Saturday, February 03, 2018

RESPECT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD

                    Respect for the grace of God

I will be going over the book of Jude for the next couple of articles. Jude is one of the more blunt authors and he certainty is not boring. He gets right to the point.

As tough as Jude is he first calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ. He was the brother of James and also writes to those who are sanctified by God the Father. It is the same principle as salvation. When we accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts we were justified in the sight of God through His Son Jesus Christ. Notice he is writing to the sanctified by God. When we live holy and pure by abiding in Jesus Christ the sanctifying process takes place in our life. We are preserved in Jesus Christ (kept) because as Christians we are justified and sanctified through Jesus Christ by God.

Jude is very generous in his writing before he gives very tough examples of defeat. Jude says mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you. He said he was a diligent man to write to them so they would content for the faith.

Jude also points out that certain men crept in unaware turning the grace of God which is one hundred percent holy and pure into lasciviousness. That is bad but they also added insult to injury. They denied ... " The only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." 

At this point Jude gives three very harsh examples of destruction. He explains that in each case God showed no mercy.

In the first example Jude explained how the Lord saved His people out of Egypt. I think of God parting the Red Sea and how their enemy was just so confident that they would be able to go through but the water overcame them and death happened almost immediately to the Egyptians. His people saw and experienced one of the five greatest miracles of all time yet they did not believe God after this deliverance and paid a very heavy price.

The second example goes into the angels of eternity past that kept not their first estate. I struggle over this scenario because they probably did not know the difference between good and evil because there was no sin present in heaven. This was a campaign lead by Lucifer who wanted to rule heaven and got converts for his mission. The angels were probably told many times by the Triune Godhead that this was wrong. You have to admit if someone keeps saying "No" to you in a relationship the only alternative is to walk away because his or her will is rejecting the fellowship. The end result has been a living nightmare for them and they share their misery and deception with us but we choose to follow Jesus Christ. This happened before Creation but the point is God was not able to show mercy on these angels.

The third example Jude talks about Sodom and Gomorrha giving themselves over to fornication and other types of sin. Some history books found evidence that people were not allowed to feed the homeless and had to make fun of them. I don't know if this is true but once again God could not bestow mercy on them but had to judge this area of the world. The Triune Godhead does not desire to place a society under the law but Jude points out that divine judgment is inevitable. When the created creatures from God are sold over to rejecting Jesus Christ or giving themselves over to sin Jude is saying that this judgment lasts forever. I still find it amazing that many people around me think eternity is a joke. Let me quote the original text in the Bible so you can read this passage and perhaps make reference to the Scripture verses if you feel this is applicable for you in this particular study of the Bible.

(1) "JUDE, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: (2) Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. (3) Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write uno you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly content for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (4) For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungoldly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (5) I will therefore put you in remembrance, through ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. (6) And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. (7) Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." Jude 1: 1-7.

I know people get excited when they get saved through Jesus Christ but sometimes I feel the more appropriate word is possession. What people do not understand when they make fun of eternity is if you die apart from Jesus Christ and go to the horrible place you are in the "Possession" of demons. Do you think they are nice? They hate God and you because human beings are created in the image of God. They despise you, will abuse and torture you because outside of Jesus Christ they have "Possession" of you or anybody that rejects the Son of God. Before you completely give yourself over to sin, a false God or just simply don't want anything to do with Jesus Christ please consider this paragraph.

Jude is not writing to a particular person, family or church but a whole society of Christians. It would have to be comforting that Jude desired to be a faithful servant of Jesus Christ. Do we want to be a faithful servant of Jesus Christ? The Apostles were servants before they were Apostles but stayed servants through their office in this particular calling before God to people.

Christians are the called from sin to Jesus Christ. Our sanctification is our renovation from God which is a process because of His grace through Jesus Christ. The called and sanctified are preserved or kept in Jesus Christ.

Jude desires his readers to have mercy, peace and love. We can not have true peace from God unless we have mercy bestowed on us from God through His Son Jesus Christ. Love stems from Godly peace. The love of God to us and our love to Jesus Christ is part of the process but of course we can not forget our brotherly love for one another. Jude actually prays that all these good truths from God be multiplied to his readers. 

Jude desires his readers to be established in their Christian faith. Nobody is excluded from accepting Jesus Christ into their hearts unless they exclude themselves.

Abiding in Jesus Christ is great but we are always in danger of being seduced into sin. This is why we need to treat our own salvation with care and diligence. To contend earnestly for the faith is to suffer patiently with courage in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Ungodly people are sometimes enemies of the faith in Jesus Christ and peace for the church. These people tend to cause senseless debates, start questions that should never be asked and cause divisions that were never really necessary. If we desire to continue with Jesus Christ we should remember the words fidelity and godliness. To have this attitude with the Son of God is at the very least the right path to righteousness.

You have to remember that when a person publically says he or she is against Jesus Christ or does not believe in God they are obviously living without the Son of God in this world but more specifically have no regard for God in their conscience -- you do. Jude implies that the worst ungodly people are those that turn the grace of God into lasciviousness. It is when sin gets turned to the point when these transgressions take center stage and the grace of God takes a backseat to the point where Jesus Christ is nowhere to be found. The foundation of our faith is to accept and invite Jesus Christ into our lives not reject Him.

Jude says those that turn the grace of God into lasciviousness are ordained to condemnation. If we as Christians sin we have to die to our flesh and repent to God. By the way flesh does not mean our physical tabernacle but is an independent streak against God.

If you think it is easy to obey God think again because it is difficult to follow Jesus Christ. These people that came in unawares chose the easy way but will go throughout eternity the hard way. I guess they forgot to factor in that reality. When we are confronted with these people we are to contend for the faith. They try and rob the truth we try and hold fast to it because we do not shape truth, truth shapes us in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Jude in essence says talk the talk and walk the walk. Jude says I will put you in remembrance which means feed on what you do know but don't feed on what you don't know. If we read the same passage twice in the Bible we may know the knowledge but our spirit needs the process of reviewing the passage.

The unbelief of the Israelites in the miracles of their abundance should be a strong warning to us as Christians. We really need to depend on Jesus Christ all the time because the alternative is trusting in ourselves and falling into sin which is a wilderness.

The angels of eternity past rebelled against God. They refused to be servants to their Creator and became slaves to the justice of God. We should always see ourselves as servants of Jesus Christ. Jude introduced himself as a servant to the Son of God.

Sodom and Gomorrah engaged in fleshly lusts that war against the soul. God is Holy and Jude clearly says these people are suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. I would often ask myself, "Does hell serve any constructive purpose?" The answer to this question may be in Jude 1:7. Unregenerate sinners are experiencing the vengeance of God. The anger of God is being satisfied. Other than that I can not think of one constructive purpose that this horrible place serves but if you can you know more than me about this subject.

If you never accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord please repent of all your sins and invite the Son of the Living God into your life. I hope you just made that decision. Do not believe denying your flesh is easy because it is hard. This will be a struggle you will face every day but remember a true Christian wrestles with his or her sin but an unbeliever does not struggle with transgressions. Choose the narrow path in Jesus Christ because it is the correct journey as we travel through life as believers in the Lamb of God that died for our sins.

God Bless you,
Bob D.                          

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