Conduct of believers
Faith, mercy, perseverance
Based in Jude
We are to contend for the faith: Contend is expressed in the greek as epagonizomai. In english, the word agony expresses the same idea. We are to contend, like a top athlete in an intense competition, to perform at our very best. We are to use our skill and commitment to win the prize. It is good to think in the way of reaching a point in your competition (say shortly before the finish line) where you begin to strain with all that is left in you to win the race. The picture being painted here is that we are to cherish the immense value contained in the faith given to us by God. Alongside cherishing, we are to draw upon the power and life that is in us from abiding in God to practice and preserve the truth we have come to learn. Within this vigorous race we are also to oppose those things that are not of this precious faith. So, when we encounter those that do not live according to God’s persuasion and preference, in accordance with the power and character of God at work within us, we are to expose that falsehood and proclaim the truth.
- Believing / Abiding / Remaining
- The Lord saved those out of Egypt then destroyed some of those same people He saved because they did not believe.
- Even the angels went against trusting in God and are now in eternal bonds under darkness awaiting judgment.
- Beware of the “hidden” men
- Fleshly men revile what they do not understand. They rely upon their fleshly nature and instinct (which is natural and accepted in the worlds eyes). They are like animals without reason.
- These men (people) will try to take advantage of your goodwill and “agape” love but they only care for themselves. Watch for their arrogant speech and how they flatter others to get ahead in their own plans and desires. They grumble and complain always looking to find fault in others.
- What else are we to do?
- Build ourselves up in the gift of faith that has been allotted to us from God.
- Keep ourselves in the condition that is full of God’s love.
- We are to wait “anxiously” with a vigorous and active disposition, ready to give and receive, earnestly looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
- How do we look for and apply this mercy here and now?
- We are to have mercy (pity) on some believers who are struggling with doubt and help as the Lord leads.
- We are to be like Godly robbers, quickly and decisively seizing others and snatching them from the eternal fire as God leads us to do. We must be prepared to respond!
- We are to show mercy to some by having pity but withdrawing from them if the timing or resources aren’t right or if we feel the Lord is compelling us to get away.
In this situation of showing mercy by withdrawing, we are also to hate the garment polluted by the flesh. This refers to a person living in such filth of the flesh (verse 23). This way of living has caused even their clothing to be “spiritually stained” from the sin within them that it has made its way from their flesh into their very clothes.
As we are living out our lives in Christ, building ourselves up in faith and keeping ourselves in the love of God, He is faithful to keep us from stumbling and to make sure we are standing in the presence of His glory, blameless, with great joy.