Today we read the short letter of Jude who describes himself as a “brother of James” and assuming this is James “the Lord’s brother”, Jude is another son of Mary and (half) brother of Jesus. He writes lamenting the presence of “ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality” (verse 4). And ever since the first century there has been a tendency to take the wonder of God’s grace for granted and to see no need to aim at making our thinking and doing more like that of Jesus. The anguish of Paul in writing to the Galatians is parallel to Jude’s words; he wrote, “my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you” (4:19,20). How great is the perplexity today!
Jude tells his readers, that they “must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions. It is these who cause divisions” (verses 17-19). Those divisions have led to many different churches and these divisions encourage the “scoffers”.
Jude’s challenge to his readers, “to those who are called” (verse 1), those, who like us, sense the wonder of that calling, is to “build 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” (verses 20,21). How earnestly are we waiting today as scoffers and ungodly passions abound! Look at how little effort is put into ‘faith building’!
Jude ends with a wonderful prayer, “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, to the only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen”. The coming time is really beyond imagining, but let us “build ourselves up” in anticipation; how “great” then will be our “joy”.
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