Our passage today is a brief conclusion to a brief book of the Bible. Jude merely reminds his audience that, first, the apostles told of the wicked, “scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”
Second, although the wicked bring “division” they are “worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.” Their behavior is no excuse for a believer to act as they do. Those who are “beloved” ones of God, who have experienced His grace, should, as Paul says in Ephesians 4, “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” Do not give up, do not give in. The “beloved” must instead practice “building [themselves] up in [their] most holy faith.” How? “Praying in the Holy Spirit.” “Keep yourselves in the Love of God,” pursue your relationship. And, wait patiently for the ultimate promise we have through Jesus.
Third, as we relate to unbelievers and hurting Christians, Jude urges us to “have mercy on those who doubt.” Likewise, verse 23 urges believers to pursue the wicked destined for “fire” by evangelizing and “snatching” them out. Here also I think we see a call for accountability. Believers have been set free from sin (Rom. 6), but we will continue to struggle with sin. It is our responsibility to “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” as Grandma used to say. Jude calls us to “show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”
God’s grace demands a whole life response. Simple right? I think if we truly understood the depth of our sin and the ocean of grace that has been lavished on us, that kind of response is only natural. The problem is that we constantly diminish our need for a Savior. Or, equally as bad, we fail to understand that sin is our number one enemy whose only cure is a relationship with God through Jesus. Instead, we act as if our number one enemy is a lack of money, recognition, and recognitions friend, influence. We make enemies of our spouses, our kids, our families, our job and co-workers, our beater car, our clothes that are just out of fashion, etc. Whatever your number one enemy is, if it is sin and your Savior isn’t Jesus, you’re living in idolatry. You are failing to understand that God’s grace demands a whole life response.
The translation I’m using has “Doxology” as the final section header (24–25). I love that. Doxology means words of praise. When we consider the wicked, when we consider our salvation, and when we consider our responsibility towards others and our call to live righteously despite our surroundings, there is no right response other than to call out to God in words of praise. Only He can “keep you from stumbling” and only He can “present you blameless.” For this reason, we cry out, “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.”
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate