Compiled by Bruce Hurt, MD
August 2 , 2015
Exposure & Examples
Their Doom (Jude 1:5-7)
Date: A.D. 70-80 (difficult to date)
Jude's Purpose: Expose the false teachers who had crept into the fellowship unnoticed and encourage the saints to stand firm in the faith and rescue the perishing.
Key Verses: Jude 1:4, Jude 1:20, Jude 1:24, 25
Key Words: Lord (Jude 1:4, 5, 9, 14, 17, 21, 25), Faith (Jude 1:3, 20) Keep/Kept (Jude 1:1, 6, 21, 24), Ungodly (Jude 1:4, 15, 18), Beloved (Jude 1:1, 3, 17, 20), Judgment (Jude 1:6, 9, 15), Remember (Jude 1:17), Angel/Archangel (Jude 1:6, 8, 9), Holy Spirit (Jude 1:19, 20). See discussion of key words, a vital component of inductive Bible study.
The following outline is adapted from J Sidlow Baxter's Outline entitled "Contend for the Faith"
GREETING, Jude 1:1,2.
WHY CONTEND EARNESTLY - APOSTATE TEACHERS (Jude 1:3-16).
HOW TO CONTEND EARNESTLY - OUR RESOURCES (Jude 1:17-23).
JUDE'S DOXOLOGY: Coming consummation. (Jude 1:24, 25)
In all contending for the faith we must "keep ourselves in the love of God," the counterpart of which is that the love of God must be in us. We must love, even while we contend against the errors of apostatisers (Contend without being contentious!). We must love their souls even while we oppose their words and deplore their ways. Sometimes it is delicately difficult to keep these separate, but the love of Christ in our hearts (cf Ro 5:5,) will put wisdom on our lips....There are some who "contend" against us. Endless counter-contention with them is useless. But there are others who need "snatching out of the fire"; they have been deceived, and in one sense or another, i.e. by bewilderment, remorse, doubt or danger, are in the fire. And there an still others on whom we are to "have mercy with fear," i.e. being cautious lest in seeking to bring them back we should defile our own garments. (J Sidlow Baxter)
Jude is the only NT book devoted exclusively to confronting “apostasy,” meaning defection from the true, biblical faith. Jude does not quote the OT directly, but there are at least 9 obvious allusions to it. Contextually, this “epistolary sermon” could be called “The Acts of the Apostates.” - John MacArthur
Application: Fight for the truth! Stand up against error! The book of Jude is the very definition of punchy and pithy proclamations—with its short commands and statements popping off the page like machine-gun fire. But in our day and age, punchy has become rude or unacceptable. In many circles the forcefulness of Jude will not be tolerated, the crowds preferring a softer and gentler side of the Christian faith. But Jude reminds us that there is a time and a place for the aggressive protection of the truth from those who would seek to tear it down. How can you participate in defending the truth from error? - C R Swindoll
Click chart to enlarge
Chart from recommended resource Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Jude 1:21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life: heautous en agape theou teresate (2PAAM) prosdechomenois (PMPMPN) to eleos tou kuriou hemon Iesou Christou eis zoen aionion
Keep = Jude 1:24; John 14:21; 15:9,10; Acts 11:23; 1Jn 4:16; 5:18,21; Rev 12:11
in = Ro 5:5; 8:39; 2Th 3:5; 1Jn 3:16,17
looking = Job 14:14; La 3:25,26; Mt 24:42-51; Lk 12:36, 37, 38, 39, 40; 2Ti 4:8; Titus 2:13,14; Heb 9:28; 2Pe 3:12
the mercy = John 1:17; 1Ti 1:2; 2Ti 1:2,16,18
unto = Ro 5:21; 6:23; 1Jn 5:10,11
Amplified - Guard and keep yourselves in the love of God; expect and patiently wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)—[which will bring you] unto life eternal.
Barclay - you must keep yourselves in the love of God; while you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ which will bring you to life eternal.
NET - maintain yourselves in the love of God, while anticipating the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that brings eternal life.
NIV - Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
TLB - Stay always within the boundaries where God’s love can reach and bless you. Wait patiently for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy is going to give you.
Wuest - with watchful care keep yourselves within the sphere of God’s love, expectantly looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ resulting in life eternal.
Keep yourselves in the love of God - Jude is not telling them to work for their salvation (as if they by their own power they could keep themselves in the love of God and thereby merit salvation), but to "work out (present imperative - not "work for!") their their salvation" (Php 2:12-note), enabled to do so only by the indwelling Spirit, Who is in us both to give us the desire and the power to be pleasing to God. (Php 2:13-note)."
Keep is an aorist imperative, a command calling for "urgent" attention (in light of the great danger of the deceivers!) The readers to to heed the command and guard themselves from anything that would negatively affect our abiding in the sphere of God's love. What could keep us from abiding? In simple terms sin. Any act of disobedience is the antithesis of keeping ourselves in the love of God.
Yourselves (heautou) is plural indicating that Jude is addressing not just individuals but the entire church body. This pronoun is also reflexive which signifies emphasizes our responsibility -- you "yourselves" do this! Furthermore, keep is in the active voice which means that the subject ("yourselves") makes a volitional choice, a choice of his or her will, to carry out this action.
MacArthur on keep yourselves in the love of God - This is a vitally important principle, and it means to remain in the sphere of God's love, or the place of His blessing (Ro 5:5; 8:39; 1Jn 4:16). On a practical level, it means that we must stay obedient to God, since divine blessing is promised only within the sphere of obedience. As Jesus told the apostles: Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. (John 15:9-11; cf. 1 John 2:5) On the other hand, if we become disobedient, we move from a position of blessing to a position of chastisement (Heb. 12:3-11-note). (2 Peter and Jude MacArthur New Testament Commentary)
Notice that in this section (Jude 1:20-21) the main verb is keep which is modified by three participles -- building up, praying in, waiting for. The ESV Study Bible has an excellent comment that links all four verbs together - "Christians keep themselves in God’s love by growing strong doctrinally, persevering in prayer, and “waiting” for the Lord’s coming."
Notice Jude's "juxtaposition" of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility reminding us of the truth that God keeps us (Jude 1:1-note, Jude 1:24-25-note) and giving us instruction that we are to keep ourselves (Jude 1:21). And the truth is that we could never accomplish the latter, without God's provision of the former! As an aside Jude clearly believes that no genuine believer will ever lose his or her salvation. (See How can I have assurance of my salvation?)
Spurgeon - Jude next mentions as a third important matter the affections of the church. If the hearts of the members of the church are right, mockers and scoffers can do very little against them. “Keep yourselves in the love of God”; for a warm-hearted company of Christians who love the Lord with all their hearts, and with all their souls, are not likely to be overcome by mockers and sensualists. Love to God will be as a wall of fire round about them. In dull, decaying churches, errors spread like ivy on the crumbling walls of an old abbey, but life, zeal, earnestness, warm-heartedness throw off these evils even as a red-hot iron plate evaporates the drops which fall upon it. Love God, and you will not love false doctrine. Keep the heart of the church right, and her head will not go far wrong; let her abide in the love of Jesus, and she will abide in the truth. (A Weighty Charge - Jude 1:21)
Bengel - He who defends himself first, is able then, and not till then, to preserve others. They who build themselves are able to wait with confidence (Jude-Bengel's Gnomon)
Clarke - Keep yourselves in the love of God - By building up yourselves on your most holy faith, and praying in the Holy Ghost; for without this we shall soon lose the love of God. (Jude Commentary)
To reiterate, note that in Jude 1:20-21 there are three verbal participles (building, praying, waiting) and most commentators feel these modify the command to keep. In other words, Jude gives us three ways we are to keep ourselves in the love of God - (1) by building ourselves up on our most holy faith (growing in sound doctrine), (2) by praying in the Holy Spirit (persevering in prayer - cf Eph 6:18-note) and (3) by waiting expectantly for the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf 2Ti 4:8-note). In addition, many commentators interpret these three participles as having the force of an imperative verb (a command). In either case (commands or exhortations) in view of the fact that all three verbs are in the present (continuous) tense calls for all three attitudes/actions to be our lifestyle, our habitual practice. Now think about this truth for a moment. Is there any way that believers can continually live out these three verbs? Such a lifestyle is clearly not possible in our power. This means we must continually surrender to the Spirit, allowing Him to fill and control and empower us to accomplish supernaturally what we simply cannot accomplish naturally! Indeed, in giving these exhortations/commands, Jude is calling for his readers to be a Spirit Filled Church! That first century pattern for the church has not changed despite the passage of over 2000 years! This begs a vital question -- Is your church a Spirit filled church? What would have to change for it to become a Spirit filled church? See the discussion of what a Spirit Filled Church looks like in Scripture.
Wiersbe on keep yourselves - He did not write, “Keep yourselves saved!” because he had already assured them that they were “preserved in Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:1-note). (Be Alert 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude- Beware of the Religious Impostors)
Jamieson - Keep yourselves — not in your own strength, but “in the love of God,” that is, God‘s love to you and all His believing children, the only guarantee for their being kept safe. Man‘s need of watching is implied; at the same time he cannot keep himself, unless God in His love keep him. (Jude - Commentary Critical and Explanatory)
William MacDonald gives an illustration to help us understand what it means to keep ourselves in the love of God - The love of God can be compared to sunshine. The sun is always shining. But when something comes between us and the sun, we are no longer in the sunshine. That's the way it is with the love of God. It is always beaming down upon us. But if sin comes between us and the Lord, then we are no longer enjoying His love in practice. We can keep ourselves in the love first of all by lives of holiness and godliness (Ed - by obedience). And if sin should come between, then we should confess and forsake that sin immediately (repent) (Ed - confess - 1Jn 1:9-note and forsake it - Pr 28:13-note). The secret (of keeping one's self in the love of God) is to let nothing come between us and God.
Comment: When we sin we are "shaded" as it were from God's love in the sense that there is a loss of a sense of intimacy or communion with Him. However, there is NEVER a schism in our UNION with Him. We can never be separated from the Father's love (Ro 8:39-note). Even in Jude 1:1 Jude says we are beloved in the Father where beloved is in the perfect which conveys the truth that we are permanently the objects of His infinite love! Wuest has this comment on beloved in Jude 1:1
The participle is in the perfect tense, speaking of a past complete act having present, and in a context like this, permanent results. The distinctive word for "love" here is the word for God's self-sacrificial love which was shown at Calvary. This love here is the outgoing of God's love for the saints in which He gives of Himself for their good. He will do anything within His good will for the saints. He went all the way to Calvary for them when they were unlovely and naturally unlovable. He will do as much and more for His saints who in Christ are looked upon by God the Father with all the love with which He loves His Son. The perfect tense speaks here of the fact that the saints are the permanent objects of God's love. Jude is therefore writing to those who have been loved by God the Father with the present result that they are in a state of being the objects of His permanent love, and that love extends not merely through the brief span of this life, but throughout eternity (Hallelujah!).
Listen to the full version of Nothing between (vocal by Samanthia Cassidy)...
Nothing between my soul and my Savior,
Naught of this world's delusive dream,
Nothing preventing the least of His favor,
Keep the way clean, let nothing between.
Jude's command is similar to the one Jesus gave His disciples...
Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide (aorist imperative) in My love. If you keep (tereo) My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. (John 15:9-10)
Comment: Jesus issues a command to abide, even as Jude issues a command to keep themselves in the love of God. As discussed above, God's commandments always include His enablements, and specifically call for us to surrender to the Spirit and allow Him to empower us to carry out the command. We still have to make the volitional choice (choice of our will) to obey, but it is God Who is in us giving us the desire to obey and the power to obey (Php 2:13-note). Note that Jesus begins Jn 15:9 with the phrase "just as" which is a term of comparison. What He is saying is that He is giving them an example to follow, and He goes on to equate abiding with obeying. If we obey God (enabled by the Spirit, not out of some legalistic obligation), we are demonstrating that we are abiding in His love. As Matthew Henry says "Christ satisfied for us by obeying the law of redemption, and so He abode in His Father's love and restored us to it."
Now we as believers can be continually "immersed" in God's love, His love becoming the environment in which we live --as Wiersbe notes below this refers not to our union per se but to our practical daily, moment by moment communion with Him. Notice that love (not "soul strangling" legalism) is the basis of obedience, and that obedience in turn demonstrates the validity of our love. In other words, one might profess to love God but by his continual disobedience (as a lifestyle, not just a sin here and there or even a season of sin, but a "never-ending" habitual practice of sin) he proves he is not a possessor of God's love because He does not possess the Spirit Who produces that love (Ro 5:5-note).
In summary, to abide refers to our personal fellowship with Jesus Christ. "To abide in Christ means to remain in spiritual oneness with Him, so that no sin comes between us. Because we are born of God, we have union with Christ, but it is only as we trust Him and obey His commandments that we have communion with Him. Much as a faithful husband and wife "abide in love" though they may be separated by miles, so the believer abides in God's love. This abiding is made possible (only) by the indwelling Holy Spirit (1Jn 4:13-note)." (Wiersbe).
The apostle John adds...
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1John 4:16-note, cf 1Jn 2:5)
Comment: Here abides speaks of an intimate fellowship (communion) with God. This is a protection against apostates and their godless doctrines. Are you abiding in God, in His love? Spurgeon said "To feel God's love is very precious, but to believe it when you do not feel it, is the noblest." Ryrie adds that "To live a love-filled life is to be God-filled." And I would add that such a life serves as a deterrent against intrusion of devious doctrines such as those described by Jude.
Keep (5083)(tereo from teros - a guard or warden) means to keep an eye on, to keep something in view, to hold firmly, to attend carefully, or to watch over it (watchful care - Jesus' prayer to His Father for His disciples - Jn 17:11). Tereo speaks of guarding something which is in one’s possession. It means to watch as one would guard some precious possession. Jude is calling for the saints to pay heed first to yourselves. Jude has already used tereo 3 times in this short letter (Jude 1:1-note, Jude 1:6-note, Jude 1:13-note). So here Jude is calling for those who are "Kept (tereo) for Jesus Christ" (Jude 1:1-note) is to "keep" themselves. In the context of divisive doctrine, clearly one way they are to keep themselves is by holding fast the faithful Word which is according to the teaching, so that (they) may be able to exhort each other with sound doctrine (cf "building yourselves up in your most holy faith") and refute those who contradict truth even turning "the grace of our God into licentiousness and (denying) our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4-note) (Titus 1:9-note).
Paul Gardner - As with the need to pray, we must remember that the Holy Spirit has been given to us so that the law of love is now written on our hearts—the law to love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. (2Peter and Jude - Focus on the Bible Commentary)
KJV Commentary on keep yourselves - The meaning here seems to be “keep yourselves from being dragged off into a life that is different from what God wants for you.” The main exhortation to keep yourselves in the love of God is supplemented with three circumstantial participles of means in the original; they answer the question, “How does one keep himself in the love of God?” By building up yourselves in the faith, which means learning more about the faith, or growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and Saviour. He adds, by praying in the Holy Spirit, which may be simply worshiping God as led by the Holy Spirit rather than listening to these false prophets who do not have the Spirit at all (Jude 1:19). And, thirdly, keep yourselves by looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
In the love of God - "In" is locative of sphere, indicating as Wuest translates it "within the sphere of God's love." Let love be the "atmosphere" you breathe and in which you obey Jude's command to watch over yourselves. While the love of God could be God's love for them, it could also denote their love for God. "Jude is asking his readers to keep themselves consciously in God’s love, just as a doctor tells his patient to keep himself in the sunshine. The readers must be alert to keep anything from clouding their consciousness of His love." (Hiebert)
Plummer rightly says that "To be conscious of being beloved by God (cp also Jude 1:1) is one of the greatest protections that the believer can possess.”
Hiebert - “The love of God” may be understood as denoting their own love for God or God’s love for them. If the former, then the call is to stand firm and steadfast in their love for God amid defection. Barnes supports this view “because it is not a subject which could be enjoined, that we should keep up God’s love to us.” But it is more probable that Jude means God’s love for them. This is in keeping with Jude 1:1-note, which has already pictured them as the recipients of God’s love and keeping power; here “the love of God” seems balanced by “the mercy of Jesus Christ” in the following clause, where the genitive is clearly subjective; it is also in keeping with the expression “keep yourselves in” as urging them to keep within the sphere of His love. “God’s love is a protecting sphere where one is safe from all that can harm—fate and demons and all evil powers.” (Second Peter-Jude: An Expositional Commentary)
Wiersbe - We grow in our love for God as we listen to His Word, obey it, and delight in doing what pleases Him. That is how we keep ourselves in God’s love....To love God is to love what He loves and hate what He hates! We please Him by doing those things that He commands. (Be Alert 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude- Beware of the Religious Impostors)
If we keep ourselves in the love of God, this Christocentric focus will create in our inner being a "Maranatha Mindset," a longing ("waiting anxiously") for His return to take us home. This mindset should motivate holy living, because Who we are looking for impacts Who we are living for - either for this futile fading world or the future forever world!
A few thoughts on the Spirit Filled Church in Jude 1:20-21...
(1) How do we continually build ourselves up? (Jude 1:20)
By being continually filled with God's Word and God's Spirit!
(2) How can we continually pray (pray w/o ceasing)?
Filled with the Word and the Spirit!
(3) How can we keep or guard ourselves (Jude 1:21-note) (aorist imp = Do this now! Don't delay! It always conveys a sense of urgency -- it is like a commanding general in this case Jude giving orders to his troops contending earnestly for the faith in spiritual struggle for truth)?
We can only keep ourselves in the love of God by being filled with the Word of God and the Spirit of God (cp Ro 5:5, Gal 5:22)!
(4) How can we wait expectantly for Jesus? (Jude 1:21-note)
Filled with the Word and the Spirit! Wow! What a picture of a Spirit filled church -- a picture of church that is supernaturally empowered to contend earnestly for the faith!
Plummer adds that "to be conscious of being beloved by God is one of the greatest protections that the believer can possess."
CONSCIOUS COMMUNION WITH GOD
EXPECTANT LONGING FOR HIS RETURN
Waiting anxiously (4327)(prosdechomai from pros = in compound Greek words implies motion or direction toward + dechomai = a deliberate and ready reception, "putting out the welcome mat" so to speak!) means to accept favorably, to receive one into intercourse/companionship, to give access to oneself or receive to oneself. Prosdechomai is used of things future, in the sense of expecting and at the same time accepting or receiving. Earnestly expecting is the idea. To wait for but with a sense of to welcome the one for which we wait. As discussed below, prosdechomai is an attitude that is motivated by the promise of the Second Coming.
As John MacArthur says "Thus we are to live with eternity in view as we eagerly anticipate the Lord's return (1Cor. 1:7; Phil. 3:20; 1Th. 1:10; 2Ti 4:8; Titus 2:12-13; cf. 1Peter 4:7; 2Peter 3:11-13). On that great future day, all of us who have trusted in Him will experience Christ's final mercy and enjoy the fullness of eternal life (cf. Ro 2:7; 1Ti 6:12; 1John 5:13) as we experience the resurrection and glorification of our bodies (John 5:24; 17:3; Rom. 5:17; 2 Tim. 1:10; 1 John 5:20; cf. Dan. 7:18). (2 Peter and Jude MacArthur New Testament Commentary)
Prosdechomai - 14x in 14v - Mark 15:43; Luke 2:25, 38; Lk 12:36; 15:2; 23:51; Acts 23:21; 24:15; Rom 16:2; Phil 2:29; Titus 2:13; Heb 10:34; 11:35; Jude 1:21. NAS translates prosdechomai as: accepted(1), accepting(1), cherish(1), looking(3), receive(2), receives(1), waiting(5), waiting anxiously(1). For example, prosdechomai is used of the Jews who were looking for the promised Messiah at the time of His first coming, Mk 15:43, Lk 2:25; 2:38, cp Lk 23:51.
The present tense pictures this sense of expectancy is one's habitual practice or lifestyle! It describes a saint in whom the Spirit of God has stirred an attitude of eager expectancy and readiness to welcome the return of their Bridegroom at His Second Coming. While Jude does not use the word hope, in this he is clearly describing the believer's hope, because hope is a desire for some future good with an expectation of obtaining it (in this case Christ's return is certain). In Scripture hope is almost never a "hope so" but a "hope sure!" Biblical hope is the absolute certainty that God will do good to us in the future. It is notable that one in many NT passages refer either directly or indirectly to the Second Coming of Messiah! Clearly God desires that all His children be waiting anxiously for His Son's return. We are not anxious (uneasy, uncertain) that He won't return, but anxious in the sense of "ardently, earnestly wishing" for His sure return. As a one commentary says...
Without question the Bible teaches that Jesus is coming again. For instance, 23 of the 27 books in the New Testament state that He is coming. One out of every 30 verses in the New Testament either speaks directly of His coming or of the end times surrounding His coming. For every biblical reference to Jesus’ first coming there are eight that point to His return. Clearly the biblical writers did not want their readers to miss this truth. From the perspective of the biblical authors, Jesus’ coming was never intended to be a subject for speculation; it was always intended to be a reason for anticipation and motivation." (Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Thessalonians - Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary- Mark Howell, David Platt, Dr. Daniel L. Akin, Tony Merida)
Clearly the Spirit wants to motivate and stimulate us to "be waiting expectantly" so that we will "be living victoriously" when our King returns! Life is short. Eternity is "long." Meditating frequently on seeing Jesus face to face will transform our fleshly temporal perspective into a spiritual eternal perspective! An eternal perspective will shed a lot of light on your brief temporal existence!
Hiebert adds that "Such an eschatological hope keeps present realities (Ed: including "the good, the bad and the ugly" so to speak!) in true perspective. It will “keep the faithful from evil by adjusting their sense of value, fixing their attention upon the right things and filling them with joyful hope (cf Ro 15:13-note).”
Waiting anxiously (I like "expectantly" better because "anxious" conveys to some readers a sense that we are "worried" -- when in fact the opposite sense is meant!) -- One of the best word pictures I have ever heard on the verb prosdechomai is "putting the welcome mat" out like we would to welcome guest to our homes -- the picture is that in our heart we continually have the "welcome mat" out ready for Jesus' return at any moment! (See Imminency related to Christ's Second Coming) And we can't wait to see Him!
This truth has a powerful application -- what you are LOOKING for will (or at least should) radically impact what (WHO) you are LIVING for! It's the dynamic of the "expulsive power of a new affection!" -- we cannot be looking for the precious prize of Jesus and at the same time looking at the paltry prizes of this world which is passing away! If we are heeding the exhortation of the writer of Hebrews 12:2-note and "fixing (aphorao) our eyes on Jesus" we will not be fixing our eyes on the toys of this world. Our supernaturally enabled love for Jesus (and expectancy of seeing Him soon) will in effect expel our fleshly enabled love for this passing world! And surely this is one way we "keep ourselves in the love of God." With this sense of expectancy controlling our heart we will begin to think eternally and redeem the time (Eph 5:16), by having mercy on some and saving others, even snatching them out of the fire! In short, the thought of seeing Jesus will stimulate Spirit enabled, compassionate evangelism, another mark of a Spirit Filled Church.
Prosdechomai is virtually always found in the middle voice which pictures reflexive action (action directed on self) which means that one receives to one’s self or gives another access to one’s self.
Paul uses prosdechomai in a similar context in his letter to Titus...
Looking for (prosdechomai also in present tense) the Blessed Hope (not a concept but a Person, Christ Jesus! cf 1Ti 1:1) and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:13-14-note)
Comment: Note that if we are looking for Him, we will be living for Him and even be "zealous for good deeds!" As a corollary, if we are not zealous for good deeds, it follows that one reason might be because we are not looking for and longing for His return. We have become comfortable with the "status quo," forgetting that the status quo of "the world is passing away and even it's lusts." (1Jn 2:17-note).
ARE YOU A GAZER OR A GOER?
As someone has well said when it comes to belief in the Lord's return there are two kinds of Christians—gazers and goers. Jude is charging his readers to be gazing goers, motivated to live in the light of the imminent return of the One for Whom they are continually looking.
For the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life - When we see Jesus, we will be like Him for we will see Him just as He is (1Jn 3:2-note), and to be sure, this is the consummate manifestation of mercy! Earlier Jude had prayed that His mercy would be multiplied to them (Jude 1:2-note).
Bengel on mercy - Opposed to fire (Jude 1:23)! (Jude- Bengel's Gnomon)
Jamieson - Mercy is usually attributed to the Father: here to the Son; so entirely one are they. (Jude - Commentary Critical and Explanatory)
Wiersbe - Not only is our salvation from sin the gift of God’s mercy, but so also is the deliverance of His church from this evil world. In His mercy, He will come for us and take us to Himself. (Be Alert 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude- Beware of the Religious Impostors)
Scott Meadows - Both gratitude for God’s past and current mercies, as well as hope-filled expectation of His future mercy are the strongest motives to live for His glory.
John Gill on "future mercy" - there is the future mercy of Christ, which will be shown at death, in the grave, and at the resurrection, at the day of judgment, and in the merciful sentence he will pronounce on his people; and this seems to be designed here
Constable on future mercy - we should keep in mind and consciously look forward to the complete realization of our eternal life (cf. 1 John 3:2; Rom. 8:29). This will be the greatest manifestation of Jesus Christ’s mercy to us as believers.
We see a picture of Christ's future mercy in Paul's prayer for Onesiphorus - "The Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day (probably the day of Judgment of believers - 2Cor 5:10-note, Ro 14:10-note) and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus." (2Ti 1:18-note)
KJV Commentary - It is interesting that Paul also used the word mercy in a reference to the Second Coming, “The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy … in that day” (2Ti 1:18-note). Peter also closed his second epistle with a triple use of a synonym (prosdokao), asking his readers to look for the coming of the Day of God.
Looking for (prosdokao in the present tense = something we can only accomplish by depending on the Spirit's filling and enabling!) and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!
Hiebert - They (Jude's readers) have already experienced His multiplied mercy (Jude 1:2-note) and are assured that He will continue to extend mercy to them while they await His return. They are aware that none lives without sin and that in that believers will need the divine compassion that pities the needy and acts to meet their need. The expression is a reminder that salvation is never a matter of personal merit or achievement but totally a matter of “mercy” based upon the atonement wrought on the cross....“Eternal life” is more than endless existence; it is life in its highest and fullest sense, life as God has it. Through faith in Jesus Christ believers already possess eternal life (Jn 3:14-16, 36; 1Jn 5:11-12), but “unto eternal life” looks to the final manifestation of that life, consummating in final and complete conformity to the image of our Lord (1Jn 3:2; Ro 8:29)...“The Christian life is viewed as having an inward look relating to the development of character [Jude 1:20], an upward look relating to communion with God [Jude 1:20–21], and a forward look being consummated in final glorification [Jude 1:21].”. (Second Peter-Jude: An Expositional Commentary)
Spurgeon said "If I knew that our Lord would come this evening, I should preach just as I mean to preach; and if I knew he would come during this sermon, I would go on preaching until he did...The fact that Jesus Christ is to come again is not a reason for star-gazing, but for working in the power of the Holy Spirit."
Spurgeon - The fourth point to which he calls attention is the brightness of our expectancy. “Looking,” says he, “for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Expect that Christ will come, and come with blessings undeserved, which shall display the mercy of God to us; expect that when he comes it will be to end our conflicts, to tread Satan under our feet, and to reveal and perfect that eternal life, which he has already implanted in us. Looking forward to the sure coming of Christ, the church will not be afraid of the great swelling words of men, nor dread their murmurings. She will have an answer to the tyrant’s question, “Where is the promise of his coming?” She will reply, “Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” First, “building,” and then “looking” from her watchtower, the church will defy the powers of evil, confident of victory at the appearing of her Lord. Brethren, if the darkest times should come, if these four points are diligently maintained, we shall be perfectly safe against the cunning assaults of the arch enemy. O servants of the living God, seek ye with all your hearts the edification of the saints, keep warm your devotions, keep pure your affections, and keep bright your expectancy, for so shall ye stand fast till the tempest is overpast.” (A Weighty Charge - Jude 1:21)
Hiebert - The Christian life is viewed as having an inward look relating to the development of character, an upward look relating to communion with God, and a forward look consummating in final glorification. The picture of the Christian life in terms of “faith, hope, and love” (1Cor 13:13) is enriched by the addition of “praying in the Holy Spirit.”...The recognition and personal appropriation of these riches offer the best antidote against the lures of the apostates. (Second Peter-Jude: An Expositional Commentary)
Gardner on waiting anxiously - It is vital for all Christians to remember they are living in an age that will come to an end. The ‘last time’ (Jude 1:18) do lead on to the inevitable Last Day when this age will come to an end and the ‘full mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ’ will be seen as he brings us the fulfilment of the promise of ‘eternal life’. The life of the church and of individual Christians in the last times will not be easy, as Jude has shown. But we are to persevere with the help of the Holy Spirit, for that great and glorious eternity awaits us when we shall see God’s mercy and salvation in all its fullness. At the moment we experience it through faith and as the Spirit writes God’s confirming Word on our hearts, but one day we shall know even as we are known (by God,) and we shall see ‘face to face’ (1 Corinthians 13:12). (2Peter and Jude - Focus on the Bible Commentary)
Bill Crowder - When we live in anticipation of Christ’s return, we will recognize what it means to live expecting the sound of a trumpet. It will cause us to anticipate, long for, and live in the light of Christ’s promised return.
Holy Spirit...God...our Lord Jesus Christ - Note that in Jude 1:19-20 we see Jude mentioning all three members of the Trinity.
Love story of Jim and Mary - The story is told of a young couple who were engaged to be married when the war broke out in 1939. Mary was a school teacher and Jim was in the Air Force. He was posted to England early in 1940. They had promised each other to write and remain faithful till Jim came home. Time rolled on and they wrote to each other at least three times a month. When Mary had the opportunity she would ring on the phone. They carried each others picture with them where ever they went. They longed for the day that the war would finish and they could be reunited. They spoke to their friends and workmates all the time about their loved one. By doing these things they found that their love grew more each day even though they were apart. They kept their love alive and fresh by thinking about each other often. Mary longed for Jim's return and their future lives together as man and wife. This love story has a parallel for believers. Jim and Mary kept their first love by focusing their attention on each other. This also kept them from being distracted by others. They chose to keep themselves pure. Mary longed for the day that Jim would return from the war. She longed to be his wife and spend their future together. They had made exciting plans and lived each day with them in mind. When he came back they would never be parted again. When this happened they would see each other face to face and freely talk when ever they liked.
KEEP THE ROMANCE - The great American statesman and lawyer William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925) was having his portrait painted. The artist asked, “Why do you wear your hair over your ears?”
Bryan responded, “There is a romance connected with that. When I began courting Mrs. Bryan, she objected to the way my ears stood out. So, to please her, I let my hair grow to cover them.”
“That was many years ago,” the artist said. “Why don’t you have your hair cut now?”
“Because,” Bryan winked, “the romance is still going on.”
Is the romance still going on in our relationship with Jesus? When we first came in faith to Christ, we experienced the joy of knowing our sins were forgiven and we were adopted into His family. Our hearts were full and overflowing with love for the Lord. We longed to please Him.
As time passed, however, the zeal of our first love may have begun to cool. That’s why we need to take to heart the words of Jude in his brief letter. He wrote, “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (v.21). Jesus used similar terms when He said, “Abide in My love” (John 15:9-10). We nurture that love when we focus on pleasing Him instead of ourselves.
Keep the romance going. -- David C. Egner
"Keep yourselves in the love of God"
Is what He says to do;
Feeding on His Word each day,
You'll find His love anew.
To renew your love for Christ,
Review His love for you.
JESUS LOVES ME - On cold days, our old dog moves around the yard, finding a sunny spot to stretch out on the grass to keep herself in the warmth of the sun.
This reminds me that we must “keep” ourselves in the love of God (Jude 1:21). That doesn’t mean we have to act in some special way to make God love us (although our desire is to please Him). Because we are His children we’re loved no matter what we do or fail to do. It means instead that we should think about His love and bask in its radiance and warmth all day long.
“[Nothing] shall be able to separate us from the love of God” (Ro 8:39). He loved us before we were born, and He loves us now. This is our identity in Christ; it is who we are—God’s beloved children. That’s something to think about throughout the day.
Five times in John’s Gospel he described himself as the disciple Jesus loved (Jn 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7,20). Jesus loved His other disciples too, but John reveled in the fact that Jesus loved him! We can adopt John’s theme—“I am the disciple Jesus loves!”—and repeat it to ourselves all day long. Or we can sing that familiar children’s song in our hearts, “Jesus loves me, this I know.” As we carry that truth with us throughout the day, we’ll bask in the warmth of His love!
I am so glad that our Father in heaven
Tells of His love in the Book He has given;
Wonderful things in the Bible I see—
This is the dearest, that Jesus loves me.
God loves us not because of who we are,
but because of who He is.