19th century painting depicting early Chrisians.Christian life is a journey that begins at the narrow gate...for there is one door...Jesus Christ. Entering this narrow gate involves a breaking and a surrender - salvation and repentance. The journey begins with lessons in submission - and continues in strength - and not ours, of course!
A crude illustration of my thoughts here - (adapted from the book "The Map") is a wild horse - the cowboy or trainer takes the horse and works with it till he has "broken" it and brings it into submission to his will. Once he sees the horse is surrenedered - he can use it. The surrender and submission continues throughout the horse's life -but the horse's strength can now be used to further the master's will.
We have been in the school of submission ever since we entered the narrow gate and it will continue to be required of us throughout our lives. Yet, it is time for us to surrender our strength to His will. It is time for us to stand, be strong, be faithful, and to defend.
It my prayer that our studies would encourage us to be bold, to preserve His Word, to protect true Christianity, and to be a witness for our precious Lord.
vs. 1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, [and] called: This was written by Jude - the brother of James - BUT also the brother of Jesus.
This book was written during a time of great persecution against Christians - about 65-70 AD. It was written to the sanctified or saved, preserved (kept), and the ones called (to a work).
vs. 2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Mercy is an upward look - peace is an inward look - and love is an outward look.
vs. 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. He had wanted to write about salvation - but felt pressed to exhort us regarding false teachers, apostates, and false Christians. The purpose of this book is to exhort us to contend ( to stand, to defend, to guard) the faith that was given to us.
vs. 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. But men and women have snuck in - counterfeiting the true Christians - so that they were unaware. These people are ordained or destined to condemnation because of what they do - they stand in judgement already. They turn the grace of God into a license to sin. Rom. 6:1,2 says What shall we say the? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? They also deny the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Note if they DENY the deity of Christ they ARE a false religion, false teacher, or a fasle christian. You cannot DENY the deity of Christ and be a Christian!
Please comment with your thoughts...I'd love to hear them!