Hey Jude, Don't Bring Me Down
The Book of Jude is only one chapter long. In this simple to read and understand letter we learn that even in the early days of the church, “certain ungodly men crept in unawares,” bringing their sinful ways and promoting false doctrines. Some of those men rose to prominent ranks to pervert the teaching of Jesus and lure people off the path of righteousness.
In the third verse Jude says he wrote to, “earnestly contend for the faith as it was originally delivered to the saints.”
He reminded his readers that when the Lord sent Moses to save His people from Egyptian bondage, many unbelievers crossed the Red Sea amongst them. They mingled and lived with God’s people, but not one of them made it into the Promised Land. Even the angels “who kept not their first estate” were banished from God’s presence.
Jude used the occasion of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction to illustrate that, even on this Earth, the Lord discards those who stray too far and stay too long. False teachers spin that to portray a cruel angry God arbitrarily destroying people who are born into or find themselves in a bad place.
We can’t look upon what God does and make valid comments without understanding what’s actually going on. The Bible’s is clear... if you go back to “what was originally delivered to the saints.”
When you hear the word “sin”, you probably think of lude behavior, cruelty, or culturally abhorrent activities. Those are “sins” that come out of “sin”. There are sinful actions that come out of a sinful disposition. The root of “sin” is separation from God. The Bible points out, and Jesus taught and modeled, “the Lord cannot cohabit with sin”. That would be like fire existing in purified water.
God is always described as the source of light. God does not decide to separate from you so you can go to a dark place and do something lurid. You have to decide to part from God, even momentarily, so you can go to that place out of the light and do that thing. Don’t come out of the shadows and act like God didn’t notice you turned out the light, didn’t know where you went, and doesn’t know what you did.
Every person is given a free-will and the right to choose. That means you have ultimate authority over, and responsibility for, your own destiny. God told Adam that his free-will invoked one of two choices, “Your will, or mine?”
You can be self-absorbed and self-serving, OR you can be attentive to the Master and subservient to His will for you. That’s the extent of the choice you have. Dedication gets one response. Rebellion evokes a different one. You’re not in a position to avoid your fate by spinning, ignoring, or revolting.
Be leery of friends, even ministers or church folk, who tell you to follow your heart when your heart is inclined to serve your longing over God’s leading. Jude said the way of the world; the way of the flesh; the way of the devil; is the surest way out of God’s graces. It’s not “natural” for a person to follow God’s way instead of following the course of carnal nature. Christian discipleship is actually a difficult choice.
Don’t worry about being judged for the bad things you did. Worry over the fact you turned away from God to do them. Are you choosing to do what you think is best? Or, are you listening for God's voice beyond the allure of personal gratification? Your choice determines your fate. You can alter your fate by realigning your path, but you can't spin that basic universal truth and stay on God's path when your misaligned.