I cling to at all times. And it is because of that I can agree with Jude in saying: “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.