On My Mind...

It was a hard letter to write.  It is not the letter Jude wanted to write, Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (1-4)

He wanted to write about their shared faith.  He wanted to focus on the glory and wonder of the gospel and its significance for life.  He wanted to write this joyous, uplifting letter.  Instead, he wrote encouraging them to contend for the faith.  The word means to strive continuously with those who oppose.  The problem was that the enemy was within the camp!  He wasn’t calling on the church to engage in a culture war with the pagans around them, but to contend with false teachers within the church.  Described a those who crept in unnoticed (4).  Jude describes these interlopers as ungodly, godless, devoid of the Spirit.  These folks had perverted the gospel and used it to justify their sinful, sensual lifestyles as they denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.  That’s not the letter you want to write but it is sometimes the letter you have to write.  We have been given a great treasure in the Gospel.  It has been entrusted to us and we are expected to safeguard it and pass it on to the generation following, in its entirety.  We are to guard the faith, that body of truth, entrusted to us.  What we believe matters and it matters that we understand and hold to the Gospel entrusted to us.  

In every generation there is the urge, the temptation to “tweak” the Gospel.  To make it more palatable to the culture.  I’m not saying language does not change.  I’m not suggesting that we retain antiquated language, but the substance must not change.  There are also new applications as issues arise.  We do not create new doctrine or new truth, but we sometimes have to take the truth we have and address new issues.  The apostle Paul never envisioned having to defend the notion that God created humans, male and female.  Luther and Calvin never had to deal with transgendered individuals.  Our Baptist forefathers never had to think through what happens when a man presents himself for membership in the church, and in the process of interviewing this prospective member, you discover that “he” used to be a “she.”

The book of Jude is relevant, for there are those, in the church, who are calling for an embrace of the whole LGBTQ+ revolution.  Those of us who hold to the biblical view of sex and morality are being told we are on the wrong side of history.  We are told if the church is to be relevant, we must change what we believe.  I pray we heed the words of Jude and contend for the faith.  I pray that we learn well the lessons of Jude and stand firm for the truth.  Yes, with love and grace but uncompromisingly for the truth.  We need not add to the offence of the gospel by being offensive in our attitude and approach.  Our motive for standing for truth is not to win an argument, not to prove others wrong, but to honor our King and speak the truth for the sake of the souls of those to whom we speak.  Our goal is not to win the argument but to win them.  Our prayer is that our gracious God would open their eyes to the truth of the gospel and grant them grace to believe that they might join us in the Kingdom.

Have a blessed week, and I will see you Sunday!