Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you… Jude 3-4…
This is it, the final epistle. One chapter, a mere 25 verses remain before scripture shifts to a blazing finale of prophecy. In such circumstances, only a topic of the utmost importance will do. Jude wanted to write about the salvation we share, but God overruled him. What is on God’s mind? A warning to protect the salvation we share, a warning to beware of the corruption of the Gospel from infiltrators within the church.
My thoughts immediately jump to men like Harold Camping. The Bible says that no man can know the day or hour or Christ’s return. Apparently God didn’t count on the keen intellect of Camping to piece together the clues and figure it out.
Jesus continually commanded us to fear not. However, there was one occasion when He changed His tune and told us in no uncertain terms to fear. He was warning of Hell, and He spoke of it often, even using it as a motivation to turn to God. No matter. Pastor Rob Bell openly questions the whole doctrine of Hell. Pastor Gregory Boyd decries those who use it as a witnessing tool.
In the Bible, God promises His followers trials and tribulations during their earthly life. No matter. Pastors such as Joel Osteen amass huge congregations and national followings by teaching that God actually promises to pour out wealth and success on His earthly servants.
I won’t pretend I know enough about any of these men to be certain that they qualify as modern-day targets of Jude’s letter. However, it’s plain to see that aspects of their teaching legitimize such questions.
There are two thoughts in the closing verses of Jude that I’m particularly grateful that God has included.
Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. Jude 22-23
Even as this book blasts apostates, God’s heart dwells on those they’ve misled from the true Gospel. He commands us to reach out in mercy to them.
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy- Jude 24
Jude reminds us that it is the work of Christ that matters. He alone keeps me from stumbling. He alone will present me without fault. I might exercise my will to follow Him, but even this is only as He enables me to, and I take great comfort that my future is secured because of His work alone. If I had any part to play, I’d eventually blow it. He won’t.
Dear God, lead me away from false teaching, make me an effective advocate for the truth of your Word, and let me always remember your promise that I am entirely and forever secure in You and by You. Amen.