THE WRITER OF THIS LETTER was Jude (sometimes called Judas), who was a step-brother of Jesus. During the ministry of Jesus in Galilee, his brothers did not believe in him (see John 7:5). After his resurrection, however, they became faithful followers.
Now Jude wrote as ‘a servant of Jesus Christ’ and he addressed his fellow-believers as ‘called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ’ (v. 1). This means that they were set apart, separated and distinct from the beliefs and practices of the world around them. They will be preserved as God’s people, his ‘saints’ through Jesus Christ, if they remain true to their calling. They will look confidently for mercy at the return of Christ if they have been faithful.
The congregations to whom Jude wrote were being undermined by false teachers who had ‘crept in unnoticed’ (v. 4). He knew it was urgent to remind his readers to ‘contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints’ (v. 3). The language is very similar to 2 Peter 2. He reminded his readers of Old Testament examples of false teachers and of the judgements reserved for such (vs. 5–15). Against such apostasy true saints, such as Enoch (v. 14), had spoken out.
The need to keep to the original gospel as taught in the Bible is underlined in this letter. It is particularly apt, coming as it does almost at the end of the Bible. Those who guard the truth and try to live by its principles can look for mercy and eternal life at the time of Christ’s return. They will form the faultless bride to be presented to Christ in that day (as the language of v. 24 implies).
Jude’s name can also be written as Judah—a name which means ‘praise’. It is fitting, therefore, that the letter ends in a doxology of praise: ‘To the only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen’ (v. 25). To give God glory and praise is the ultimate purpose to which God’s saints are called.
By kind permission of ‘The Christadelphian’
Some interesting links with other parts of the Bible:
- Jude v. 3—see Philippians 1:27; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 1:13.
- Jude vs. 9, 23—see Zechariah 3:2, 4.
- Jude vs. 24–25—see Romans 16:25-27; Acts 20:32.