Perseverance Under Attack
Proverbs tells us that there are two voices calling out in the marketplace—the voice of wisdom and the voice of folly. All through the Christian life both voices ring in our ears. Jude warns believers to be aware of these voices and the dangers of folly that can so easily pull them off course. Verse 17 is the turning point in this letter, as Jude describes how the life of a believer should look amid such noise.
First, Jude reminds those in the early church of the apostles’ warnings about scoffers and ungodly people who aim to lead others away from Christ’s true teachings (vv. 18–19). The early Christians lived in a time of great persecution. The gospel was under attack. Similarly, all over the world today the church is facing both subtle and blatant pressures to compromise when it comes to proclaiming the gospel. We need to be aware of what stands between people and the truth.
Second, Jude asks believers to pay attention to their own spiritual walk. He uses action words such as “build,” “pray,” “keep,” and “wait” to describe how to maintain the healthiness and fruitfulness of their faith. We need to treasure all the ways that help keep us close to the Lord. It’s easy to wander and to label what should be called “sin” as “individual choices.” Likewise, we are tempted to call selfishness “freedom.” We can fool ourselves into calling darkness light. It’s difficult to stay true to what we’ve been taught, to live disciplined lives, and to wait for what we cannot yet see.
It’s difficult to stay true to what we’ve been taught, to live disciplined lives, and to wait for what we cannot yet see.
Where in my life am I blurring the lines of truth? Such inward examination should not make us fearful. It is necessary as we seek to fix our eyes on Christ. We don’t keep the course of steadfast faith accidentally. It’s a costly path that requires diligence, repentance, and the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work.
Third, Jude encourages believers to reach out to those around them who are struggling, showing mercy to people with spiritual or physical needs. Christians are to care for those in doubt, pulling them from danger while holding strong to their convictions. Sin is cunning. It creeps in and can ensnare anyone. It is destructive, and all of us are vulnerable.
Despite this sober warning, Jude concludes his letter with a glorious note of hope, a hymn of praise to God. We can fall in so many ways, yet the grace that first called us—while we were still sinners—continues to cover us. God holds us in the palm of his hand. Nothing can separate us from his love. He is the one who enables us to hear his voice and persevere. He is the one who one day will present us blameless before himself, to his glory and praise.
This article by Kristyn Getty is adapted from the ESV Women's Devotional Bible.