Monday, November 08, 2021

Jude 1

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Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ. ~ Jude 1

Jude, like James, was the half brother of the Lord Jesus. His epistle is a letter with only twenty-five verses and a total of six hundred and thirteen words. Many refer to the Book of Jude as the fighter's manual for the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. The book of Jude addresses apostasy which is when one defects from the truth. 

Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are engaged in the battle for the truth, and the principles learned in this little, yet powerful book, enable us to engage in this battle effectively.

Interestingly, Jude did not believe in his brother as the Messiah while the Lord Jesus was on the earth. Jude and his brothers thought the Lord Jesus was delusional. In fact, in Mark 3 we are told as much. As a result, they did not believe Him to be the Messiah. 

In v.1 of today's text we read, "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ."

Jude begins his letter with, "Jude a servant of Jesus Christ." Jude introduces himself as a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James. The Greek word Jude uses here to describe himself as "a servant" brings with it the most humble disposition. This word for servant, doulos in the Greek, is the lowest form of the word that one could use. This is one of the amazing results that happens in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ. We are afforded a clear view of who we really are: sinners saved by grace who see themselves as non-deserving.

It was the resurrection of his half-brother, the Lord Jesus, that turned Jude into a believer. In Acts 1, we are informed that all the disciples met together in the upper room, continually for prayer, along with Mary, the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus. Jude was in that upper room that night when the Lord Jesus appeared. And, it was the resurrection of his brother that sealed the deal and opened the eyes of Jude. That night Jude was made a believer who viewed himself anew, through the eyes of eternity.

The Devil has long been consumed with trying to stamp out the truth. And, most effectively, along the way, he has employed those people who are associated with the truth in some way. The deadliest assaults against the truth always come from the inside. The most effective attacks against the truth come from those who purport to know the truth, but do not.

In v.1 of today's text, Jude provides three characteristics of the believer in Christ; the called, the loved and the kept. The believer in Christ has been called, which refers to God’s gracious work in our lives in the past. The believer in Christ is loved, which describes God's attitude to us in the present. The believer in Christ is being kept for a wonderful future with Him in endless glory.

The word Jude used for "called" is the Greek word kletos which means to be invited by God to believe in His Son. This word is written in the passive voice meaning God did the calling. True believers in Christ have heard with their hearts the invitation of God to believe in His Son. This means our relationship with God began not at our initiative, but at God's. This is why we have such a hard time explaining our transformation; we are not the architects of our personal relationship with God. He called us and we, by His grace, responded. "We love Him because he first loved us."

The second description Jude gives of the believer in Christ is that we are "loved by the Father." Like the word called, this Greek word is written in the passive voice meaning that God has done the loving. And, the word used here for "loved" is the Greek word agape which is commitment love. When God declared that we were included in His family through our trust in the finished work of the Lord Jesus on the cross, we can trust in His promise.

One of the Lord Jesus' chief revelations of God is as Father. God is His Father and He is also ours. In the Lord's Prayer the Lord Jesus taught us to address God as "Our Father." The Lord Jesus tells us: "The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God" (John 16:27). To be accepted and loved by our fathers does something deep to us. It touches us to the core. The same is true with our heavenly Father. 

The third description Jude gives of the believer in Christ in v.1 is "kept." Again, this Greek word used here is written in the passive voice meaning that God is doing the keeping. The Greek verb tēreō used by Jude has the basic meaning of "to retain in custody, to keep watch over, to guard or to preserve someone."

This smacks in the face of those who push the idea that the believer somehow earns or maintains his acceptance before God. If we could earn and maintain God's favor, that would mean that Christ's death on the cross was not enough. What an insult to the Lord Jesus.

When we understand and grasp the fact that we are called, loved and kept by the Father, and it was a complete gift, we are freed and positioned to be able to address the false doctrines which cause people to backslide, to doubt their salvation and, even, become apostate. Having been called, loved and kept, the believer in Christ has been equipped with the heart of the Father to be able to call out the false while empathetically calling the blinded and duped into a personal relationship with the Father.