Reading Plan – Day 4
Jude is beginning to draw his warnings to a close, but not without some last words. He reminds his readers the Apostles predicted times like these. The Apostles said, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires” (2 Timothy 3:1, 2 Peter 3:3, Jude 1:18).
Sometimes we are surprised to find sin in the church, and yet the inspired writers tell us that sin often slips in. It often comes in the form of scoffers. A scoffer in the Bible is a person who resists godly teaching, mocks believers, scorns instruction, and ridicules those who try to correct him. We likely won’t escape the presence of scoffers. They masquerade themselves and cloak their words. But they are present. They were active in Jesus’s day, in the age of the Apostles, and today. We see this as people increasingly cast the Bible aside as a dead book that is irrelevant for modern life. Jude warns his readers to be careful because “These are the people who will divide you…” (Jude 19).
What should we do?
So what is our protection? Maybe Jude’s next words can be an answer to this question. He tells his readers to build themselves up in “your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love…” (Jude 20-21). This is a personal responsibility and a group effort. Jude earlier encourages his readers to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.” The holy faith is not just any faith. It is the message of Christ passed down from the eyewitnesses and now entrusted to God’s holy people.
Holy isn’t sinless in this context. Holy means “set apart” and while that certainly means that we will pursue Godly living, it also means the set apart and loved people of God (Jude 1). When Jude tells us to build ourselves up in the most holy faith he is affectionately pleading us to be earnest in our perseverance of the truth. There is no more effective way to do this than to love God’s Word, the Bible, and consistently come to God in prayer.
What We Can Do
Doubt is obviously something that most Christian’s struggle with from time to time. Jude tells his readers to “be merciful to those who doubt.” At the same time, it’s important to save people by “snatching them from the fire” (Jude 22-23). Doubt is one thing, but fire is another. Some people are being led astray and others have been led astray. They are in the fire so to speak and need to be saved. This is why it’s so important to “contend for the faith” (Jude 3). In Zechariah 3:2,4 God provides a real-life example of this. God snatches the high priest Joshua from the fire of sin, even as the devil is accusing Joshua. God rebuked Satan even as an angel clothed Joshua in the cleanliness of forgiven sin. There is something about repentance and forgiven sin that is like water on a fire.
Jude has a final challenge to his readers telling them to hate “even the clothing stained by the corrupted flesh” (Jude 23). For as long as we are in this world, we will battle with sin. We are in the “already” and the “not yet.” If we have put our faith in Christ we have already been declared righteous in the eyes of the Lord (Romans 5:1-11). We have experienced God’s grace and forgiveness. We have seen his love and the beauty of his salvation. We are already receiving a taste of heaven. But we still live in a broken world. We still struggle with sin. We are “not yet” fully experiencing the joys of heaven and the blessings of new bodies. So while we are in this world we rejoice in our salvation and we grieve the sinfulness we find in ourselves and others.
Read verses 22 and 23 again.
- Who is doubting that you can come alongside?
- Who needs “snatching from the fire?” Who has been led astray or is being led astray?
- Who needs mercy (because they have sinned, other)?
Consider writing down a key verse or verses from today on an index card or small piece of paper and carry it with you today. Look at it as often as you can as a reminder of what you learned today.
Possible Verse: Jude 20, Jude 21