Text: Jude; Job 33-34
Jude is a frisky bit of text, written to strengthen believers in the face of false teachers who invaded the early church. And, they are still around today. In verses 22-23, we find important encouragement about how we ought to relate to people who do not believe:
And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
Three simple instructions are here, urging us to:
- Motivated by mercy, work to convince people who doubt the truth about Jesus (the word “to have mercy” here also means “to convince”).
- Speak with clarity about the consequences of sin – fiery punishment (Jude v.7 speaks of Sodom and Gomorrah).
- Be careful (fearful) when hanging out with sinful people – their sins may be tempting to us as well.
At the core of this is a heart of mercy – of concern for the lost people out there. This is a challenge to us all. As we are so richly blessed in the fellowship of believers, it is easy to settle into the “holy huddle” – and fall away from the demanding work of rescue. Many of us indeed have a habit of praying for the lost by name… neighbors, family members, old friends. To that we must add the next step – to engage them personally, to spend time with them, to show our love and to do as this verse tells us.
in Him, Mike