Jude 1.1-8 – The Faith Once Delivered to the Saints
Posted: 27 June 2012 in Jude

Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.

This passage is a reminder that the faith once delivered to the saints is not available for us to recast in order to conform it to our own ideas. God has revealed to us the way of salvation, and we cannot change it. One of the tagets St Jude appears to have in his sights is the corruption of God’s revealed will known as the gnostic heresy – the notion that our salvation comes through the acquisition of a humanly constructed wisdom (and one only available to the initiated few). In the light of what the Bible, and Christian theology otherwise has to say on the subject, it hardly needs to be said that this idea is fantestical. Men cannot achieve their own salvation. But the temptation to think that it is always there, and, reading the various things posted which get on the internet, it is pretty obvious that even Protestants too easily slip into the idea that salvation is through their own efforts.

In my opinion, the phrase “the last times” is one heard far too often on the lips of evangelicals. There seems to be an itching desire to know something that, according to the Bible, is unknown even to the Son, but only to the Father (Mark 13.32). Nevertheless, we are living in the last times in one sense. We are living at a time when God has completed his revelation to men, and we have all things necessary for salvation. Until Christ comes again, there is no new prophesy to be had, and no new revelation to be received. We are to live with the faith which was once delivered to the saints, and attend upon God’s word every day.

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