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Summary: Author

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Jude

Author

The author is Jude, the brother of James and half brother of Jesus. It is interesting that he does not say anything about his earthly relationship to Jesus just the spiritual one, a servant.

Occasion

He wanted to write a doctrinal treatise on the faith but felt compelled to write to address false teachers that have penetrated the community and teaching heresy. He got wind of their presence and felt compelled, because of his love for them, to write them to contend for the faith. He describes the false teachers as turning the grace of God into licentiousness, which is lacking moral restraint or or ignoring standard, especially sexually. The false teachers are described as enemies, ungodly, perverting grace, arrogant and ignorant, hypocrites and deceivers, wanton sinners, grumblers, fault finders, causing division, and do not have the spirit.

Recipients

Thee is some debate whether the audience are Gentile or Jewish Christians. There are arguments for both.

Themes

Words – kept (1,6,13,21,24); love; ungodly; mercy

Trinity (1,2,20)

1-4 Intro

Identity of author

The letter starts out identifying Jude as the author. Jude is a servant of JC and the brother of James and thus half brother of Jesus. Jude describes himself as a servant. The writers of the NT frequently identify themselves this way. It implies servitude but not in the negative way we do. Most of the common people were slaves at this period and indentured themselves to masters to support themselves. It was usually a close and familial relationship. The writers of the NT were gladly slaves and willingly and total devotion to the master.

Terminology describing our relationship with God: familial; demographical; friendship. How does one reconcile John 15:15 with bond servant.

Address

The letter identifies FOC three ways: they are called; beloved in God the Father; and kept for or by JC. To be called is an act of God toward us; always with a purpose that is accomplished. People are called to be saints, called to holiness, called to be apostles; to belong to Christ. God is the decisive factor in his calling us (Rom 1:1, 6-7; Rom 8:28-30; 1 Cor 1-2, 24; Rev 17:14). This adjective is modified by two adjectival participles, the called are described as beloved by God the Father and kept for or by JC.

Beloved in God the Father.

They are loved in God the Father. In God is a designation find like in Christ, it is a position that we stand as believers. Only the ones who are called experience his particular love as a Father. The love of God flows from God because Gods is love. IT is not simply that God loves because is love itself. Love is not just one of his attributes; it is his nature. Two things thing’s about Gods love. First it is uninfluenced. Gods love is free and uncaused. There is nothing that you do to make God love you or look upon you with more favor than the next person. On the contrary there is everything in us that would naturally cause him to detest us. He free loves us because it is his nature and it naturally flows toward us. This is contrary to human love. Second is is sovereign. He is not obligated to love us but does so our of his own freedom. He is not influenced or forced to love. Third it is infinite. It has not bounds nor limits.

Gods love is both universal and particular. That is he loves all humanity but not all humanity is loved the same way. This is a Fathers’ love as a father loves a son. God, who is love, has wrapped his love around those who are called and made himself irresistibly known. To be loved by God is to experience his favor, his blessing, his approval, his care, and his protection.

Kept for or by JC.

The preposition can be translated wither way. If we are kept by JC, JC is the one exerting his keeping power; if we are kept for JC, it is the Father who is exerting his keeping power (v.24). He is talking about persevering in the faith (Rom 8:28-30). God’s action is the decisive factor in our perseverance (v. 24); our action is dependent (20). God exerting his power toward us is the decisive factoring our persevering; our trusting him is a dependent factor in our perseverance. He is exerting his power decisively to keep us; we are exerting dependent power. Both are essential and necessary and understanding both keeps us from passive fatalism (Phil 2:12-13). In a letter about false teachers and apostatizing, he wants to assure them that it is God who keeps. He opens and closes with Gods keeping power. But that does not create a deterministic or fatalistic view. If God is the decisive keeper of my soul for eternal life (verses 1, 24), then I don't need to 'keep myself in the love of God'" (verse 20). That would be like saying, since God is the decisive giver of life, then I don't need to breathe. No. Breathing is the means that God uses to sustain life. So the command to breathe is the command to fall in with the purposes and patterns of God to give and sustain life. It still have the responsibility to keep ourselves in the love of God. God's "keeping" inspires and sustains our "keeping." His keeping is decisive and our keeping is dependent on his. Ie Phil 2:12-13.

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