This article is part of the Christ in All of Scripture series.
Good News of God’s Glory
Where is the gospel in Jude’s epistle? In such a compact space, we actually receive a potent portrait of the gospel.
First and most pervasively, Jude displays the “photo negative” of the gospel, giving us a vivid and dark picture of those who twist the lavish grace of the gospel into a license to sin (e.g., Jude 12–13). Jude piles on the metaphors throughout his letter, making it abundantly clear that false teaching smuggles death into a church. And yet, by contrast, this bleak picture still reveals the reality of the good news of God’s glory in Christ’s atoning work.
As our Father, God wants his people to be healthy, joyful witnesses to the gospel.
Made in God’s image to reflect his glory, we were created as mirrors at 45-degree angles, meant to reflect out to the world the unhindered radiance of God’s glory. But in disobedience, we turn around to face the ground. And when you turn a mirror upside down, it does not reflect a light but casts a shadow on the ground. In the same way, we sinners tend to focus upon the shadow of self-centered, worldly priorities rather than on the glory emanating from God himself. Jude invites us to worship this God—“him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” (Jude 24).
Second, Jude’s persistent admonition to avoid false teachers, though sobering, is itself a gift of God’s grace. God is loving us by warning us against false teaching. As our Father, God wants his people to be healthy, joyful witnesses to the gospel. He therefore instructs us—scathingly, at times, as in Jude’s letter—out of his great love for us.
The ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible features 375,000+ words of gospel-centered study notes, book introductions, and articles that explain passage-by-passage how God’s redemptive purposes culminate in the gospel and apply to the lives of believers today.
Third and finally, Jude reminds us of God’s saving work in Christ that echoes across all of human history. Jude startlingly remarks in verse 5 that it was Jesus who brought God’s people out of Egypt—centuries before the incarnation! Whatever Jude meant to convey here, at the least he is reminding us that Christ’s saving work is not an isolated and disconnected historical event. Rather, Christ’s work of redemption is the climax to all of God’s mighty deeds on behalf of his people.
This article is adapted from the ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible. Browse other articles in this series via the links below.
Genesis • Exodus • Leviticus • Numbers • Deuteronomy • Joshua • Judges • Ruth • 1–2 Samuel • 1–2 Kings • 1–2 Chronicles • Ezra • Nehemiah • Esther • Job • Psalms • Proverbs • Ecclesiastes • Song of Solomon • Isaiah • Jeremiah • Lamentations • Ezekiel • Daniel • Hosea • Joel • Amos • Obadiah • Jonah • Micah • Nahum • Habbakuk • Zephaniah • Haggai • Zechariah • Malachi
Matthew • Mark • Luke • John • Acts • Romans • 1 Corinthians • 2 Corinthians • Galatians • Ephesians • Philippians • Colossians • 1 Thessalonians • 2 Thessalonians • 1 Timothy • 2 Timothy • Titus • Philemon • Hebrews • James • 1 Peter • 2 Peter • 1–3 John • Jude • Revelation