I reckon so: The apologist’s standing in Christ

The Missouri Baptist Convention has published a new resource called The Last Apologist: A Commentary on Jude for Defenders of the Christian Faith. The 275-page book is available in print and Kindle editions on Amazon, and in print from the MBC. But we also want to make each of the 16 chapters available online. This post features Chapter 3: I Reckon So: The Apologist’s Standing in Christ.

Previously: Chapter 2: Jude, Slave, Brother: The Identity of Apologists

_______________

 

To those who are the called, loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ. May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you (Jude 1b-2)

In The Outlaw Josey Wales, Clint Eastwood plays a Missouri farmer driven to revenge by the murder of his wife and son at the hands of pro-Union Jayhawkers during the Civil War. Having joined a band of pro-Confederate Bushwhackers, Wales refuses an offer of amnesty at the end of the war, only to watch as surrendering fighters are slaughtered in cold blood. He races to the scene, overpowers a Union soldier manning a Gatling gun, and turns it on the Kansas Redlegs.

Now an outlaw, Wales flees to Texas. Though preferring to travel alone, he crosses paths with a diverse cadre of companions, from a spry old Cherokee named Lone Watie, to a young Navajo woman he rescues from rape, to a crotchety Kansas grandmother whose family he frees from raiding Comancheros.

Throughout the story, Wales exhibits an uncanny ability to see the world as it is – cruel, unforgiving, yet capable of redemption – and often he acknowledges the truthful observations of others with a simple, “I reckon so.”

Dogged by Redlegs and a Union officer known as Captain Fletcher, Wales helps his companions resettle a Texas homestead while negotiating peace with their Comanche neighbors. He then helps the settlers repel a Redlegs attack, finally avenging his family’s murder by killing their leader.

Wounded, and knowing that his continued presence at the homestead only invites further attacks, he heads out on his own, but not before a final encounter with Captain Fletcher, who mercifully avoids revealing his identity to Texas Rangers by calling him “Mr. Wilson.”

“I think I’ll go down to Mexico and try to find him [Josey Wales],” says Fletcher.

“And then?” asks Wales.

“He’s got the first move. I owe him that. I think I’ll try to tell him the war is over. What do you say, Mr. Wilson?”

“I reckon so.”

Wales gingerly mounts his horse and, listing badly, rides away. Fletcher turns away, leaving viewers convinced he and the outlaw have made their peace.

Like Josey Wales, some battle-hardened Christians have learned to see the world as it is without losing sight of who they really are. This comes to light in the opening verses of Jude’s epistle. These believers are urged not to surrender to the false teachers among them, to continue the fight for sound doctrine, and to persevere to the very end.

And so, before going any further, Jude reminds these beloved apologists who they are in Christ. He tells them they are called, loved, and kept. This reality remains with them as a sovereign gift of God, despite the schemes of the evil one and the wiles of the false teachers who have set up shop in the church.

We can almost hear Jude saying, “God saves us and keeps us. Keep this in mind because, as you know, the evil one masquerades as an angel of light, and his ministers disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness. The church always has been the wheat field in which Satan sows his tares. So fight hard. Stand firm. God wins – and in the end, so do we.”

I reckon so.

Who are “the called”?

Jude addresses his readers as “the called” (Greek kletois), which conveys the idea of being personally selected or chosen. A full inquiry into the doctrine of divine election is beyond the scope of this book. There are excellent treatments on the subject that offer a balanced approach. However, we should take a few minutes to understand that Jude is writing to believers, all of whom he characterizes as “the called.”

While Christians view divine election differently, we may find common ground by acknowledging that being called is but one link in an unbroken chain of God’s work of redemption, stretching from eternity past to eternity future. The apostle Paul expresses this well in Rom. 8:29-30: “For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.”

There are at least five great stages of redemption outlined in this brief passage:

(1) Foreknowledge. The Greek term proginosko simply means “to know beforehand.” Scholars vigorously debate whether this word implies “choosing,” “foreordaining,” or “adopting” as opposed to simply foreknowing on God’s part. Early church fathers such as Origen, Chrysostom, Augustine, and Jerome interpret the term as signifying foreknowledge rather than foreordination.

Frederick Godet’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans devotes more than a page of fine print to this one word, summarizing, “Some have given to the word foreknow the meaning of elect, choose, destine beforehand…. Not only is this meaning arbitrary as being without example in the NT … but what is still more decidedly opposed to this meaning is what follows: He also did predestinate.”

 No matter how one understands the meaning of this word, it’s clear that our omniscient God always has known believers and has reckoned them elected, chosen, and adopted from an eternal perspective. This encompasses the unsearchable depths of His divine sovereignty, and the certainty of a human response in faith to the gospel message.

(2) Predestination. The Greek verb translated “predestinate” is proorizo and means “to mark off by boundaries.” In other passages it is translated “foreordain.” But in what way are foreknown believers predestined? We are predestined “to be conformed to the image of His Son.” That is, God determines to complete the good work He begins in us until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6).

Being conformed to Christ’s image does not mean we become little gods, for deity is the exclusive domain of our transcendent Creator. He does not give His glory to another (Isa. 42:8). The word “image” is eikon and speaks of a derived likeness. Just as the imprint of a U.S. president on a coin is not the actual president, believers in Jesus are not scaled-down deities.

All people bear the image of God – the Imago Dei – and as such reflect His mental, social, and moral attributes. We do not, however, possess His divine qualities such as eternality, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, and immutability. Nevertheless, God invites us to partake in the divine nature by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, who sends the Holy Spirit to defeat the sin nature in us, make us spiritually alive, take up permanent dwelling in our human spirit, and enable us to enjoy intimate fellowship with Him (John 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; 2 Peter 1:3-4).

As a result of this miraculous work of God, we may look forward to the day when Christ’s work of redemption is complete, and we stand before Him fully and finally purged of the last vestiges of our sin.

Jesus loses none of those belonging to Him – a joint effort with the Father expressed in John 6:39-40, “This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

God’s foreknowledge leads naturally into His marking out boundaries on our lives so that we may live confidently, knowing that when Jesus appears, “we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). Of further comfort is the knowledge that these boundaries not only keep us in His love; they keep out the evil one, who may never breach the walls God has built for our eternal security.

(3) Calling. The Greek verb kaleo encompasses the outward invitation of preaching and the inward drawing of the Spirit of grace. “Because not all who are invited to believe are actually justified, the ‘calling’ here cannot refer to merely a general invitation but must refer to an effective call that creates the faith necessary for justification.”

 John MacArthur writes, “Jude here is not speaking about God’s general invitation to sinners…. Rather, he is speaking of God’s special, internal call through which He awakens the human will and imparts spiritual life – enabling once-dead sinners to embrace the gospel by faith.”

God’s effectual call to salvation is well explained in Jesus’ words to His disciples in John 16:7-11, where He previews the work of the Holy Spirit in convicting the unbeliever of sin, righteousness, and judgment. The “Counselor” convinces lost people that their sin of unbelief keeps them out of the kingdom; that their human righteousness is but filthy rags in the eyes of God and is grossly insufficient to repay a sin debt owed to an eternally offended Sovereign; and that if they persist in rejecting God’s provision for sin – the finished work of Christ – they choose the same judgment that falls upon Satan, namely, eternity in outer darkness.

The same Spirit that convincingly condemns the hardened unbeliever also has the power to remove a heart of stone and impart a heart of flesh (Ezek. 36:26), resulting in regeneration, which leads to justification.

(4) Justification. The noun dikaiosis, or justification, describes the act of God declaring sinners righteous on the basis of the finished work of Christ. Believing sinners are acquitted – freed of all guilt – as their sins are transferred to the account of Christ and exchanged for Christ’s righteousness.

Justification is grounded in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. The apostle Paul puts it succinctly, “He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). Paul further writes, “So then, as through one trespass [Adam’s] there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act [Christ’s] there is life-giving justification for everyone. For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:18-19).

“Christ’s one act of righteousness (i.e., his death and resurrection, considered as one event) leads to our justification as an antidote to the one trespass of Adam that brought humankind into the bondage of sin and death.”

Justification comes only through faith, apart from human effort (Rom. 5:1; Gal. 3:24). It is a one-time, instantaneous, non-repeatable act of God, placing us in right standing before His holy bench, and ensuring that we are never subject to double jeopardy. To add works to justification, such as returning to Old Covenant practices that served as types and shadows of greater things to come, is to trample on the Son of God and regard as profane the blood of the New Covenant (Heb. 10:29).

Justification is not to be confused with sanctification, which is the work of God setting believers apart and engaging in a lifelong process by which we become more Christ-like (1 Cor. 1:18; 1 Thess. 5:23). Justification and sanctification may be distinguished but not separated; both are divine elements of God’s redemption.

(5) Glorification. The verb translated “glorified” is edoxase. All those who are justified will be glorified; that is, they will receive resurrected bodies and be fully and finally conformed to the image of Christ. In Rom. 8:29-30, Paul speaks of glorification in the past tense. “In the divine foreknowledge our glorification is already seen as an event accomplished.”

This is a marvelous revelation that places an exclamation point on God’s sovereign work of grace. What cannot be said to have a beginning, since it is eternal (God’s foreknowledge of us), climaxes at a point in time and continues on without end (God’s glorification of us).

So, when does glorification take place? At the resurrection of the just, which Jesus describes in John 5:28-29, and Paul details in 1 Corinthians 15. Specifically, the apostle tells us that our corrupted earthly bodies are raised incorruptible. Sown in dishonor, they are raised in glory. Sown in weakness, they are raised in power. Sown as natural bodies – or bodies subject to the sinful flesh – they are raised as spiritual bodies powered by the Holy Spirit.

Paul writes, “Listen! I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep [experience physical death], but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. Because this corruptible must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal must be clothed with immortality. Now when this corruptible is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Cor. 15:51-57).

Though we do not know the time of the Lord’s return for His saints, we know what is to happen: “Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:14-17).

According to Phil. 3:20-21, our citizenship is in heaven, and when the Lord Jesus returns, “He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself.”

From eternity to eternity

Foreknowledge. Predestination. Calling. Justification. Glorification. Five acts of God in redemption. These do not express the full range of God’s work in salvation. Paul could have listed regeneration, baptism by the Holy Spirit, sanctification, adoption, and others. But by placing “calling” in the middle, he grounds our salvation in time, and tethers it to the redemptive work of God stretching from eternity past to eternity future.

While salvation is of the Lord, we do well not to consider it fatalistically, sloughing off our responsibility to respond to Christ in repentance and belief. Regarding Paul’s listing of five redemptive acts of God, William Sanday and A.C. Headlam write, “There can be no question that St. Paul fully recognized the freedom of the human will. The large part which exhortation plays in his letters is conclusive proof of this. But whatever the extent of human freedom there must be behind it the Divine Sovereignty. It is the practice of St. Paul to state alternately the one and the other without attempting an exact delineation between them.”

Paul’s words in Romans 8 provide a natural link to the opening verses of Jude’s epistle. By referring to Christians as “the called,” Jude assures us of God’s election unto salvation. He also exhorts us to remember that God’s call is not merely to salvation but to bond-servanthood. Salvation is not a ticket to be obtained in life and cashed in at death, but an everlasting relationship that spurs us to walk the path of good works God, who called us, laid out for us in eternity past (Eph. 2:10).

How are Christians “loved”?

The word translated “loved” is a form of the Greek agape, which refers to the highest level of love expressed by God toward His people. It illustrates the intimate relationship between God the Father and Jude’s readers. It also shows that God has set His special love on us for salvation. God placed His love on believers in eternity past (Eph. 1:4-6), with results that continue into the present and future.

It is a costly love that spurs the Father to sacrifice His Son on a Roman cross, an audacious act of tender mercy for the good of His enemies, and in their place. The prophet Isaiah depicts it in dramatic terms 700 years in advance: “But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:5-6).

Jesus expresses His mission with divine purpose and human grit when He tells His bickering disciples, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life – a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). He understands fully the will of His Father in securing redemption for us, as well as His voluntary role as the Lamb of God. “This is why the Father loves Me,” He says, “because I am laying down My life so I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from My Father” (John 10:17-18).

The Father’s love is seen not only in the fragrant life of the Lord Jesus, but in the work of the Holy Spirit, convicting unbelievers of their sin, drawing them to saving faith, and imparting new life into their once-dead human spirits (John 3:3-8; 16:7-11; Titus 3:5-7). Even more, expressing the Father’s love, the Spirit secures and protects God’s children, ensuring them a relationship with Him that endures for time and eternity (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30; 1 Peter 1:3-5).

We did nothing to merit the Father’s love. In fact, we did everything to invite His wrath. Yet He loved us unconditionally from eternity past – a love that swept into time and space and climaxed in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and carries out into eternity future.

This type of love cannot be broken, as Paul reminds us in Rom. 8:38-39: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”

How are we “kept” by Jesus Christ?

“Kept by” comes from the Greek teteremenois. The verb tereo means “to observe, pay attention to, keep under guard, maintain.” Jesus promises to keep believers secure for all eternity (John 6:35-40; 10:27-30). This security rests in the efficacy of His sacrifice (1 Peter 3:18), the unshakeable power of the Father (1 Peter 1:5), and the sealing of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30).

As the ESV Study Bible notes, “At the outset of his letter to Christians who are threatened by false teachers, Jude reminds them that they will be kept and preserved by God’s power from falling away.”

Being kept by Jesus Christ secures the full range of His redemption. Think about that for a moment. If the finished work of Christ can be unraveled at any point, His sinless life, sacrificial and substitutionary death, burial, and physical resurrection from the dead somehow failed to accomplish the eternal plan of the triune Godhead.

If we can lose a salvation that we never earned to begin with, what does that say about our Savior? And what, exactly, do we lose? Our election? Predestination? Calling? Justification? Glorification? The apostle Paul reckons all of these as accomplished facts by referring to them in the past tense (Rom. 8:29-30).

To be sure, disobedient Christians may lose rewards at the judgment seat of Christ (Rom. 14:10-11; 1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:9-10; 1 John 2:28; Rev. 3:11-12). Meanwhile, the Lord may chasten us as disobedient children, even to the point of taking us out of this world (1 Cor. 11: 27-32; Heb. 12:3-12). But our position in Christ as justified saints ensures our place in His kingdom.

As we walk the earth, His persevering power enables us to endure hardship and navigate the wreckage of living in a sinful and fallen world. Ultimately, this guarantees our victory over Satan, sin, and death. Even when we suffer hardship or persecution for the sake of Christ, “we are more than victorious through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).

In Christ’s letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor, we see the Lord’s loving reward for those who, by His power, persevere in times of persecution. The hope of this reward links the promises of Jesus in the opening pages of Revelation to their fulfillment at His return. Note that in each of the seven letters to the churches of Asia Minor, Jesus offers a word of encouragement to the overcomer:

To Ephesus: “I will give the victor the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (Rev. 2:7b).

To Smyrna: “The victor will never be harmed by the second death” (Rev. 2:11b).

To Pergamum: “I will give the victor some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name is inscribed that no one knows except the one who receives it” (Rev. 2:17b).

To Thyatira: “The victor and the one who keeps My works to the end: I will give him authority over the nations – and he will shepherd them with an iron scepter; he will shatter them like pottery – just as I have received [this] from My Father. I will also give him the morning star” (Rev. 2:26-28).

To Sardis: “In the same way, the victor will be dressed in white clothes, and I will never erase his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels” (Rev. 3:5).

To Philadelphia: “The victor: I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God, and he will never go out again. I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God – the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God – and My new name” (Rev. 3:12).

And to Laodicea: “The victor: I will give him the right to sit with Me on my throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev. 3:21).

The comforting words of Jesus to His disciples should warm our hearts as well: “Because I live, you will live too” (John 14:19b). Our lives are bound inextricably to the life of Christ. He promises to prepare a place for us in heaven and to come for us one day (John 14:2-3). Meanwhile, He asks the Father to send the Holy Spirit as another Comforter to be with us and in us (John 14:16-17). We are assured that He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5b; Deut. 31:6), and His faithfulness continues steadfast for He remains the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8).

And one day, when He returns to earth as King of kings and Lord of lords, we return with Him in our glorified bodies and serve Him in the new heavens and the new earth – a place where there is no sanctuary because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its sanctuary; a place where there is no need of sun or moon because God’s glory illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb; and a place so thoroughly purged of sin that the Lord gently wipes away the last tears we will ever shed (Rev. 21:4, 22-23).

What’s the significance of “mercy, peace, and love”?

The phrase “mercy and peace” is a common Jewish greeting. Paul employs it in his letters to Timothy, and John includes it early in his second epistle. But Jude adds to this common greeting the word “love,” creating a three-fold blessing that occurs only here in the New Testament.

Jude has just sought to strengthen his readers by reminding them of their standing with God; they are called, loved, and kept. Now, he rounds out the greeting by listing some of the key benefits of their position in Christ, and by wishing these benefits would multiply – not just in their own hearts, but in the hearts of others as they stand firm in the faith.

Mercy (eleos) carries with it the idea of compassion, kindness, and pity. It is closely related to grace (charis) and in some respects cannot be separated from it. In terms of our salvation, it is impossible to conceive of one without the other. From God’s perspective, we might think of His mercy as preceding grace, although we know both are eternal qualities of our Sovereign Lord.

Even so, God loved the world in an extreme way; that is, He pitied us in our lost and desperate state, giving us His only begotten Son and thus shedding His grace on us (John 3:16). From a human perspective, grace comes first. The kindness of God, Paul writes, leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4). Experiencing the goodness of God in a general sense and then experiencing His grace in an effectual call, we are able to comprehend the good news of Christ’s sinless life, sacrificial death, and resurrection that paves a path of return to our offended God.

Mercy is more than God’s extension of divine patience toward sinners; it is an everyday reality in the lives of believers. We are recipients of His mercy, having been saved by it (Eph. 2:4-5; Titus 3:5-7). Even more, God’s mercies are new every morning – and as redeemed people still subject to fleshly desires, we desperately need His willingness to cut us some slack.

When we confess our sins, He remains faithful to His covenant promises and mercifully forgives us and cleanses us (1 John 1:9). When we approach His throne of grace, we receive mercy (Heb. 4:16). Paul reminds the Roman believers that God manifests the riches of His glory upon “objects of mercy that He prepared beforehand for glory” (Rom. 9:23b).

Next, there is peace (eirene). The verb form is eiro, to join. Thus, making peace is bringing together that which has been separated. Christ brought justifying peace through His shed blood, enabling sinful people to be declared in right standing before a holy God. But Jude here seems to be writing about sanctifying peace, the tranquility in which we, as redeemed people, stand. This includes knowing our sins are forgiven – that we are no longer enemies of God, under His wrath, and bound for an eternity in outer darkness.

But it’s even more. There is peace in knowing that we are His adopted children; that He walks with us through every trial; that He enables us to be ambassadors of peace in a hostile world; and that ultimately when the King returns, He will establish His peace throughout a restored creation, so that even in the animal kingdom, predator and prey lie down together like a kindle of kittens.

It is a peace that cannot be explained fully in human terms; a peace that passes all understanding. And it is a peace that abides deeply in our spirits, even when all around us is chaos. “Peace I leave with you,” Jesus tells His followers. “My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful” (John 14:27).

Last, Jude writes, there is love (agape), the divine love that God directs toward us and is meant to be shared as we partake in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). The more we become like Christ, the purer becomes our love for Him and for others.

Jude has just assured us that we are loved by God – a divine, unfathomable reality that burned deeply in the heart of God before creation, continues now, and extends into the limitless future. It is a blazing torch whose light cannot be diminished by time, and whose warmth cannot be vanquished by the icy gales of a sinful and fallen world. The agent of this love is the Holy Spirit. Paul writes in Rom. 5:5, “God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

We do well to remember that the Lord’s agape must be distinguished from brotherly love (philia), love of family (storge), and erotic passions (eros). While these have their proper places, God’s love surpasses them all and serves as the north star by which all other affections are properly aligned.

Peter seems to grasp this in a rare moment when Jesus asks three times about his love of the Lord (John 21:15-17). The first two times, Jesus uses the word agapao, asking, “do you love Me?” That is, does Peter possess the highest form of love – the love Jesus has for him? Peter responds, “Yes Lord … You know that I love You,” but both times he employs the word phileo. In other words, Peter does not confess to owning the same depth of divine love Jesus has for him.

The third time, Jesus asks, “Simon, son of John, do you love (phileo) Me?” To which Peter replies, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love (phileo) You.” The apostle who only days earlier boasts he will never deny Jesus – and then promptly does so on the night of Jesus’ arrest – now thinks more sensibly of himself and responds with sincere humility.

Finally, we should avoid the temptation to see God’s love as a mere emotional response to His fallen creatures: a Jesus who never gets angry or raises His voice; a Savior who never sends anyone to hell; a benevolent Judge who eschews guilty verdicts in favor of universal pardons. Even a casual reading of the New Testament shows that agape rests securely and undiminished in company with holiness, purity, and divine wrath.

The real Jesus of Scripture condemns scribes and Pharisees to hell (Matt. 23:15, 33); overturns the tables of money changers at the Temple (Matt. 21:12-13; John 2:13-17); speaks truth to power, thus inviting His own death (Matt. 26:62-64); and will come one day with a sword and a bloody robe to set things right (Rev. 19:11-21). Our loving Master is no Milquetoast.

The blessings of God – among them mercy, peace, and love – are unending and irrevocable. The deeper our understanding of them, the greater the sense of responsibility to walk the path of good works God laid out for us in eternity past. This includes defending the Christian faith against those who attack it from without and sully it from within. To this duty Jude now turns his attention.

Next: Chapter 4: Copycats? The Apologist’s Challenge Concerning Jude and 2 Peter 2