Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 29 October 19:
Jude 4 — “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
A teaching can creep into the church that allows grace to be used an excuse to do what you want to do. Grace is not a license for disobedience or immorality, nor does it mean that God will overlook such behavior. Grace is not freedom to sin; it is freedom from sin. Jude was compelled to warn the church against those within the church who make light of sin in the name of ‘grace’. Jude reminds us that, while under grace, we cannot reject authority (8) and simply act as unreasoning animals (10) “who follow mere natural instincts” rather than the Spirit (19). Instead, Jude commands “Build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life (20, 21).” While we wait for the mercy of Jesus, we are to continue to pursue holiness and obedience. In our pursuit, we are to hate sin while showing Christ-like mercy to sinners (22, 23) – Love involves revealing the truth of sin:
It would appear that, as is the case today, Jude had observed many in the church using grace as an excuse to live sinful lives, surrendering to their wicked desires rather than to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Though they claimed to be Christians, their actions revealed that in fact they were “devoid of the Spirit.” Jude exhorts the church to persevere in holiness while having “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.” Essentially he is saying, love the sinner, and hate the sin; influence without being influenced. Jude specifically calls out sexual sin as Paul did in Romans 1. How is acceptance of sexual sin creeping into the church today? Who would write Jude’s letter today?
– Romans 12:9-12 — “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Jude 20-23 — “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.”
As we engaged the sinful world, we must be reconcilers, seeking to unite people with Christ. There is no real peace, love and unity outside of Christ. We must be uniters in a world full of dividers; we must be peacemakers in a world full of unpeaceable people. We must bring order in a world of disorder; we must bring light in a world of darkness. We must love in a hateful world. However this requires much prayer and requires the leading of the Holy Spirit rather than merely intellect. It is dangerous business to snatch others out of the fire. Don’t be complacent in your efforts to do so or attempt to do it in your own power, lest you get burned yourself.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 29 October 19: Be a positive uniter today, remembering that ultimately there is no unity unless people are uniting first with Jesus. Don’t try to create a false unity, uniting around and idol such as the nation, a business, a teacher, a pastor, a church, morals, ethical standards, bright ideas, etc. Reconcile people to Jesus, and they will naturally unite with each other too. Your mission is to reconcile others to Jesus. (2 Cor 5:18, 19). Also re-read John 17. (Jude)