Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Hey Jude - he takes a wrong and makes it better.

I just read through Jude. It had been a little while since I read his letter. It was, of course, eye opening and challenging. I recommend spending a few minutes today or tomorrow reading it.

I find myself often in a similar predicament as Jude was when he wanted to discuss the marvels of salvation, but instead found it necessary to write fellow believers about fighting for ones faith due to a “cheap grace” message that was beginning to emerge.

Some preachers, teachers, and writers have detoured the message of God’s grace down a road that can inadvertently encourage their listeners and readers to be comfortable with sin and to feel powerless against it. Typically what happens is, in an effort to be “seeker sensitive”, only one side of God’s amazing grace is presented: his grace that justifies us and atones for our sins. The work of sanctification and real-life transformation is then ignored or collapsed into justification often because of a desire to “streamline” the process of making converts. For instance, the call to obedience is left for a later time which most often never comes and the rest of the gospel message is ultimately forgotten and never presented or heard. This actually flies in the face of the great commission.

Moving our faith forward is extremely important. Jude reminds us that it is one thing to be delivered and yet quite another thing to actually reach the promised land.
Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example
of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. – Jude 5-7
The following doxology that is presented at the end of Jude’s letter is not just fancy words or something that will only happen when we die. The work of the cross should move us to action and change. He is able to keep us from falling each and every day. This stuff is real and should be indicative of our lives as followers of Christ. Jude is praising God because it is not a fairytale. Christ can keep us from falling; from living lives characterized by sin; from committing “ungodly acts, in ungodly ways; from following our ungodly desires.”
To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. - Jude
Jude is definitely not promoting cheap grace in his letter. Rather, he is prescribing the powerful grace that Christ died for us to have. Don’t ever sell the cross short. Let’s never be mere talkers about God’s grace. And let’s not ignore the rest of the good news: that the work of Christ is sufficient to both fully justify and sanctify those who believe and who, according to Jude, “build themselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.” Let’s teach and apply the whole grace of God and the full work of Christ’ work on the cross to our lives. This comprehensive act of faith leads to true victorious living identified by new fruit, obedience, transformation, peace, and the joy of the Lord.

1 comment:

jeff said...

My favorite section of Jude is the "clouds without water" paragraph. I love that section. He has a great way with words. I wish he had written ten more chapters at least.