As we come to the end of the book of Jude, we switch gears from recognizing and dealing with false teachers and their teaching, and we are given instructions on staying safe from apostasy and rescuing others from the grips of falsehood.
Jude 1:20-25 ESV “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. 24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
After repeated warnings against false teaching, we are reminded to build ourselves up in the faith. Scripture repeatedly warns that many will give heed to seducing spirits in the last days while abandoning the faith. People will flock to false teachers because they are told what they want to hear, sin will be excused, the Word of God will be dishonored, and we must be ready for that.
We prepare for that by building our faith. So what do we build upon? First, the revelation found in Matthew 16:18 that Jesus is the Christ. Second, Ephesians 2:19-22 ESV “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
In Ephesians chapter six, we are given the armor of God to withstand the attacks of the enemy. After we read about the armor, Paul goes on to mention prayer. Ephesians 6:18 in the Amplified Classic says, “Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).”
This is the kind of Prayer Jude is talking about when he says praying in the Holy Spirit. It is prayer directed by the Spirit and founded on the Word of God, and that same Word keeps us in the love of God. First John deals with deception and the love of God when we walk in the love of God, as defined by Scripture, which is keeping God’s commands as stated throughout First John and John chapters fourteen and fifteen. Part of false teaching that leads to apostasy is the love of God without the commands of God. We need to be on guard against those who make light of holiness. As we look unto the compassion of the Lord and our eternal destiny, the desire for holiness will grow in us.
As Jude brings his letter to a close, he talks about rescuing some from the brink of apostasy and ends with a shout of praise. Jude 1:22-25 ESV “And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
False teaching is never 100% wrong, it has to have some truth mixed in, or people would never believe it. Jude instructs us to have mercy on those who are wavering between truth and false teaching. Nine times out of ten people know there is something wrong; they just can’t put their finger on it; that’s when mercy and correction bring people entirely over to the side of truth. We are to rescue those from the flames by proclaiming the gospel message. As we share truth with those caught in deception, we must do so cautiously, making sure we are grounded firmly in truth so that we don’t walk in false teaching with them. As we walk in caution and rescue some from falling away, we can know that the Lord can keep us from falling and present us faultless before God.
This letter from Jude seems at first very heavy, and it is, apostasy is a grave thing. But the letter ends, just like the entirety of the Bible, in triumph! “To God our Savior, who alone is wise, Be glory, and majesty, dominion, and power, Both now and forever. Amen.”
The word majesty is defined in the Vine’s Expository Dictionary as an “ascription of praise acknowledging the attributes of God.” A few of the Attributes of God as taught by A. W. Pink are; the decrees of God, The knowledge and foreknowledge of God, the supremacy and sovereignty of God, the holiness of God, the goodness of God, the love of God, the wrath of God, and others. When we focus on the attributes of God, we guard against apostasy.
While apostasy is a serious thing and we need to guard our hearts against false teaching, we should not walk in fear of being deceived or falling away. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 tells us to test everything and hold fast to what is good. Jude has given us the profile of a false teacher; he instructed us to build upon the foundation of Christ as long as we heed his instructions and the many other similar warnings in the New Testament, we will be safe from apostasy.
Things may look bleak all around you, but we have a book. The Bible tells us of the signs of the times; it exposes the false teachings and keeps us on the right path. Our book is the Bible, the infallible, inerrant, and sufficient Word of God. So hold fast to your Bible, obey it, reject what is contrary to it, and you will endure to the end and be saved.