Not only does Jude tell us what to expect throughout our walk, he tells us what we must do in order to make it to the finish line and do so victoriously and in one piece. Perhaps not unscathed, perhaps not without a handful of battle scars, but victorious and whole nonetheless. Jesus never promised us a journey without difficulty, a battle without wounds, or a race without exertion.
On the contrary, He tried to prepare us for a lifetime of being hated, maligned, marginalized, and misunderstood, encouraging us that if the world hated Him, they would likewise hate us. This was not disputed theology until recently, but because to the lukewarm being hated by the world is worse than hell itself, they came up with a middle ground of sorts where they believe that they can have the best of both worlds.
That the Bible says you cannot serve two masters or have a divided heart while insisting you serve God is something they chose to ignore because if you shut your eyes and wish it bad enough, you can manifest a permissive god all your own lickity split. If you build it, he will come. If you visualize it, he will appear.
Through it all, through all the faithless friends, fake brothers, lying voices, mockers, grumblers, and complainers, we must hold fast, pursue righteousness, keep ourselves in the love of God, and persevere.
He does not allow for retreat, nor does he allow for surrender; he does not give us the option to go along to get along or remain silent because it would be more advantageous for the flesh. Jude admonishes us to press ever onward toward the prize, keeping ourselves pure and undefiled, knowing that He will return and His reward with Him.
Jude 20-21, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
The contrast between the godly and the ungodly is self-evident, not in the words they speak but in the lives they live. Throughout his letter, Jude highlights the contrasts between the godly and the ungodly. While he points out the rebellion, sinfulness, and evil of the ungodly, there are always those two words that are repeated time and again, ‘but you.’
An objective analysis will reveal which camp you’re in and which master you serve in five minutes or less. If you are uncertain, take the quiz. Are you living as those whom Jude singled out as those upon whom judgment will be executed when the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, or as those who are looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life?
For some, the first reaction to reading the previous paragraph will be unbridled rage. How dare he? Who does he think he is? I’m never going to read anything he writes ever again. If you are in that camp, your anger is misplaced. Don’t shoot the messenger; I’m just reiterating what the Bible is crystal clear about.
The rage comes from the flesh, which will deflect any attempt at self-assessment because it fears its influence will be discovered, and the life of ease and duplicity it has enjoyed thus far will come to a swift and untimely end.
If you find yourself checking off the boxes that characterize the ungodly rather than the godly, you must make a choice. Continue with the status quo, or humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and repent. As long as you have breath, you can repent. In order to repent, however, you must acknowledge you have something that needs repenting of.
I understand that repentance has become a dirty word in the modern-day church, but then again, so have holiness and righteousness. If such fundamental principles of the faith are anathema to individuals calling themselves followers of Christ and soldiers of the cross, are they what they claim to be?
The fourth leg of the symbolic chair is to look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. If you attend church, even minimally, or are acquainted with Christianity in any way, shape, or form, you know that Christ, the One who lived, died, rose again, and ascended to heaven, promised to return one day. Every believer wants to see His appearing, but not every believer wants to see it for the same reasons.
Some may think this is a needless argument, nitpicking just for the sake of being contrarian, but why you look forward to His appearing matters because it will determine your attitude and state of mind going forward.
Some look forward to His appearing not for the sake of spending eternity in His presence but to escape their present circumstances or the eventual persecution they will have to endure for His name’s sake. The eternity part is just icing on the cake as far as they’re concerned. It’s the escape that’s foremost on their minds. If that is the case, once persecution does commence, once the children of God are called upon to choose between being faithful to the end or denying Him, then because the reason for their desire was something other than eternity, they will fold. Being a living witness or a martyr was never something they signed up for. They were just looking for an escape, and as soon as they realize that’s not what Jesus was offering, they will walk away, claiming to have never heard of Him.
A falling away like the world has never seen won’t occur because people suddenly grow disillusioned with religion, God, or the Bible. It will happen because their expectations of an easy out will not materialize, and they will grow embittered in their hearts because God’s ways were not theirs, and His thoughts were not His thoughts. If only they’d read their Bibles and believed God at His word.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.