By Leonard Lauriault
There’s some speculation about who wrote the book of Jude (a fairly inconspicuous treasure hidden between 1, 2, & 3 John and Revelation; go ahead and read it, it‘s only 25 verses).
Some believe the author is Judas, son of James, the apostle also known as Thaddeus (Luke 6: 12-16; Mark 3: 13-19). The letter’s writer, however, identifies himself as a brother of James. Thus, others, including yours truly, believe he’s one of Jesus’ half brothers (Matthew 13: 35).
Jesus’ earthly family struggled with his mission, even thinking on occasion that he was out of his mind (John 7: 1-5; Mark 3: 20, 21, 31, 32). However, after his resurrection, they saw him in a different light (so to speak, John 8: 12; 1 Corinthians 15: 3-8) and became his disciples (Acts 1: 1-14).
Once convinced of the nature of Jesus’ Lordship, at least two, and possibly all of his brothers became pillars in the church and traveling evangelists (Galatians 1: 18, 19; 2: 1-10; 1 Corinthians 9: 5).
Anyway, Jude’s purpose in writing wasn’t to identify himself, but to warn his fellow Christians (and us) about a problem in the church that was important enough to cause him to change the original theme of his letter. In fact, the problem was so prevalent that every letter to Christians in the New Testament included the same warning: Watch out for false teachers.
Prophets for profit rather than representing God had been around long before the church began and are still here today (Deuteronomy 12: 1-18; Matthew 24: 24; 2 Peter 2: 1-3). In rushing for profit, pleasure, and self-promotion, these people have become animalistic, viewing others and events only to their own advantage. They live only for the moment and even try to change God’s standards to accommodate their desires (2 Peter 3: 15-18).
Harsh judgment is in store for those who alter God’s word and mislead others (James 3: 1; 2 Peter 2: 10-13; Revelation 22: 18, 19). Writing about people’s condemnation beforehand isn’t God’s predetermination of an individual’s fate (predestination). It’s predetermination of the consequences of a practice, much like, if you touch a hot stove, you will get burned.
God never decides who will touch the stove; he’s only decided what will happen if someone does. Condemnation will come to all who are godless: those who mislead, those who are misled (Matthew 15: 1-14), and those who refuse to be led at all (Romans 1: 18-32; 2 Thessalonians 2: 9-12). The problem in all these cases is rebellion toward God leading to an inability to see the light of God’s word (2 Corinthians 4: 1-4).
We must stick with the faith and pay attention to the warnings that were delivered by Jesus through the apostles to avoid the destruction reserved for false teachers and their followers. To help Christians know what the faith once delivered is, God inspired men to write the New Testament, which includes the life and teachings of Christ that are necessary for our salvation (2 Timothy 3: 12-17; 2: 15-19).
Even our purification comes as a result of obedience (1 Peter 1: 22, 23; Acts 22: 16), which also is when God’s Spirit comes to live in us as the deposit guaranteeing our salvation (Acts 2: 38, 39; Romans 8: 1-17; 6: 3-5; 1 John 3: 21-24). If we’ll grow in the faith and keep ourselves in God’s love by remaining obedient to him (John 15: 1-10), he’ll keep us from falling so we can enter his presence for eternity. Without the Spirit (God‘s anointing) people are unable to understand God‘s word and accurately teach it to others (1 Corinthians 2: 12-16; 1 John 2: 19-27; Acts 8: 29-39). Have you been told that obedience to God in baptism isn’t a necessary part of your salvation (Mark 16: 15, 16; 1 John 2: 3-6; 2 John 7-11)?
If you’re reading this article and truly doubt its accuracy based on what others have taught you, call me and we’ll learn together what God says. If you’re reading this article and know the information is incorrect based on God’s word, God tells you to be merciful and snatch me from the fire. And I’d appreciate that.
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at 461-4421.