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Show mercy to those who faith is wavering
Jude 1:22 A look at a short epistle dealing with how to help those falling away from faith
“And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.”
Jude 1:22-23 NLT
The Epistle of Jude is one of the last books of the New Testament, coming just before the complex, confusing, and sometimes incomprehensible Book of Revelation. It’s also quite short; just one chapter and 25 verses. For being such a compact letter, it contains a lot of good advice. It’s also the only book of the New Testament that deals with how to confront “apostasy”, defection from the true, Biblical faith.
Now, who exactly was Jude? It’s thought that he was Judas, one of the half-brothers of Jesus born later to Joseph and Mary. To avoid any confusion with Judas Iscariot, this Judas is referred to by most English translators as “Jude”.
You’d think that being brought up as a sibling of Jesus and, from birth, being aware of how remarkable of how your half-brother and mother were, that Jude would have been filled with faith in God. It’s apparent that he was, but he (and his other brothers) refused to believe that his brother was the Messiah until after the resurrection!
Even when the evidence was overwhelming that his brother was performing miracles and wonders, Jude still had doubt. Like the Apostle Thomas, Jude needed absolute proof that Jesus had risen again from death before he could fully believe.
The Letter of Jude is full of examples of the pitfalls of sin, specifically those of a sensual nature. That word doesn’t necessarily mean sexual; instead, it’s warning of the danger of focusing one’s life only on what is experienced through the physical senses and living that life selfishly. That kind of focus can easily turn into doubt about God’s power, love, and mercy… or even His existence.
These two verses are Jude’s call for compassion and mercy to those who are not “perfect Christians.” He wants us to look outward to those who seem to be slipping back into sinful living, and where necessary, to use what we call “tough love” to “snatch them from the flames of judgement.” The late theologian Warren Wiersbe cleverly interpreted these two verses as dividing those of wavering faith into “The Doubting”, “The Burning” who can still be saved, and “The Dangerous” who should be shown mercy, but handled carefully as they can easily drag others into the fires of disbelief as well.
For “The Dangerous”, who may be too far gone in their sinful ways for human help, we are still to show mercy and compassion — perhaps through pleading to God through intercessory prayer that they be saved from the sins that have put them on the road to an eternity separated from God.
The bottom line? We should not just worry about our own salvation, but also keep an eye on others in the Church who seem to be falling away from faith and into sin patterns. Use the great compassion of Jesus as your template on how to bring those who are doubting back to faith, to rescue those who are sliding into the arms of the Enemy, and to pray for those who need salvation.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Beautiful Savior, give me a discerning eye to see when other believers seem to be failing in their faith, a gentle voice to provide correction where necessary, and a prayerful heart to ask for Your help to save those who seem beyond redemption. In Your Holy Name I pray, AMEN.