The letter of Jude is one of the smallest and least-known books of the Bible, but its size does not match its importance! The Holy Spirit put a burden on Jude’s soul to write to a church in danger. This danger isn’t exclusive to one congregation or to one era in the church’s history, but plagues us all because we all share in the struggle against sin.
Jude exhorts the church to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints,” because that faith is under attack. What makes it so challenging is that the attackers claim to be saints! False teachers boldly preach about Christ and the grace that saves us from our sins, but they turn that salvation into a license to sin freely. We are thus drawn away from Christ and encouraged to be enslaved to the idols of our selfish desires.
By reminding us of the holiness of God in His dealings with His people (and others) in the past, Jude warns us that the influence of these false teachers is affecting the church’s unity, worship, and witness. Instead, we need to remember the instruction of God’s Word, build up our faith, be steady in prayer, keep ourselves in the love of Jesus and wait for the mercy that will take us into eternal life.
Rather than being consumed by the idols we make for ourselves, we will be free to show mercy to others and even snatch them out of the fires of unbelief. We will have a doxology to sing because the holiness of our Saviour will be our greatest joy and satisfaction.
A servant of Jesus Christ
“Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James…” – Jude 1a
As one of the children born to Joseph and Mary after the virgin birth, Jude had seen Jesus, his older brother, increase “in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52). But when he listened to Jesus preach and saw how Jesus’ reputation as a miracle-worker was growing, his heart remained cold. John 7:5 says that even Jesus’ brothers refused to believe in Him.
Some time later, by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, both Jude and another of his brothers, James, were converted. How joyful the two of them would have been to meet as brothers in Christ! But more than brothers, they had also become servants of Jesus Christ. They were bound to Jesus as sinners set free by His blood. They had been liberated so that they could follow their older brother Who had become their king.
Many of us would make the same joyful statement about who we have become in Jesus. Whether it happened recently or not, whether we remember it happening or not, we know that without the Spirit changing our hearts, we would be cold unbelievers, too. That is why we eagerly confess that our only comfort is found in belonging to our faithful Saviour, Jesus Christ. We are not only his siblings; we are also his servants. What a story we have to talk about God’s grace!
Suggestions for prayer
Speak to God about the unbelief, doubts, and pride in your heart. Ask Him to steer you away from defiance and disobedience. Confess your complete dependence on His grace to you in Jesus Christ. Give thanks for the comfort of being His servant.
Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.