S (Scripture): Jude 1:3 Dear friends, I wanted very much to write to you concerning the salvation we share. Instead, I must write to urge you to fight for the faith delivered once and for all to God’s holy people. 4 Godless people have slipped in among you. They turn the grace of our God into unrestrained immorality and deny our only master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Judgment was passed against them a long time ago…
7 Sodom and Gomorrah and neighboring towns practiced immoral sexual relations and pursued other sexual urges. By undergoing the punishment of eternal fire, they serve as a warning.
8 Yet, even knowing this, these dreamers in the same way pollute themselves, reject authority, and slander the angels.
O (Observation): Jude, a self-proclaimed slave to Christ, writes to fellow followers of Jesus. He writes about cheap grace. Jude wants his fellow believers not to fall into the trap of taking their salvation for granted by abusing the grace given to them. He felt it necessary to name some particular sins, such as rape and sexual abuse (as he references Sodom and Gomorrah). Some of his fellow believers think that because they have grace, that they can exert power over others, and still lean on grace for salvation.
Jude sees grace as something to be embraced and not taken for granted. Grace is something that changes us, not just something that gives us freedom to sin on purpose or without worry
A (Application): We are really nice in the south. We don’t like to name others’ faults. It’s not polite. Jude must not be from be south : )
Our nice-ness has a way of covering up the fact that we sometimes take grace for granted. Like we can be rude and get away with that, because no one will confront us…because everyone wants to be nice to each other.
So maybe we need Jude and others like Jude. Maybe we need to be reminded that grace changes us!
The danger can be that we take Jude’s warning as a personal attack. I would hope that we could distance ourselves from the attack response, and rather enter a time of reflection and communal discernment. Maybe go to someone you trust, someone who will speak the truth to you, even if it’s “not nice.”
We need challenge in our lives to be reminded that God’s grace and Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection, actually matter and make a difference for us. That our lives do not need situations where we have to feel like we have to show power over others or dismiss the work of the angels around us.
Let God’s grace stand on its own. Let us be changed by God’s grace.
(Keep in mind that Jude is writing to fellow believers, so his words here are geared towards challenging fellow believers, and not just random people who are not Christ-followers. Being nice is part of living out the Gospel, but being nice also means helping folks to live into the grace they’ve been given.)
P (Prayer): God of grace, pour your heart into ours, that we might be made new, daily. Amen.