Jude would prefer to talk about the grace of Christ than have to warn the church about division and wrong motives. I think I am a lot like Jude. I am much more eager to talk about the goodness of salvation in Christ than correcting bad teaching, or confronting the few sheep in the flock that keep biting the other sheep. But Jude’s encouragement is to contend for the faith, and we must be about that.
“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.”
He wants to revel in the greatness of Christ (and he will) but it is necessary to handle some business before hand. It seems there is division creeping into the church. Random teaching that challenges the Apostles’ and strive to meet the disgruntle person’s preference rather than the good of the church. It is a warning against such things. But right when we expect Jude to call for drawing the sword, he tells the church to be humble and gracious with those that are critical and following their flesh rather than the Spirit.
In fact the work of the one to contend for the faith is to be “building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”
To protect the flock among you, to care for the doubter in the congregation, to handle the people that rather bring division, those that are never pleased, is to pray in the Holy Spirit and keep yourself in the love of God anticipating eternity with Jesus. No sword. No arguments. No strong arming. Just faithful loving God.
From that place we have mercy, reverent confrontation and the “snatching out of the fire.” That is a better way than I once thought. For me to fall in love with Jesus in order to contend for the faith.
So I want to talk to you about our common salvation, let’s handle this other thing and then look together at the hope we have in Jesus.