Jude 1:17-18 (NIV) 17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.”
On verses 17-18: In the face of false teachers, Jude tells his Christian readers to remember how the apostles had warned them that false teachers would come. What can we learn from this?
When false teachers try to lead you away from the truth we have in Jesus, don’t be surprised. This is something Jesus Himself warned about (for example, see Matthew 7:15; Matthew 24:11, 24). This is also something the apostles warned about (for example, see Acts 20:29; 2 Corinthians 11:13; Colossians 2:18).
God uses spiritual leaders in your life to warn you and to guide you. When facing a difficult situation, remember what your spiritual leaders have spoken to you in the past to help you in the present.
Jude 1:19-20 (NIV) 19 These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.
On verses 19-20: Every day you and I have two options. Option 1: follow those who do not have the Holy Spirit, who make decisions based only on “mere natural instincts” instead of relying on the Holy Spirit, and who have the effect of pulling us away from God and God’s church. Option 2: build yourself up in the Christian faith and “pray in the Holy Spirit”.
What does it mean to “pray in the Holy Spirit”? It means to pray with a reliance on the Holy Spirit to guide and empower us. This can include (although it is not limited to) praying in tongues, which is a spiritual gift the Holy Spirit gives to enable a Christian to pray in a new language that the Christian himself does not understand – a very useful gift that I encourage to use if you have it, and to ask for if you don’t (Luke 11:13).
Every day seek to live a life empowered by the Holy Spirit. As a daily habit, pray, “Holy Spirit please fill me. Give me wisdom and courage to live for Your glory.”
Jude 1:21-23 (NIV) 21 Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
On verses 21-23: What does it to mean to “keep yourselves in God’s love” (v1)? Jude points to three specific things we can do:
(1) for those who have honest questions about their faith, be merciful (v22), since God Himself is merciful toward us;
(2) for those who are veering off the right path, strongly reach out to them in the hope of helping them back on track (v23a); and
(3) for those who are struggling with sin, “show mercy, mixed with fear” (v23b). In other words, be merciful and compassionate to those who are struggling with sin, but at the same time be careful not to let the sin they are trapped in entrap you as well.
What can we learn from this? Don’t be one dimensional in the way you love people. Instead, may you have wisdom to know which loving approach to take with people depending on what situation they are in.
Jude 1:24-25 (NIV) 24 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy– 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
On verses 24-25: These last two verses are sometimes called a “doxology”, or a formal expression of praise to God. From this doxology we can learn several things about God:
“To him who is able to keep you from falling” (v24): Our God is for us, not against us. He’s not out there to make you stumble or laugh when you fall. Rather, He wants to keep you from falling.
“To him who is able…to present you before his glorious presence” (v24). Our God is glorious. No one compares to Him.
– “…to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (v24). God is our joy and justifier (the One who declares us not guilty). The reason He sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins is so that He could present you as blameless and joyful in His presence, not counting your sins against you anymore.
“to the only God our Saviour” (v25): He is the only God, and a saving God at that.
“be glory, majesty, power and authority” (v25): Our God is worthy of all the glory, majesty, power and authority we can give Him.
“through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” (v25) Both right now and for the rest of eternity,it is only through Jesus Christ that we can have anything to do with Godand give God the worship He deserves.
Finally, the fact that Jude would include a doxology to end his letter to his readers also teaches us one more thing: make praising God a part of your conversations and interactions with other Christians. When you’re talking or texting with other Christians, don’t hesitate to praise God in the middle of your conversation. When you do so, you give God glory, you remind yourself and your Christian friend of the One who knits you two together, and you build an atmosphere of joy and praise in your friendship.
Heavenly Father, thank You for all the lessons we can learn from Your powerful Word. Thank You for being for us and not against us. Thank You for saving us through Your Son Jesus. Thank You for our joy and justifier, and for giving us Your Holy Spirit to empower us. And thank You for spiritual leaders who help me see Your Son and hear Your Spirit more clearly. Come Holy Spirit and fill me today, that I would love You and love the people around me with wisdom and courage. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!
This brings our look at Jude to a close. What were the most impactful lessons you learned from this book? I encourage you to make a note of them in your Bible so that the next time you come across this book you’ll remember what you learned.