Keeping the Faith

KEY VERSE: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” —Jude 3

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Jude 3-5, 7, 13, 17-25

THE MESSAGE OF Jude to the Early Church is similar to the one given by the Apostle Peter in II Peter, chapter two and part of chapter three. The lesson from Peter’s epistle was entitled, “Reject False Teachings.”

We do so by heeding the admonition of Jude to keep the faith. This is the faith given to the Early Church, ‘the saints’, by Jesus and the apostles. It is the true message, the good news in all its purity, especially before it became contaminated by the injection of error by false teachers. These errors have persisted to our day.

To keep the faith given to the saints, it is necessary to have a clear vision of their belief and to be established in the faith. We might ask, “Did the apostles believe man has an immortal soul?” If so, how could the Apostle Paul teach, saying, “This mortal must put on immortality”? (I Cor. 15:53) Or how could the Apostle Peter say, “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away”? (I Pet. 1:24) Likewise, the Apostle John wrote: “He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” (I John 3:14) Did the apostles believe in eternal torment? Not at all. Instead, they wrote, as did Jude in his epistle (vs. 5), using the expressions: “The Lord … destroyed them that believed not”; and “to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”—vs. 13

On the two occasions where Jude mentions ‘fire’, one involves the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. These cities have not revived, even to our day. (vs. 7) The other mention of fire also uses it symbolically, saying: “pulling them out of the fire.” (vs. 23) This illustration involves those who are not keeping the faith and are walking in the wrong direction, thus ‘spotting their robes’. The usual—erroneous—view is that sinners are headed for eternal torment of their souls. Whereas, Jude says these can be snatched from God’s judgmental ‘fire’ which represents destruction. This is a symbolic fire that affects a certain class in the present time.

The world is not being described in verses 20 to 25; rather, these verses are addressed to those who have been called and chosen, and are endeavoring to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Such are fully enlightened by the Holy Spirit and, by persisting in their wrong course, it will result in their going into Gehenah, ‘second death’, symbolized by fire. These are not the “mockers” walking after ungodly lusts, because they have “not the Spirit.”—vss. 18,19

How can we avoid the tragedy of walking into the fire of God’s judgment? We do so by building ourselves up “on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.” (vs. 20) Also we are to keep ourselves “in the love of God.” (vs. 21) To accomplish this we must study the Word of God daily, and put into practice at every opportunity the love of God we have learned; and, above all, we must pray to God for grace to help. Without his assistance we cannot achieve our goal. Jude explains this as “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (vs. 21), and also as God presenting us “faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” (vs. 24) Only God can keep us from falling.—vs. 25

Dawn Bible Students Association
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