The purpose of this letter is clearly stated by Jude with an infinitive–to contend for the faith! There are two groups in this letter–those kept in eternal bonds into eternal judgment and those kept in Christ into eternal life. There is no third option.
This letter is very serious. It’s not lighthearted. Eternity hangs in the balance. For those who were looking for a gentle uplifting word from Jude today, will not hear it.
A question immediately comes to mind. How are we to contend for the faith?
First, you need to know why contending for the faith is so urgent and important. Jude gives the reason: “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
In other words, they are people who seek to gratify their senses or body. Jude gives several examples of what this looks like. They are described as the unbelieving in the Exodus. Of angels, they are those who did not *keep their own domain, but *abandoned their proper abode. Of those in Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, they *indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh.
These unnoticed persons, in the same way, do this by relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and slander the glorious ones. They are further described as ungodly who do ungodly deeds which are done in ungodly ways, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Jesus.
You might ask, “How were they not noticed?” Does this not cause you to tremble? It makes me think of the Twelve who had not clue Judas was the one. The word “crept” in reveals a sneaky intent. It should be noted that our enemy Satan clothes himself in light. He doesn’t want to be noticed. The more subtle the better. It also reminds me of the image of wolves in sheeps’ clothing.
I suppose part of the problem comes from what we all seem to get used to. It’s like living near a train track to which many will get to the point of no longer hearing it rumble down the tracks. These persons are grumblers (rumblers). It always ends up being someone else’s fault. They give no thought to others but rather live for their own desires. These “magicians” enchant others with their flattery to win them over. They are marked by selfishness rather than selflessness.
Jude gives MUCH attention to these people. However, he says “but you” must be different. He gives two commands: remember and keep here at the end. Remember the words spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ and keep yourselves in the love of God.
In other words, remember that they said this would happen: “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” I think we often look like the disciples when Jesus told them things that were going to happen and when they did happen they had forgotten and seemed surprised.
Beloved, remember, people like this are in the church. They are members in good standing. Some of them teach our kids in Sunday School. They occupy committees and organize events. And yet, you have grown up with them and you do not notice the zipper on their sheep outfit. They are divisive but you find yourself wooed to their side by their flattery.
Beloved, keep yourself in the love of God, not the love of the world. How?
(Jude 1:20-21) by building yourselves up in your most holy faith, by praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 maintain yourselves in the love of God, while anticipating the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that brings eternal life.
This must be done together! I should repeat that a 100 times! Grow. Mature. Learn. Observe. Serve. Give. Be selfless. Make disciples that make disciples. Building, praying and expecting are the ways you keep yourself in the love of God.
What might you pray? Pray these last two verses because, though we are responsible to do these things, we cannot be kept unless he who is able to keep us from stumbling keeps us from stumbling.
(Jude 1:24-25) 24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Beloved…contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.