The Letter of Jude is certainly one of the most overlooked of all of the books of the NT. This is perhaps because of its location, following the letters of 1-3 John and preceding the always intriguing book of Revelation. The book also lacks many well-known or oft quoted passages apart from its concluding doxology (Jude 24-25). The content of the book, with its particular focus on God’s judgment of the ungodly, is also a likely contributing factor to its obscurity. The reality, however, is that this short book is vitally important to the church, which is why the Lord inspired it to be written and the early church recognized it to be Scripture.
While the mission of the church certainly involves the proclamation of the gospel, it also includes the discipling of those who come to believe (Matt. 28:18-19). The discipleship process involves both instructions as to what is to be believed, but also as to how one is to live. The book of Jude is of particular importance to the church because of its call to contend for the faith (Jude 3), not so much on a purely doctrinal level, but in terms of the practical outworking of these beliefs in the life of the Christian. Jude wants to remind us that how we live is just as important as what we claim to believe!
The Letter of Jude serves as a warning to the church because of its emphasis on the judgment of God on the unbelieving and unrepentant. Although we live in a time when the love of God and the benefits of knowing Him are the primary message of the evangelical church, the words of Jude remind us that God has not hesitated to pour out His judgment in the past and, by way of implication, He will not hesitate to do so again in the future. In light of this, believers are to be warned stand firm on the mercy of God which has been shown to them by Christ and to avoid conducting themselves in ways which ultimately deny the ethical commands of Jesus and the apostles. In how we live, Christians are to demonstrate that they have been shown God’s mercy and not that they are worthy of His judgment.
As we begin this study together my prayer for us is that the reminder of God’s willingness to judge sin would cause us to overflow with thankfulness to Him for His mercy which He has shown to us in Christ. Over the next several weeks, may the words of Jude serve as a warning to us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and encourage us to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints!
Soli Deo Gloria.