Jude concludes his letter with a beautiful doxology. And though it is there to heap praises on God, Jude also uses it to give his readers, facing a daunting task, this confidence: God will hold them fast.
As Jude comes near the conclusion of his epistle, he rattles off three general commands that serve as a guide for how his hearers ought to deal with the false teaching in their midst. They are a helpful guide for us, too.
Admist the concern of a moral heresy threatening the congregation(s) he was writing to, Jude exhorts his readers to "keep yourselves in God's love." He urges three means of doing just that.
When we hear "heretic," we often think of a person whose believes are incongruent with Christian teaching, with the Gospel. It's a heresy against orthodoxy (right confession). But there's another type, the moral heretic; it is a heresy against orthopraxy (right living). Jude warns us to beeware of those who consistently demonstrate a lifestyle at odds with the gospel.
A thankful woman spends an expensive bottle of perfume on her Savior; another disciple is incensed at the waste; and Jesus says, "For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me" (John 12:8, ESV). How should we take such strong words?
In combating a moral heresy, Jude wrestles with persuading his readers that there really good be wolves in sheep's clothing among them. He does this by reminding them that it would be nothing new. In fact, there may be some in our ranks, he warns us, who are fit to be destroyed.
The short letter by a first Century Jesus-follower named Jude challenges its readers to contend for the faith. It's the message of the letter and, in particular, the letter's opening salvo. In the first few lines, Jude counsels his readers to not panic, to take up arms, and to know the enemy.
Jesus says that he is "the way" and that "no one" has access to God except through him. That's a pretty exclusive claim in our pluralistic world. But exclusive truth claims are impossible to avoid.
In this final message from the book of Joel, we see that there is promised a future hope that is characterized by abundance, security, and presence.
Joel promises a future judgement. That's a two-edged sword. On one hand, judgement is hope and comfort and strength for God's people. On the other, quite the opposite is meant for those who oppose God. In this message, we see how these twin fates are met out.