Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
– Jude 1:3-4 NASB
After the virgin birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph had other sons and daughters. Among them were James and Jude, each of whom has a letter in the New Testament. Jude’s letter is very short and appears just before the book of Revelation. The passage above is taken from the beginning of the letter and explains why he wrote it.
The people who concerned Jude were “ungodly,” and what made them ungodly was that 1) they turned the grace of God into licentiousness, and 2) they denied Christ.
You can see that there are people even today who likewise turn the grace of Christ into a license to indulge themselves. You’ve heard them: “Jesus told us not to judge others,” “Jesus preferred sinners to hypocrites,” “Jesus said love was more important than do’s and don’t’s.” These are the sorts of things such people say. All these statements are partially true, but the parts that are not true undermine Christ’s authority and corrupt the truth that He taught.
Jesus came to forgive us our sins, but not so that we could keep on committing them. He came to change us, to make us more like Himself. He told us not to judge others for doing the same things we do. He preferred sinners who repent over hypocrites who don’t. He said love should be the purpose of any do or don’t.
There are people today who deny Christ, too – either by explicitly rejecting His authority over us, or by claiming to accept His authority while refusing to conform their thoughts and desires to His wishes. What good is it to call Him “Lord” and not do what He says?
Jude’s warning that we should “contend earnestly for the faith” stands!
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord Jesus in heaven, we know that you have standards and that You want us to live up to them. Let us never take advantage of Your patience and kindness to pursue our own desires. Show me how to pursue Your desires…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.