The Epistle of Jude is a letter written in the latter third of the First century to a remnant of believers struggling to steward the faith and retain the orthodoxy of the Apostles’ teachings as they faced living life in a challenging world and troublesome times. Jude, the half-brother of Jesus Christ, is considered by most to be the author of this letter written to a church overrun by false teachers, abusing their charm and influence, to distort the Truth of the Gospel.
The justification of ethical and moral failure begins when we deviate from doctrine. In Jude’s day, like in ours, false prophets twisted God’s blessings to satisfy their insatiable thirsts and deviant appetites. They warped the sweetness of the Lord’s good mercy and grace as a license to sin and to do what they considered to be right in their own eyes. The believers of Jude’s day struggled with the call for the church to adapt to changing times, modernize their views, and rethink the tenets of their faith. The world around them challenged them to grow up and catch up to the times. False teachers urged them to reject authority and participate freely in defiling blasphemous acts. As was then, so is now.
Who is to say what truth is? Surely the Lord did not intend for you to live unhappy and unfulfilled? These lies are as old as the day is long. There is a Truth. It is knowable because God has revealed it in Scripture. God did not save us to satisfy our own pleasures, but rather, we are redeemed for His pleasure and purpose, to perform His will, not ours. As believers, we are no longer slaves to sin, but soldiers in the spiritual army of God, defending the faith, sharing the love, the joy and the hope we have received and experiencing the peace showered upon us through Christ’s work on the Cross.
As Christians, we are set apart, in the world, but not of it, to do a work God planned in advance for each of us. While it may be an offensive message in our day, through our words and our deeds, we must share the message of hope through salvation in Jesus Christ with those with whom we interact and encounter.
The focus of our faith is not us, but God. Today, just as then, we must defend our faith from those who seek to distort and destroy it. We must continue to reject false teachings attacking the Truth. We must be prepared to give an answer for the source of the love, joy peace, and hope we exhibit living a life of faith in these increasingly turbulent, troubled times we call the 21st century.