The Danger Within
Almighty God, nothing is too hard for You; Your purposes cannot be thwarted. I praise You for Your power.
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” (Jude 21). Take time to enjoy the reality that the Son of God loved you and gave himself for you (See Gal. 2:20).
John Le Carré’s novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy centers on a “mole” (counterspy) embedded in British intelligence, attempting to undermine the system from within. Le Carré’s story is also the story of the church throughout its history, as it was part of the record of Israel’s history (5-11). The attack is subtle, for enemies slip in secretly (4), expressing fellowship through communal meals (12). They exhibit spiritual dryness, fruitlessness, superficiality and great promise that leads nowhere (12,13). We would be running against the whole stream of history if we did not face similar dangers. Internal error, consciously or unconsciously exercised, is part of our reality (18). We witness those who claim to follow Jesus but whose lives deny him (4); who refuse to be corrected (11a; Gen. 4:7); who by self-seeking end up opposing God (11b); who criticize and undermine godly leadership (11c). Is there anything there you recognize?
How do we respond? Jude’s historical tour calls for alertness but also confidence in God. These characters, even if they are angelic beings (6), come under the judgment of almighty God (14,15). There is no need for anxiety over whether evil will triumph. God’s judgment is sure. However, we do have responsibilities. One of Jude’s antidotes is to avoid novelty (3), which can make the traditional seem passé and irrelevant. Of course, doctrines need to be restated for contemporary society, but that is different from altering their content. Jude stresses holding to the truth and checking attractive new slants against the standard of the apostles’ teaching. Although we are to engage in defending the faith, it seems that positively building up each other, prayer and patiently waiting are to be priorities, along with a pastoral heart for those influenced by wrong teaching (22,23). This is love and truth in action.
What can you do about the possibility of error creeping into the church? What can you do for those going off course?
Father, I need the discernment to tell the difference between trends and fads, restating and rewriting, truth and error. Give me wisdom to always see what is right.
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