Instructions from Jude
Toward the end of Jude’s short letter we find a section that is packed with a lot of great advice that we may miss if we speed our way through it.
Jude 17-23, “But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, 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. 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.”
There are a lot of things that Jude addresses here in a few short verses. I am going to take several weeks to work through these, one by one, as we look at these instructions from Jude.
In the first two verses he says that his readers must remember the predictions of the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. And then he quotes that in the last time there will be scoffers following their own ungodly passions.
We know from both Acts 2:17 and Hebrews 1:2 that the New Testament refers to the time of Christ as ushering in the last time. Peter spoke of the prophet Joel’s prophesy about what would happen in the last days and Peter speaks of it’s fulfillment in Acts 2. The writer of Hebrews states, “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his son.” So we know that Jude is not referring to some far off date. There is a last days of the Old covenant and sacrificial system that is done away with by the temple’s destruction in AD 70.
In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions. This was true at the time of the New Testament writers and it is also true of us today. There is nothing new under the sun. We should not be surprised that people scoff at the message of the Gospel. We know that the Good News about Christ is divisive. It is counter cultural.
Let us be aware, but never surprised, that many in the world scoff at Christ and the message of hope we believe in. God is still bringing people into His kingdom. We who follow Him may have to put up with a little scoffing from time to time as we seek to be faithful to the things we believe, and as we seek to share hope with those who are around us.