May 22, 2008

My Summary Argument for the Book of Jude

The message of Jude is that contending for the faith means recognizing and rejecting false teachings and false teachers until they are judged at the coming of the Lord.

The practical foundation for contending is the positional foundation of being called, beloved, and kept (1) and the divine provision of mercy, peace, and love (2). It is from this “common salvation” that the exhortation to contend earnestly for the faith against those who would ultimately deny Jesus Himself proceeds (3–4). Furthermore, in the introductory section (1–4), three themes are introduced that dominate the remainder of the epistle. First, he introduces the idea of contending for the faith (i.e. resisting and rejecting false teachers and teachings). Second, Jude introduces the false teachers/teachings. Third, Jude introduces the idea of judgment (“condemnation”) of the false teachers.

In the main body of the epistle, Jude reminds his readers that resistance and rejection of false teachers/teachings is wholly appropriate given God’s past, present, and future rejection and condemnation of false teachers. In the past God dealt with the disobedient Israelites, wayward angels, and the immoral people of Sodom and Gomorrah (5–7). In the present, the false teachers stand condemned before God as they revisit the sins of the past (8–13). For such men, judgment is inevitable and certain (14–16). Thus, false teachers have nothing to offer other than certain and severe judgment.

In the conclusion of the epistle, Jude reminds his readers that contending for the faith and resisting false teachers requires both awareness of the threat (17–18), diligence in maintaining a healthy spiritual life (19–21), and a willingness to help others (22–23). Jude closes his epistle with a word of affirmation and encouragement (24–25) that echoes vv. 1–2 (note the idea of kept/keep) which is so important to remember when contending for the faith.

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