Perseverance in Building Up
But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. Jude 17-23 Last week Jude taught us about the heart behind false teachers. Now he will make clear what the ungodly will do, how it will impact others, and how we should respond. Again, we are reminded that these issues are not new. The apostles of Jesus told us that there would be scoffers who are driven by their ungodly passions. These people will cause all kinds of divisions. This is abundantly clear in our society today. Many who claim to love peace and tolerance actually drive division. They scoff at all who do not agree with them and war against all who do not fit into their understanding. James wrote about these things (James 3:13-18). Unregenerate people are completely devoid of the Spirit. They war against God’s will and His people. Just as the the early church dealt with these false teachings, so are we. So, how are we to respond? Jude tells us that we need to be built up in our holy faith. This is the same faith that Jude implored us to contend for. We must continue to grow in our faith (Colossians 2:6, 7). We are to grow through spending time in the Word and praying in the Holy Spirit. We are to remain in the love of God and wait for His mercy. Notice where our focus should be placed—it must be on God and what He has accomplished. At times when we contend for the faith, we get overly focused on the opposition. In so doing, we begin to grow angry with those people who are in opposition to Christ. We lose sight of God and His love and mercy. However, we need to remember what God has done for us and grow deep in that knowledge. When we focus on God and all that He has done, we can fulfill what Jude writes next-we can have mercy on those who doubt. Our goal is not to merely denounce and argue against those who are ungodly. Our desire should be for their salvation. We are to seek their redemption. But to do this we must be grounded in our faith. This will allow us to love them as God loves and also keep us from being taken in by their false teaching. We must show mercy with fear. We must not take lightly the destructive power of sin. To contend for the faith, we must be actively growing in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. To contend for the faith, we must also seek the salvation of those who are being led astray. Therefore as followers of Jesus, let us continue building ourselves up in the faith.