Make no mistake, there are wars going on across the globe, but that has always been the case and will remain to be so until Jesus returns. But as concerning as physical wars are, the greater wars are the ones of a spiritual nature. The churches of Christ are under assault from many foes from within and without. Recently I enlisted myself onto Facebook. It has been both enjoyable and a source of sadness. Sure, it is great to be reconnected with friends I have long cherished. But that joy seems to be evaporating in more in more cases as I have learned several have forsaken the faith. The faithful need to stand strong and tall! By standing firm, we will be able to hopefully save those who have lost their way. This is one of the messages of Jude – “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” (Jude 20-23, NKJV).
The epistle of Jude is one of the more contested books among those of the New Testament. By contested, the reference is to whether or not it belongs in the Bible. The study of the arguments opposed to and in favor of its inclusion are interesting reading. It is clear that while a few may not be as confident about Jude as, say, the Gospel of John, the resistance is rather minor. Jude is an invigorating book. Indeed, Johnson’s subtitle “A Call to Arms” is right on the mark!
Recently I completed a study of the Epistle of Jude for the adult Bible class. I had actually taught on the book a few years ago, but had increased my library by this point so I decided to study the additional accumulated materials. As I was nearing the close of my study, brother Johnson’s work was just being released. In fact, I obtained my copy and met the author at the Gospel Advocate Appreciation Luncheon at the Freed-Hardeman Lectureship. The week provided me the opportunity to do some night-time reading. I was able to read the book quickly due to being familiar with the subject matter, the fine organization of the work, and my abiding interest in the subject.
One of my favorite pages in the book is the Thirteen Steps to Spiritual Victory. “To know victory, I must:
- Be willing to take a stand.
- Adapt my plans to fulfill greater needs.
- Never use grace as an excuse for disobedience.
- Learn from history.
- Fill my heart with holy aspirations.
- Choose my path carefully.
- Make pleasing God my highest aim.
- Be content without becoming complacent.
- Never underestimate the enemy.
- Prepare daily for Jesus’ return.
- Not be easily disheartened.
- Accept personal responsibility for my spiritual growth.
- Trust God to sustain me through trying times.” (Page 125)
Originally printed West Virginia Christian, Vol. 16, No. 7, July 2009, p. 8. Reprinted by permission.