“Keep Yourselves In The Love Of God”— A Study Of Jude 20-23 -- By: Shawn Leach

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 24:46 (Spring 2011)
Article: “Keep Yourselves In The Love Of God”— A Study Of Jude 20-23
Author: Shawn Leach

“Keep Yourselves
In The Love Of God”—
A Study Of Jude 20-23

Shawn Leach


Minneola Community Church

Minneola, Kansas

I. Introduction

Jude, one of the shortest letters in the NT, presents believers with a perhaps puzzling prescription for dealing with the threat of false teachers. What should we do when faced with men of influence who, as they arise within the local church body, are simply not what they appear to be? For this malady, the Lord’s half-brother, Jude, is content in offering his audience only the briefest of instructions: “keep yourselves in the love of God” (v 21), “on some have compassion” (v 22), “but others save with fear” (v 23). Yet within these simple admonitions are details which raise important questions: how do I keep myself in God’s love (v 21)? What distinction should I be making among people (v 22)? What is the fire mentioned in v 23 and how could I save anyone from it? Am I personally in danger of this same fire also? And what does Jude mean when he expects me to hate somebody’s garments (v 23)?

The purpose of this article is to examine Jude’s response to a church in turmoil. I will discuss the spiritual condition of his audience, the danger appearing within their own church, and the expected response to such danger as commanded by Jude himself. Lastly I will show how to apply this letter to our lives as well.

II. The Spiritual Condition Of Jude’s Audience

Jude provides us with numerous details in the first step to understand the spiritual condition of his original audience. As with all letters of the NT, this element is quite important to determine, for if Jude imagines his audience as being unregenerate, then he will naturally include instructions explaining how to receive eternal life.1 If, however, his audience is perceived to be in possession of eternal life already, then Jude’s purpose for writing will be something altogether different.

First, we see that his letter is addressed to “those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ” (v 1). While the general designation “called” (kleitos) could be used simply for service (e.g., Rom 1:1), the designation “sanctified by God the Father” removes the possibility that anyone other than regenerated believers are in view here. This triad (called, sanctified, and preserved) alone brings sufficient evidence to conclude that Jude considered his audience as believers already.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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