Scripture: “Beloved: Although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints…But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” Jude 3 and 20-21
Observation: Remembering that Jude is included in the Canon as the Word of God doesn’t make it less puzzling and sometimes weird. Unpacking (deconstructing) the verses of Jude takes care and not a little time. With diligence, we can find the Jewels of God’s hand within the text…
Application: Jude was not written by Paul McCarthy or John Lennon although I can’t help singing in my mind “Hey Jude, don’t let me down…”
When I read Jude I can (and have) been taken in by what seems to be very combative and contentious rhetoric. “Contend for the faith…” Later on, “…snatch them out of the fire…” And then there are the references to angelic and demonic forces, creeping wolves seeking to devour the flock, etc.
I get the hard-nosed but kind and gentle attitude of Paul and the underlying love of God gracefully communicated through his Letters. Jude? He takes some time and I have to be aware of some theological rabbit holes that are possible. The thing I must remember is that Jude cannot be taken out of context of the entire New Testament. The message from Jude must fit the entire narrative of the Bible.
So, I read the text of Jude and I focus on the following:
- Stay true (contend) for the Faith;
- Persevere to the End.
These two points can be gleaned from the text of Jude, without any doubt. But they are not the only pearls to be sifted. Personally I see warnings for the man in the mirror: I don’t want to be anything like a “waterless cloud”, “fruitless tree”, “twice dead”, a wave casing up my own shame, or a “wandering star.” (v 12-13). I don’t want to be a “grumbler”, “malcontent”, loud mouth boasters or more? For sure I can pick out the warnings quickly and post them up on my personal “watch out on my thoughts and behavior” board.
There was a time where I wore the “Contend for the faith” on the front of my shirt, shamelessly and combatively addressing men who didn’t measure up in my estimation. I can’t do that anymore although I know in my heart I am a little shuffle away from that superior but condemning attitude.
To counter this I remember the Gospel: Jesus died so that I could be redeemed. In talking to my wife last night, my review of the Gospel as it applies for me is “why did He die for me?” Thinking this keeps me true to the Gospel, my head on straight, avoiding stinking thinking, and directs me to persevere to the End.
Prayer: Lord God: I praise Your Name for the book of Jude. Thank you for the grace and wisdom given to the guys deciding whether or not to put this into the Canon. I appreciate Your grace in helping my wife and I talk through this Book, unpacking, deconstructing, and being able to talk through Jude. Some of the questions we couldn’t get through adequately but we learned how to set them aside without anxiousness for another day, hoping in faith for more clarity from the Holy Spirit. Unfolding Your Word is a joy, O God. Thank you. AMEN.