“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forevermore. Amen.”
The last two verses are some of my favorite verses in all the Scriptures. It is a prayer of praise, a doxology of giving honor to our Lord Jesus Christ.
The book of Jude is predominately warning the church at that time about false teachers that were teaching false doctrines, primarily around the gospel. He is warning them on the character of these false teachers and how to identify them; not only by their false doctrine but by their false lies that is incongruous with the teachings of Christ and His apostles.
He says other apostles warned you, they foretold, in verse 17, 18, “In the last time there will be scoffers following their own ungodly passions.” That is very close to that warning in 2 Peter, “Knowing this, first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own simple desires.” There are similar warnings in 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and other places in 2 Peter. This gives me pause to think, “Do we take that seriously today?” “Do we believe we’re immune?” And the verse, “Therefore let anyone who thinks they stand take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man,” 1 Corinthians 10:12, 13. In that context he is warning about the sin of idolatry. Also, something we often think about in our modern day religion or faith that we may believe we are immune. But we are not.
One of the preventative measures that Jude gives to us is here in verse 20. The preventative measures around making sure we are clearly protected against false teaching, from believing false doctrine and drifting into false ideas. It’s not like falling off a cliff, it happens little by little, time by time. Two things he gives in verse 20, “But you, Beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith; the mutual and self-edification; using the word of God to build ourselves up.” Edification, being able to use the truth to reinforce our faith.
The second one is praying in the Holy Spirit. He has this prepositional phrase, praying in the Holy Spirit. It gave me pause to think about how often do we pray? We are given this instruction and the pattern prayer, “Lead us not into temptation.” Here is a clear application that we would pray that we would not follow or believe or begin to believe or begin to imbibe false teaching. Whether it’s a false idea of the gospel; a false idea of righteousness; a false idea of what does a disciple look like; a false idea about the church; a false idea about any doctrine that we are clearly taught in the Scriptures. Their world is full of what we would call obviously unbelieving people that are teaching erroneous doctrine. But there is also a more subtle temptation on doctrines that are not so obvious to us that we may have somehow fallen into or begun to believe or begun to give credibility to which are clearly against God’s Word or God’s revealed truth.
My encouragement to you and to myself is as we strive to build one another up and edify one another with the truth that we would also together in concert, like Jude instructs us to, be praying in the Holy Spirit that the Lord would help us to have wisdom, discernment, strengthen our faith, and keep us clear-eyed, focusing on Christ and the truth that He taught us. That we would be more sensitive to identifying error and clinging to the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, both His gospel and all that He taught.
That’s my encouragement to you from this little passage in Jude 20.