Jude Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Phil Choi, Gracepoint Hsinchu

Jude
Reflect on the exhortation to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”  What drove these false teachers Jude warns against  (vss. 4, 8, 10, 16, 18-19)?  What can I do to ensure that I am contending for the faith that was “once for all entrusted to the saints?”
These are some of the characteristics of the false teachers Jude describes:
·       Godless men
·       License for immorality
·       Pollute their own bodies
·       Reject authority
·       Slander
·       Grumblers
·       Faultfinders
·       Boast about themselves
·       Flatter others for their own advantage
·       Follow their own ungodly desires
·       Divide people
·       Follow mere natural instincts

One thing I recognize about these characteristics is that they are communal in nature. Yes, there are personal consequences to our sin (polluting our bodies and merely following natural instincts), but the way these sins manifest themselves is in relation to other people. These false teachers are not interested in what is best for the entire community as a whole. They are not even interested in what is best for the person right in front of them. All they care about is doing what they want. This selfish attitude is exactly what Diotrephese from 3 John DT was like. He also was a man who “loved to be first,” and as a result he was a community killer. He gossiped, refused to welcome brothers, and stopped others from doing so as well. I’m reminded of our 1 Corinthians 13 Bible study, and how the description of love is so different from the qualities above. Love always hopes means that we should give people the benefit of the doubt; yet these false teachers were faultfinders! Love rejoices with the truth means that we affirm even uncomfortable truths about us, and yet these false teachers rejected authority that spoke such truth! Love always protects means we “take it for someone” like a roof over a house, and yet these false teachers were slanderers. In so many ways there is a clear difference between being a person of love, and living like one of these false teachers.

So how can I ensure that I am contending for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints? I think another way I can ask this question about myself is, “Am I living a life of love?” Because that is criteria by which my Christian life will be measured. John 13 says, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” For me, the way this always plays out is making sure I measure my life based on how much I love, not by what I do. As a task-oriented person, I sometimes place too high of an emphasis on whether or not I am responsible or faithful to some task. If I did something well, I’ll feel better about myself. If I didn’t, then I need to make it up. And if I’m not careful, I can look back at the end a day and think that I did  a good job because I checked off everything from my list. But what about how much I loved or didn’t love? When my brother asked me to do something, was I hesitant or unwilling? There was an opportunity to be a servant; did I take it or was I just lazy? Did I unnecessarily get angry at my wife for her harmless comment or question? Did I encourage anyone today? These are the better questions to ask myself because these show me how much I loved or didn’t love the people around me, and by loving people, that’s how we build up the church and show the watching world what Christian love and community looks like. This is very opposite to the selfish qualities of the false teachers who make it seem like it’s them against everyone else. Therefore, they slander, grumble, boast only about themselves, etc. But as Christians, one thing we recognize is that we are in this together. We’re fighting a war together, and we’re all on the same side. All the more I need to ensure that I do my part in contributing to the love of our community so that we can spur each other on, not tear each other down. And this entrustment has been given to all the saints. It’s something we bear together. It is a personal entrustment as the gospel is personal to me, but it is also a communal entrustment because the church is the vehicle through which the Gospel can be shared with the world.

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