Concerned about the coming year… whether you’ll be able stand strong, resist temptation, deal with difficulties, and be able to live in a way that pleases and honors God?
As I closed out my Bible reading this year (I use the Bible reading plan I authored several years ago – “Necessary Food”) I read the short epistle of Jude (brother of James the Just, and probably half-brother of Jesus as well)…
In his own words, “I was eager to write about our common salvation but found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once-for-all delivered to the saints.”
And then what follows is one of the most direct, scathing, warnings and indictments, of false teachers, corrupt “Christians,” and deceivers in all of Scripture! He puts it this way… “Certain people have crept in unnoticed… who pervert the grace of God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Throughout the Bible those who infiltrate the ranks of “God’s people” have always been viewed as a greater risk than those made no claim to believe and follow the Lord. God’s people seem to be more susceptible to, and deceived by those who claim to be “believers” and Christians then by those who make no such claim.
I mean, read the warning – read the description – Jude gives of these despicable deceivers (verses 5-19)!
The warning is valid for believers today! The risk of deception is just as great today (or perhaps greater) as we approach the coming year! So what to do?…
Jude’s inspired exhortation is just as valid today as it was then!
“But you, building yourselves up in your must holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, all the while waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that lead to eternal life! And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” (verses 20-23)
There it is… Devoted, diligent discipleship, Holy Spirit guided and prompted prayer, the daily experience of God’s love, living each day expectantly waiting for the Lord’s return, and sharing your witness with others regardless of the challenges!
Frightened? Wondering if you can stand strong for Christ without falling or being deceived? Here’s Jude’s wonderful closing word of assurance… “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 – 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!”