I remember the day I got my driver’s licence. When I was able to drive all alone, no need for supervision and nothing else to learn. Just me, my old worn-out car, endless roads and a licence to put them all together and do what I wanted.
There are those in the world who think this way about the grace of God. It’s a licence to do what I want and get away with it. Just like a driver’s license doesn’t give us the ability to drive, however, and wherever we want, God’s grace is not a licence to live a sinful and rebellious life against God and his good will.
This is the context that Jude writes his letter.
Jude was one of Jesus’ earthly brothers, (Jude 1.1 Matt 13.55) who became a disciple of Jesus. Jude was a leader in the early church and was known to be a travelling missionary.
It’s clear from the opening verses that Jude cared deeply for all Christians—having a firm grasp of the sovereignty of God. Jude has no doubt that those who Jesus had saved would be sustained by God grace despite the situation he addresses in the letter. Indeed, Jude is writing so that God’s blessings increase in believers because of what’s happening.
Jude was planning to write a long letter to the churches all about the salvation they share in. Although his attention was drawn away and Jude wrote a shorter letter to tell the churches, they must contend for the faith. At this early stage of his letter, Jude does not say how those he is writing to must contend for the faith. Instead, he clearly spells out the reason why they must.
Christian must be contending for the faith in response to the false teachers that were appearing throughout the church.
Jude knew that the death of Jesus paid the price for the sin of all believers. But he is all too aware that we still live in a sinful, broken world, as sinful, broken people, until the day Jesus returns. Therefore, as Christians, we will continue to sin and turn away for God, yet Jesus’ death and resurrection covers the cost of our sinful hearts and deeds.
With this truth in mind, Jude gives this solemn warning, that false teachers will enter into churches and distort the grace of God. These false teachers will join our church without raising any red flags of drawing any attention to themselves – ‘they have come in by stealth’ (v4). Which means we must be diligent in looking at how people live their lives, making sure how they live lines up with what the Bible teaches.
We must diligently watch the actions of people because these false teachers are using the grace of God as a license to sin. Specifically, they are using the grace of God as an opportunity to commit sexual sin, and they argue that there should be no repercussions from it, because such sin has been paid for and forgiven at the cross of Christ. Thinking this way about God’s grace is a perversion of the truth handed down to the saints once and for all time (v3). Jude tells his readers that these teachers will perish in their sin and be destroyed.
Jude will end his letter by helping his readers think about how they are to contend for the faith. Before he does that Jude gives examples of what happens to those who distort God’s grace and mercy in this way.
We must understand the power of the cross for the forgiveness of all our sins and the sins of all those who believe. We must always be on guard and ready to contend for the faith because false teachers will come, who will distort the grace of God to have a licence to sin.
Yet as Christian we know that Christ is able to protect us from stumbling and to make us stand in the presence of his glory, without blemish and with great joy, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.
Author: Matt Borg
Prayer of the Day
Our Lord and God,
You are worthy to receive glory and power, because you have created all things and by your will they exist and were created.
Thank you that there is nothing outside your power and control, because you alone are God.
We beg that you would bring an end to the spread of the Coronavirus. Please bring an end to the sickness, suffering and death. Please bring healing and full health to all who are unwell. Please use this time, to let all the world know that you alone are God and you alone can save us. Amen