The book of Jude was written by the brother of James (verse 1).  In all likelihood, Jude and James were brothers of the Lord Jesus. (Read Matthew 13:55).

Jude wrote his book in a day of much apostasy, and he exhorts the believers to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Verse 3).

Let’s read a few verses from this short, but very valuable book.  Jude 20-23 says, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.”

Notice how in verses 20-21, Jude references the Holy Ghost, the Father, and the Son.  Along with that, he writes of faith, love, and hope of mercy.  The truths that guide our faith are provided for us in God’s Word so that we can learn in dependence upon the Lord and build each other up.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 instructs us to “edify one another.” 

To pray in the Holy Ghost simply means to allow Him to consistently lead us in our prayers.  We read in Romans 8:26-27, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” 

To keep ourselves in the love of God means to remain in the place of obedience to the Lord where we enjoy the blessings of the Lord, rather than disobey the Lord and receive His chastening, or discipline.  So, we see Jude is encouraging the believers to stand firm in the things of the Lord and not be hindered by those around them who did not believe the truth of God’s Word.

Next, believers are called upon to show mercy (have compassion) to those who live in doubt.  The idea here is, that the feeling to be manifested towards a certain class of people in seeking their salvation was tender affection and kindness. They were to approach them in the kindest manner, appealing to them with words of the love of the Lord.

The attitude that should be seen of the believers who are appealing to the doubters and apostates should be one that produces fear of the Lord.  The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  A godly fear is necessary to bring a person to repentance and salvation.  The unique thing is that the very one that unbelievers should fear is the One they must turn to for salvation. 

To appeal to these people who are so close to a lost eternity is like “snatching them out of the fire.” So close are they to being lost and to be cast into Hell forever, but we are exhorted to share the words of salvation with them.  To ‘hate even the garment polluted by the flesh’ shows how that even the clothes become defiled when one lives a life as a doubter or an unbeliever. We read of such things in Leviticus 15:4 which says, “Every bed, whereon he lieth that hath the issue, is unclean: and every thing, whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean.”  We also read in Leviticus 15:17, “And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even.”  Doubt tends to pollute and distract from the truth of God’s Word.  We are still living in a world of great apostasy.  May we learn to stand firm in our faith and seek the Lord’s direction and strength so that we can “have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.”  (CC)  (522.2)