It is said that dynamite comes in small packages. This is no less true of the one-chapter book of Jude. The second-to-last book in the New Testament is dwarfed by the Grand Finale book of Revelation, but it has an exploding punch of it own. That is precedes Revelation is a lesson in itself! Jude is the book that wastes no time equipping believers to stay blameless until the End.
Jude begins and ends with some of the most wonderful words ever written to Christians about all that God bestows on us. Yet, everything in between is some of the most direct denunciations of false Christians in all of Scripture. And again, before even looking at all the particulars of the verses, a lesson can already be learned—a lesson Jude will emphasise in his various transitions—namely, that true Christians are very, very, different to imposters. Christians are guaranteed “mercy, peace, and love” (Jud 1:2), but imposters are “designated for condemnation” (Jud 1:4). Christians are “praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jud 1:20), but imposters are “devoid of the Spirit” (Jud 1:19). Christians are kept by God (Jud 1:24), but imposters have “abandoned themselves” (Jud 1:11). Christians are “presented blameless” before God (Jud 1:24), but imposters are cursed (Jud 1:11).
Since imposters try and look like the real thing, the book of Jude helps us maintain the distinction between true and false Christians with such clarity that we never need to wonder if we are true or false. Imposters will try and obscure the difference between true and false Christians, but it is a difference too large to cover up. To maintain the distinction between a true and false Christian, we simply need to remember that Jesus is as much a Destroyer (Jud 1:5) as He is a Saviour (Jud 1:25). Jesus destroyed the unbelieving Israelites during the Exodus (Jud 1:5), the angels who rebelled (Jud 1:6), and Sodom and Gomorrah for their sins (Jud 1:7). By remembering that Jesus is as much a Destroyer as He is Saviour, we will do well to stay on track ourselves.
This is where imposter-Christians fail the test. Instead of recognising that Jesus is Judge, and remembering that Jesus said He would judge all evil, they boast of their evil practises. Instead of keeping themselves in the love of God and relying on the mercy of Jesus that leads to eternal life (Jud 1:21), they rely on their dreams and blaspheme spiritual beings (Jud 1:8-10). They are condemned by their own actions just like Cain (Gen 4) was and just like the sons of Korah (Num 16) were (Jud 1:11). They might mingle with the saints, but they will be swept away in self-imposed judgment (Jud 1:12-13). The Judge has already spoken (Jud 1:14-15), and the verdict is “guilty” (Jud 1:16).
“But you” is the contrasting transition to what is perhaps the most beautiful ending of any letter in all of Scripute. “But you” must
remember that Jesus said imposters like this will be around (Jud 1:17-19). “But you” need to build yourselves up in your most holy faith (Jud 1:20). “But you” must keep yourselves in the love of God waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life (Jud 1:21). “But you” must have mercy on those who doubt” (Jud 1:22). “But you” must save those who are being led astray without self being attracted to what is false and ungodly (Jud 1:23). Jesus is a destroying, condemning, Judge of all imposters in Christianity, “but you” who are called, beloved by God, and kept for Jesus Christ (Jud 1:1) will receive mercy, peace, and love (Jud 1:2).
God is able to keep you from stumbling; God is able to present you blameless before His glory; God is able to make your appointment with the Judge of all an time of “great joy” (Jud 1:24). So let us never stop fearing the “only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord,” attributing to Him all “glory, majesty, dominion, and authority”, for evermore (Jud 1:25).