I would title Jude, “What the Gospel Is and Is Not.” Jude is a strong drink; it's tough. It demonstrates again how important it is for us to hold on to the purity of the gospel. And so, there's this contrast in Jude between what the gospel isn't and what the gospel is, and that contrast is in content and character. And, as he begins to talk about what the gospel isn't, Jude just uses these devastating, impolite word pictures.
Here's his characterization of false teachers. They’re like hidden reefs, like shepherds who only feed themselves, like waterless clouds, like fruitless trees, like wild waves producing the foam of their own shame (I love that!), like wandering stars in the gloom of darkness! What he’s saying is, “They have nothing to offer!” A hidden reef will hurt you. If you have a shepherd who only feeds himself, you will die! Waterless clouds give no rain! Fruitless trees won't feed you! Wandering stars will get you lost in the darkness. It's a very, very powerful indictment of the danger of falsehood. The danger of falsehood is it can't offer you the grace of Jesus; it just doesn't! It's a counterfeit!
But he says that this false gospel is revealed in the character of these people. They’re grumblers, they’re malcontents, they only follow their sinful desires. They’re loudmouth boasters. They show favoritism in order to gain advantage. They’re scoffers who cause division. They’re worldly, devoid of the Spirit. You see gospel counterfeit in teaching and in life.
What the gospel is in life and faith, it's about contending for the faith, about building yourself up in the faith, about praying in the Spirit, about feeding yourselves on the love of God. It's waiting for the mercy of Jesus. It's by His grace being a tool of His grace, showing mercy on the doubters, snatching them from the fire. There's this picture of this beautiful self-controlled, perseverant, generous, merciful life that is the ultimate picture of what the gospel does for us.
But I love in this strong, strong piece of writing where he goes after these false teachers with a devastating critique of their content, a devastating critique of their character, the Judeans, with a doxology, because my hope is not in my ability to fight falsehood; my hope is only ever in my Redeemer.
Now, hear this:
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 now and forever. Amen.
Listen, I'm not kept because I contend for the faith. I’m kept by the power of my Savior! Listen, as I contend for the faith, He contends for me. He is my hope!