Discover more from Heaven On Wheels
Keep yourselves in the love of God
Jude 1:20-21 One of the shortest epistles in the New Testament offers powerful advice
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.”
Jude 1:20-21 NASB1995
My last devotional was from the lengthy first epistle of Paul to the Corinthians; today we’re studying one of the shortest epistles and the penultimate book of the Bible. Jude was actually named “Judas”, but most translations of the Bible refer to him as Jude to avoid confusion with the betrayer of Jesus, Judas Iscariot.
Not much is known about Jude, although he introduces himself in the epistle as the “brother of James”, meaning that he was one of the half-brothers of Jesus. Like the other half-brothers of Jesus — including James — Jude did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah until after His resurrection.
Despite the brevity of Jude’s epistle, it has a timeless message to readers. Early in the letter, Jude asks the recipients to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” (Jude 1:3) He was preaching against the practices and doctrines that were putting the gospel of Jesus Christ in jeopardy. His message is just as relevant today as it was in the year 70 A.D., when some scholars believe the epistle was written.
Jude was concerned about those who were denying God and Jesus through ungodly living and heretical doctrines. He knows that God will judge these false teachers as He judged those who (in the Book of Numbers) openly displayed their disbelief — they will be destroyed. Jude also alludes to these believers engaging in immoral sexual practices and other sins; it’s almost certain that those in the church would know who he was talking about.
Getting to today’s verses, Jude offers advice to others in the church. He’s not telling the readers to attack the men and women who are causing the issues, but rather to do three things:
Keep yourself in the love of God
Pray in the Holy Spirit
Build yourself up in the most holy faith
Looking at the last bullet point first, Jude is asking the readers to keep themselves in line with God’s eternal love for us. Many sinners past and present have mistaken God’s love of all of humanity for an excuse to sin — “God loves me just the way I am”. God doesn’t want us to deny ourselves the benefits of His love by continuing to sin!
The next bullet point? To fight the spiritual battle against wrong teaching and living, we must pray in the Holy Spirit. Remember that even if we don’t know what to pray for, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf (Romans 8:26-27) Not sure how to pray in the Holy Spirit? Don’t worry — I was perplexed too! The wonderful DesiringGod website had just the explanation I needed.
Finally, what does Jude mean by “building yourselves up on your most holy faith”? Simple — we are to keep growing spiritually, and that we are responsible for that growth. We need to consciously work on growing our own faith instead of just expecting it to happen or waiting for someone else to help us on the path. This last point is extremely important to Jude, as in this epistle he is pointing out how deceivers can hurt spiritual growth.
Jude’s epistle is short and powerful. It takes less than five minutes to read, and it is well worth that time to read and ponder. Here’s a link if you don’t have your Bible handy.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
God, our world seems to be out of control and the Church increasingly apostate. I pray that You keep me centered on the path of righteousness, guiding me into truth by the power of Your Holy Spirit. With Your help, I will continue to study Your Word and do only things that are pleasing to You. I ask this in the name of Your Son and my Savior, Jesus Christ. AMEN.