S (Scripture): Jude 1:3 Dear friends, although I have been eager to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel compelled instead to write to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4 For certain men have secretly slipped in among you – men who long ago were marked out for the condemnation I am about to describe – ungodly men who have turned the grace of our God into a license for evil and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
O (Observation): Jude is following Peter as an overseer of various churches. He wants to write about their “common salvation,” the Gospel that joins Jew and Gentile alike, but now he must address the issue of false teachers.
Their message has been hijacked!
Has someone actually outright denied Jesus as Lord? Probably not. But that may be Jude’s interpretation of what’s happening.
A (Application): What does American Christianity look like? Does it look like the words and actions of Jesus? If not, then I’d say, “Houston, we have a problem.”
Of course Christianity in America is SO diverse, but the central point of God’s grace rings true for all. Grace saves. How and when we can receive this grace is the subject of much debate, however.
I feel like our hope in Jesus Christ has been hijacked, with all of the terrorist attacks of late – and as I write, I’m just learning about the hostage situation in Mali; some 130 held hostage.
I believe that we are called to defend the weak and helpless, support them, find them shelter. But so many are afraid.
Many Christian folks want closed borders and to live in fear. Don’t we have a better way? Yes, I love my family, and my neighbors, but I will not live in fear. Should I (or they) die at the hands of terrorists, I / we would be that much closer to meeting the Maker face to face. As such, I will not lose hope.
Should we resist evil? Yes. How? That’s the tough part. The quick answer, by Christians and non-Christians is to take up arms and return violence with violence.
Perhaps we should…but this worldly resistance we bring has its limits. Collateral damage will occur. Innocent lives will be lost during retaliatory strikes. And the ideal of terrorism will not die with terrorists. The ideal will live on.
And so will we…with hope.
Hope has been hijacked by false teachers and terrorists and television and news stories.
But every morning, as I go through these devotions, I read of a God who is doing great things, has done great things, and will do great things. I read of God’s people doing well, getting off track, being saved. Over and over again.
I live in hope. And I thank those who protect me from terror strikes and protect our country. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that our God does more for our protection and salvation …
John 11:25 – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die”
P (Prayer): Lord, keep us steadfast in our faith toward you. Amen.