Jude 1:20-23 (NIV) – “But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”
The protestant Bible has 66 books. The book of Jude has one chapter which has a total of 25 verses.
The writer starts off by stating a confident Hope. My understanding of the purpose of this Epistle (letter/book) was a way of warning other believers of the false prophets coming into the church body.
You could focus on verses three and four. Another part of his purpose was predictions that are mentioned in verses 17 and 18.
I’m just giving general points to the verses prior to our opening Scripture verses. As I mentioned there’s only 25 verses but well worth our study.
I don’t think it’s by accident or by chance this Epistle of encouragement and instruction is just before the book of Revelation.
I’m curious if you personally have any type of study library at home to supplement your Bible study There’s many types and sizes of commentaries. I have several, one set that contains only two books in the set divided by Old Testament/New Testament, I have one set with 60 small books divided by each book of the Bible. Several are convenient Compact Bible commentaries. Be advised there is as many versions of commentaries as there is Bible translations.
For todays article my focus is on Jude 1:23-24.
“Be merciful to those who doubt.”
For me personally, I think I understand this from the viewpoint that I wasn’t raised in the church. Most of the Christians I had any experience with were those called backsliders or fallen or jail house Christians.
Being merciful to those who doubt was merely a reflection of my own previous attitude and reaction to the Gospel message - doubtful and skeptical – “snatch others from the fire and save them”.
Allow me to share a few verses of reference in case you want to search the phrase out:
Mark 9:45 - Fire not Quenched
Matthew 5:22 - Danger of the fire of hell
Luke 16:24 – Agony in this fire
Matthew 25:41 – Into the eternal fire
No, I’m not using fear tactics. For me it’s about the urgency of the message.
In the Old Testament book of Ezekiel there is a wealth of understanding to be gained from this prophet. There are a couple of key things I’d like to point out. Chapter two is titled “Ezekiel’s Call”. Allow me to focus on verses four through five: “The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the lord says,’ And whether they listen or fail to listen.”
If you were to take this verse as instruction, now walk it over to Ezekiel 33 which is titled, “Ezekiel a Watchman”. For me personally, the twenty verses convey the Christian responsibility and urgency of the message of the Gospel.
A passage that not only highlights this urgency and responsibility, but drives it home comes from the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy 30:19-20:
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.”
I am currently under orders to help in the fires in the Anchorage/Wasilla area. The chaos, devastation, loss and heartbreak that I have witnessed in many previous emergencies will be present and awaiting my arrival.
There is an urgency in our mission and our message.
“Be merciful to those who doubt, snatch others from the fire, save them.”
God bless and comfort the “MANY” during this time.