None of Jesus’ biological brothers labelled themselves as such – probably out of a sense of humility and perhaps a lingering shame for having rejected him for longer than his other disciples. Jude calls himself a brother of James, but a ‘servant’ of Jesus Christ. It is also possible that he realised that biological relationships count for little in the grand scheme of things – that one becomes a brother of Christ by a completely different method. That ‘method’ includes having been called (v1), being loved in God the Father, and being kept for Jesus Christ.
Jude would have preferred to write his own version of ‘Romans’ – glorying in the truth of the gospel and the salvation that we have received – but his wishes are overtaken by an urgent need to counter the heresies of a group of spiritual fraudsters who are propagating ‘Do as you please’ dressed up as ‘Freedom in Christ’. In their eyes, you could do anything you wanted – except submit to Christ.
The Writer gives several illustrations of people losing the blessings they had inherited, as a result of their rebellion. Ultimately, this rebellion would cost them eternal punishment. These heretics are prime present-day examples of Old Testament rebellion: they teach with selfish motives, they praise themselves, bring division to God’s Church and follow only their own instincts, rather than the Holy Spirit.
Jude encourages us to “…build ourselves up in our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit”; this could refer to believers praying in tongues, since this builds up the person: “Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves…” (1 Corinthians 14:4). Since the Apostle Paul had an incredible amount of faith, enabling him to do amazing miracles, and since he prayed in tongues more than anyone else (1 Corinthians 14:18), there must be a significant connection between the two activities. In doing this, we help to ”keep ourselves in God’s love”. We also need to show mercy to those of weaker faith than us and help to rescue those who are heading for judgment by God.
Jude ends by praising the Lord God who “…is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy…” (v24). Once we belong to the Lord, he keeps us safe and will never let us be lost again. This verse echoes the great lines of Romans 8:38-39, where “…neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation (even us!) will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Jude finally gets to glory in his gospel!
To the only God our Saviour, be glory, majesty, power, and authority!