Author: Ron Graham
But You Beloved...
In the final section of Jude’s short epistle, Jude gives three exhortations in view of those evil men whom he condemns in the epistle. In this lesson we carefully consider those exhortations.
¶“17But you beloved, must remember the words of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18They told you that, in the last time, there would be scoffers, following their own ungodly lusts. 19It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, not having the Spirit.” (Jude 1:17-19).
¶“20But you beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22And have mercy on those who doubt. 23Save others by snatching them out of the fire. To others show mercy in fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” (Jude 1:20-23).
You will notice that Jude twice says, “But you beloved...” (verses 17,20). He has been describing the evil activities and words of the false men. Now he compares that with the “but you” —the behaviour required by the true holy people.
1 Remember the Words
“But you beloved, must remember the words of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (verse 17)
Jude’s exhortation to keep in mind the apostles’ faithful teaching is both general and specific. He began his letter by exhorting us to be loyal to “the faith once and for all delivered to the holy people” (verse 3). We must keep in mind the whole of the apostles’ teaching.
Now (in verse 17), Jude exhorts us to specifically and especially remember their predictions of the falling away and the false men who would cause it.
- Jesus said, ¶“Many false prophets will arise and deceive many, and because lawlessness will abound the love of many will grow cold. But those who endure to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:11-13).
- Peter said, “There will be false prophets among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow them...(2Peter 2:1-2, NKJV). “In the last days scoffers will come, following their own lusts” (2Peter 3:3).
- John said, “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming , even now many antichrists have come, by which we know it is the last hour” (1John 2:18, NJKV).
- Paul said, “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:29-30, NKJV).
So Jude exhorts us like Peter exhorts us, “You should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.” (2Peter 3:2, NASB).
2 Build Yourselves Up
“But you beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit...” (verse 20)
Repeating the “but you”, Jude now exhorts us to build ourselves up so as to be strong against the threat of evil men drawing us away into error and division (verse 19). Jude has two strengtheners to recommend in verse 20.
- Your most holy faith. Again, this is not a faith you invent, or that comes from within you. It is “the faith once for all delivered to the holy people” (verse 3) —the faith that comes from the apostles of Jesus Christ.
- Praying in the Holy Spirit. This is the second of two modes of communication between us and God. First God speaks to us by the faith once for all delivered by the apostles. Second, we speak to God by prayer in and through the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us (Romans 8:26).
3 Keep Yourselves
“...keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” (verse 21)
This exhortation has two verbs: “keep” and “wait”. We keep or preserve ourselves in God’s love through the faith and prayer. We are encouraged by our expectation of the day we shall enter our eternal home.
Help from God
When Jude says “keep yourselves” in God’s love, he is making us responsible for ourselves. Of course he also says we are “kept in Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:1) and “God is able to guard you from stumbling” (Jude 1:24).
Helping one another
We also help to keep each other: “Have mercy on those who doubt. Save others by snatching them out of the fire. To others show mercy in fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” (Jude 1:22-23).
Notice the three approaches...
- The gentle approach: “Have mercy”
- The urgent approach: “Snatching them out of the fire”
- The combined approach: “Show mercy in fear”
Which of these approaches we use depends upon the person and the circumstances. We normally help others to be kept in Christ by gentle and understanding encouragement. On some occasions a rougher approach may be required. We need to be discerning.