Seven Admonitions For The Time Of Apostasy
By Keith L. Brooks
In Jude we have a picture of apostate Christendom, depicting conditions existing just prior to the time of our Lord’s return. There is also a brighter side to this epistle, for Jude gives us the picture of radiant sanctity on the part of those who are loyal to the faith, and seven admonitions as to the course that should be taken in the days of unbelief.
1. "Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (v. 3). By "the faith" he means the great cardinal doctrines of the Gospel. Some of these important beliefs are brought out in this very epistle, among them the trinity of the Godhead (vv. 1, 20), the Deity of Christ (v. 4), the grace of God (v. 4), security of the believer (vv. 1, 24), sanctification (v. 1), personal devil (v. 9), existence of angels (vv. 6-7), future retribution (vv. 6-7, 13), the blood atonement (v. 11), the Holy Spirit (vv. 19-20), the second coming of Christ (vv. 14-15).
This faith has been (lit.) "deposited with saints." True Christians are depositories of the Faith – not church councils, priests, popes or scholars. The safety of the Faith therefore rests not in any organizations or ecclesiastical authorities. It is primarily in the experience of individual Christians. The truth that has been incarnated is bound to win.
Let believers therefore make sure that they hold the truth experimentally and consistently. "Contending for the faith" does not mean to be contentious. The first step in "contending for the faith" and the best defense of the Gospel – is the living out of Christ’s teachings. The Faith needs not swords to fight for it, but saints to live it.
2. Remember the prophecies (vv. 17-18). "They told you there should be mockers in the last time." This is one of the surest signs of the last days. Blasphemy in the pulpit is the curse of the present hour. It does not mean the Faith has failed. It is a vindication of the Scriptures. They are being fulfilled before our eyes. Therefore our confidence in the Bible should be all the more secure. (See 2 Peter 3:3-4; 1 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:1-2; Matthew 24:11-12).
3. Build yourselves up (v. 20). Literally, "Buttress yourselves in the most holy faith." Let no means of grace be neglected. Be sure that some effort is made every day to strengthen the foundations of your faith. "Study to show thyself approved unto God" (2 Tim. 2:15). Seek clearer apprehensions of the great verities of the faith.
Do not be content with what you know today. Press on and remember that ours is "a holy faith." Its precepts are holy, its ordinances are holy, and above all, it makes the life holy.
4. Pray in the Holy Ghost (v. 20). There is no stronger fortress against the inrush of error than true prayer. Prayer in the Holy Spirit is more than ordinary prayer. Christians who are living editions of the prayers of the Holy Spirit are not easily taken in. Let us not forget that there is no better security from the inrush of error than true prayer.
Gordon Watt has said: "Real prayer is opposing a great spiritual force to the onslaught of evil and asking God to put into operation the work done by His Son on the Cross, which was not only the redemption of man but the defeat of the prince of this world."
5. Keep yourselves in the consciousness of God’s love (v. 21). The passage does not mean "Keep on loving God," but "Keep yourselves in the fact that God loves you." Our love to God is too fickle to depend upon. It is often down in the valley and full of misgivings. The more we know of the doctrines of grace, the less we will think and talk of our love and the more of His. God’s relation does not change. It is the sense of His unchanging love that has lifted hundreds out of weakness and despair when they felt that the foundations had been blasted away. Study much the love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, and in the time of mystery and apostasy you will be kept. Doubt, and your life will be in the dark.
How shall we keep the consciousness of His love? Even as the child keeps the sense of its mother’s love – by obedience. Our Lord said, "I do always those things that please Him" (John 8:29).
6. Look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (v. 21). This statement refers to the final consummation of the mercy of Christ, which will be revealed at His Second Coming. This is "our blessed hope." Looking only at the past or present is sure to lead into materialism. To be absorbed in the present world, discounting the future, is the spirit of this age.
We must have the backward look to the Cross – "Look unto Me and be ye saved" (Isa. 45:22); the upward look to the throne – "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Heb. 12:2); but without the forward look there is still danger of despondency – "Looking for that blessed hope...the appearing of...our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).
7. Save others out of the wreck (vv. 22-23). Two classes with which we must deal are described. On one class we should have great compassion, for they have been misled, and should be pitied and dealt with in tenderness. There are others whom we must deal with in fear, pulling them out of the fire and having a care lest our own lives become spotted in our contact with them.
– From Herald of Hope, Australia.