9 November 2007Jude 5-21
"But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life." (v.20-21)
The letter of Jude does not make very easy reading! At its heart
is the writer's concern to ensure that his reader does not fall
into any of the errors, both theological and moral, which he sees
taking place in some of the churches of his day.
There are two difficulties that we face today in understanding very precisely what is being said. One is that the theological and moral errors against which he contends are never described in any detail so that we cannot be sure what they were. It would certainly not be reasonable for anyone to try to draw parallels with issues in the contemporary Church.
The other is that some of the writer's examples, both from the Hebrew bible and from Jewish legends, are rather obscure to us and we cannot grasp the point they are intended to make as readily as the first readers would have done.
All that said, we can ponder on the central point of the letter, which is that if we are Christians, we need to avoid theological and moral error. The best way of doing this, Jude thinks, is to ensure that what you believe and do is true to the origins of your faith.
Jude stresses the need for believers to work at the faith they have - to pray and to consciously place themselves in the presence of God. Those who do this can look forward to the eternal life that Jesus has won for them.
What would you say is the essential core of your faith?
How does a person of faith remain true to the essential core of that faith whilst being open to contemporary insights and knowledge?
Is it possible for a Christian ever to be sure that what he/she believes and does is what God wants?