Reading the Word
Jude 1–4 (ESV)
1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: 2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Understanding the Word
Jude addresses an issue among a group of believers where grace was being perverted. They were using grace as an excuse to indulge in sinful passions and please their own desires. In doing so, Jude warns that they were denying Jesus Christ.
Applying the Word
The gospel message is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has offered himself as a sacrifice for sinners that they might be free from their bondage to sin. Some would have this to mean that since our sins (past, present, and future) have been dealt with at the cross, then we can do whatever we want. We are free from condemnation. This is not what Scripture tells us.
Jesus died to set us free from bondage to sin. He did not free us to continue to serve sin. The grace we have received is a grace that leads us to God. It brings forgiveness and new life to the believer. The desire of the believer is to serve Christ in everything we do. We no longer live for ourselves, but for the one who saved us through his death and resurrection.
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