Jude 1-4 Devotional
Start by reading Jude 1-4
Jude immediately separates the church into two groups by only addressing those “called beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ” (v. 1). “Kept” refers to those in the church, the church being the betrothed bride of Christ. Unlike other letters in the New Testament where the author addresses all his listeners or simply begins his message, Jude only addresses those “called & kept by God” which in turn excludes those who are among the church but not truly saved. It is clear in verses 2 & 3 that although Jude wishes to converse with his listeners about the blessings of their shared unity in Christ, He must in fact point out some dangerous teachings and habits that have entered the church.
Jude calls the church to contend for the faith, to struggle and fight for what God has laid out as truth in His Word (v. 3). And why does he do this? Because other beliefs have made their way into the church and are spreading lies (v. 4). Jude points two in particular: first the use of God’s grace of salvation to the Christian as a loophole to continue to engage in sensuality, and secondly the denial of Jesus Christ.
The definition of the world for sensuality used here is the “lack of self-constraint which involves one in conduct that violates all bounds of what is socially acceptable, self-abandonment” though this word is definitely in reference to how we define sensuality today, it also includes all acts of sin. Paul writes in Romans 6:1-2 “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Paul makes the argument that if we are no longer enslaved to sin, why would we go back to it? Jude ups the intensity by arguing why would we pervert the grace of God by using it as a means to continue sinning?
Jude warns that such teachings have no place in the church and those who have brought these teachings into the church “long ago were designated for this condemnation” (v. 4). Jude is not playing around and desperately wants us to get the point he’s making: “such teachings pervert and damage the church, and they will pervert and damage YOU.” 2 Peter 2:2 warns: “And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.”
So what do we do with this?
First, know the Bible, and know the Gospel. The reason why the lies Jude is talking about are so potent is that his readers (us included) do not fully know the Word of God. Ephesians 4:3-6 declares: “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Secondly, practice discipline. Assess how you practice self control and how you combat temptation. What is your standard of righteousness and do you give room for sin in your life? Remember sin is outward rebellion against God and is a mockery of the grace God has shown you. Grace is not a free hall pass to allow you to continue rebelling against God. By practicing discipline and fully understanding the Word of God, false teaching and temptation stick out like a sore thumb. They are glaring and easy to spot.
Remember, there is a reason why Jude is not directing this to the leaders of the church, but to the church as a whole. We all need to do this because no one can force us to practice discipline, it has to start with us!
For further thought/application of this passage:
- Read a Proverb or chapter of the bible a day
- Assess where temptation often shows up for you and stay away from those activities.
- Connect with your small group or a close friend about ways to pray for one another's self control and faith.