Loving Lord, I pray for an unhindered view of Your majesty, and an assurance of Your power working within me.
Read Jude 1-25
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Keep yourselves in God’s love” (21). How do we wander from God’s love? Meditate on that for a moment.
Jude is not an easy read for a society that extols inclusion as the highest virtue or for a church that mimics society in that regard. Jude’s exclusivist approach does not sit well with a desire to accentuate the positive or with an unease about confronting and combating evil. Here, it is people within the church community who must be confronted. They are ripe for judgment, owing to ungodliness in word and action. They “deny Jesus Christ” (4), while their misguided theology permits engagement in “immorality” (4), “slander” (9) and financial exploitation for profit (11). It’s a damning indictment, but such infiltration of God’s people has happened throughout history and continues in our day. There will be angry “Cains,” self-seeking “Balaams” and dissenting “Korahs” (11) among us. It’s good that we, too, contend for the historic Christian faith, stating positively what we believe, denying that which contradicts it. This is no license for arrogance but for firm confidence in the faith, yielding a determination to be faithful stewards of “this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish” (3, The Message).
Jude’s tour of the Old Testament uses lesser-known characters and events to demonstrate the ungodliness that arises among God’s people. Primarily, it emphasizes God’s inevitable judgment on those who claim allegiance to him, but live in denial. That agrees with the teaching of Jesus, whose most severe censures were aimed at insiders who claimed religious affiliation rather than at outsiders. It gives us confidence that the weeds cannot impede the harvest (Matt. 13:24-30).
Evil must be confronted, but what the church should be known for are positives, focusing on faith, love and hope bolstered by prayer (20,21). Displaying mercy is as important as opposing the proud (22,23).
Allow the doxology of vs. 24 and 25 to bring fresh confidence to your heart. Encourage someone by sending it to them today.
Lord, at times I feel like I’ve been born a devout coward. Forgive me for escaping situations where I need to stand firm. Empower me to honor You always.
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