Jude wrote to the Christians to tell them that though he intended to write a letter focusing on the common salvation that they have, he saw it necessary to write a letter that exhorts them to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints” (v. 3). In the letter, Jude lists several who refused the truth and disobeyed the faith delivered by faithful preachers and prophets (v. 4-19). In other words, these folks had no regard for the faith. Jude’s letter is an attempt to keep the brethren on the right track!
Mr. Strong says that “earnestly contend” has to do with struggling. Thus, Jude’s point (through the Holy Spirit) is that it is the Christian’s responsibility to struggle for the faith. It was inspired by God (II Pet. 1:20-21), but we do not keep it with us by mere will. We must work to read and apply, as a “workman” (Eph. 3:4; II Tim. 2:15). Furthermore, we must be active in spreading this truth (II Tim. 2:2, 4:2). The seed (Lk. 8:11) will not sow itself! This word is twisted by many (Gal. 1:6-9; II Pet. 3:16), and denied by a majority (Jn. 18:38). Yet, it has outlived kingdoms for millennia (Matt. 24:35; I Pet. 1:25)!
When Jude spoke of “the faith,” this is contrasted with one’s personal faith. “The faith” is God’s objective truth (“one faith,” Eph. 4:5) that was “once” or “once and for all” (ASV, CEV, ESV, ISV, NET) delivered to the saints. Since God’s word was given “once and for all,” it is unique. This word is complete or “perfect” (I Cor. 13:8-10). This “complete” word makes us complete (II Tim. 3:17; II Pet. 1:3). It feeds us (Heb. 5:12-14; I Pet. 2:2). It is our armor (Eph. 6:14-18). It is our guide (Ps. 119:105). It saves (Rom. 1:16; I Cor. 15:1-2). How can we not struggle to spread and defend this truth when it does so much for us?
Let us take heed to Jude’s exhortation and make sure we are contending earnestly for the faith. This is all the revelation we have! We’re not getting any more! Therefore, let us believe the word, obey the commands, trust the promises, and look forward to Heaven when this life is over!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
In the epistle of Jude, he introduced himself to the readers as a “servant” (v. 1). He begins this letter just as Paul, James, John, and Peter did (Rom. 1:1; Gal. 1:10; Phil. 1:1; Titus 1:1; Jas. 1:1; II Pet. 1:1; Rev. 1:1). Rather than “name-dropping” or focusing on family ties, the most important thing for Jude was serving the Lord Christ. This impresses me for a number of reasons, but perhaps the main reason is though he was a physical brother to Christ, Jude was satisfied to refer to himself merely as “the servant of Jesus Christ.”
The term “:servant” is significant. It means “slave,” one that is in subjection, or a bondservant. It is interesting to note different versions of the Bible use the word “slave” or “bondservant” to help make his description clear. Jude thought of himself as a slave to Christ, just as we all need to be (Rom. 6:16-18, 12:1-2).
While some may consider the description of “servant” as demeaning, being called God’s servant is a badge of honor! For example, when Moses died, God preached his funeral by saying, “Moses, my servant, is dead ...” (Josh. 1:2). Of all the things we might mention about Moses’ life and service over his 40 years of leadership and faith, God saw fit to say simply, “He’s my servant.” That’s enough!
Though King over all of Israel, David declared, “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Ps. 84:10). He called himself a servant or slave to God on several occasions, but in one psalm, he called himself a servant fourteen times (Ps. 119)!
Men might think a “servant” is someone lowly and worthless, but God holds His servants in high esteem! Let us be like Jude, and be a servant of God! Let us learn the lesson that, “every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Lk. 18:14). Too often, we get this verse in reverse! We think we need to exalt ourselves in our eyes. Yet, the truth is just the opposite -- when we humble ourselves, God knows how to exalt us!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
From time to time, we are questioned by some who wonder why we need to study the Old Testament. Some say, “The Old Testament has been done away (II Cor. 3:6-17), so what purpose does the Old Testament serve for us today?” I understand we can answer this question several ways, but I want to answer this by considering what is said in Jude’s letter to the Christians.
When reading the book of Jude, we find no less than eight references to Old Testament people and events. Considering that this letter is only 25 verses in length, this means almost 25% of this letter is dedicated to reminding Christians of what has already happened!
If you have not noticed this before, please slow down and see that when Jude wrote to Christians to warn them about God’s ability to punish the evildoers, he went back to when Israel left Egypt (v. 5; Ex. 5-12). Sodom and Gomorrah’s punishment was also presented as examples of not only dying in a fire, but also “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (v. 7; Gen. 19)!
Do you remember when Moses died and how no man could find where his body was buried (Deut. 34:6)? Have you ever taken the time to study that event, and what spiritual foreshadowing and application might be there? If you have studied this, don’t forget to add Jude 9 to your work. This gives us insight that the Old Testament doesn’t.
While Cain might be a familiar name to most, have we heard of Balaam (Num. 22-24) or Core (Korah, Num. 16)? Jude 11 reminds us of evildoers of the first century who acted very much like these Old Testament people. What does this mean? Are you familiar with the records of these men, and what made their acts evil? Why did God condemn them, and how can we avoid acting like them today?
Another familiar name to most of the world is Adam (v. 14; Gen. 2-5). What of this other person, Enoch, though? Do we know anything about him (Gen. 5:22-24)? Why was he special, and why might the prophecy cited here be significant, not only in his day, but also in the 1st century?
I understand this study is a little different. I offered more questions than answers, but there is a reason for this. How can we know the answers to the questions above if we do not spend time in the Old Testament? I know nothing of these people, nor the events referenced if I do not spend time studying the truth found in that section of Scripture, The Old Covenant. It has a purpose! Let us respect it!
As we close, please remember what the apostle Paul said. He wrote the Romans and told them, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4). I believe this is the purpose behind why Jude was inspired to refer to so many Old Testament people and events in his letter. By referring to these Old Testament people and events, it made his warnings crystal clear. Are we listening to the warnings? Maybe we need to go back and have a “refresher course” on these people that we might gain a better appreciation of Jude (and the rest of the New Testament)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs