3 Min Read

Many people today are tempted to surrender the fight for absolute truth, give up the belief that Jesus is the only way to heaven, and accept the plurality of beliefs around the world as valid ways of salvation. Sadly, churches have not been immune to such pervasive teaching, and indeed some have succumbed to the pressure, turning their backs on truth to embrace error. The letter of Jude, which has much to say about these issues, has often been neglected. Perhaps this is because the letter, though brief, is packed with difficult allusions that can be confusing. However, Jude’s message is especially needed today, for it reminds “those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ” (Jude 1) to contend for the faith and continue in the faith.

Jude, the author of the letter that bears his name, was the younger brother of Jesus and James, the latter of which was an important leader in the early church and the author of the letter that bears his name (Mark 6:1–6; Acts 15:13–21; Gal. 2:9; James 1:1). Notably, Jude was not a follower of Jesus during His earthly life and ministry (John 7:5), but came to saving faith after Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 1:12–14). Due to the similarity in content, the letter of Jude was most likely written around the same time as the book of 2 Peter, most likely in the mid-60s AD.

Jude’s letter reveals that he was writing to a specific church, or group of churches, in which “certain people have crept in unnoticed . . . ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4). Due to the many allusions to the Old Testament and to Jewish literature, Jude’s readers were likely Jewish Christians, though some scholars believe these allusions say more about Jude’s own background than his audience.

Importantly, Jude grounds his call to action in God’s covenantal love. First, he tells believers who they are in light of who God is. Then, he calls believers to contend for the faith and to continue in it. Jude centers the thoughts of his readers on the glory, majesty, dominion, and authority of the triune God so that they are equipped to fight for the faith and remain firm in it.

1. Believers are called by God.

Jude addresses his letter to “those who are called” (Jude 1). When God calls people to Himself, their eyes are opened “so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18). United to Christ by faith, believers are “beloved in God the Father” (Jude 1). Chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4), they are “kept for Jesus Christ” (Jude 1). Those called by God are also justified and glorified by Him (Rom. 8:30). Therefore, God alone “is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” (Jude 24).

2. Believers are to contend for the faith.

Jude “found it necessary to write” to the believers he addressed, exhorting them “to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). He reminds believers that they must fight for the faith they hold so dear, especially in the midst of perverse teachings of grace that have crept into their churches unnoticed. To encourage them to contend for the faith, Jude reminds his readers of the judgment of God that falls upon the ungodly, using examples from the past in order to warn of judgment on the ungodly in the future (Jude 5–16).

3. Believers are to continue in the faith.

Because believers can become dull toward truth, readily accept error, pervert the true grace of God, and deny Christ as Master and Lord, Jude calls them to continue “building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life” (Jude 20–21). In addition, strong believers are to be merciful to the weak and help them avoid error by reminding them of the truth (Jude 22–23).

Perhaps you have given up the fight for the faith today, subtly accepting our culture’s call to embrace pluralism. Or maybe you have slipped from your belief in the central doctrines of the faith, following a different way instead. Perhaps you have given up Bible study due to a difficult season in life and need to commit again to a steadfast study of Scripture. Or maybe you need a fresh reminder that false teaching still infiltrates churches today. Perhaps you need to remember how great the triune God is in the midst of a pluralistic society. Regardless, Jude has a timely message for us all. He calls us to contend for the faith and continue in it, while grounding us in the assurance of our salvation and the greatness and eternality of God’s glory, majesty, dominion, and authority.

This article is part of the Every Book of the Bible: 3 Things to Know collection.