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. (Jude 1:20-21)
Building, Praying, Keeping And Looking
There are simple jewels found throughout scripture that impress upon the heart the simple plan of God’s redemption. Jude writes a little over six hundred words with a message of encouragement and hope in the promises of God. He reminds the saints of the mercy and justice of God and that all those that oppose truth will be punished. The influences of a corrupt world would always seek to destroy the faith of the saints. Diligence to the faith must be necessary. Near the end of his short message, Jude outlines four pillars of the disciple’s faith.
Courage comes from building faith in the heart. Faith resulted from hearing God’s word and embedding the nuggets of the divine will in every part of life. The strength of the Christian would come from the holy faith delivered to the saints. Jude reminds his brethren of the common salvation enjoyed by those who trusted in the will of the Father. There were those in the church of Christ that came in among the brethren seeking their own sensual desires to deny the only Lord God and Jesus Christ. Building up a strong defense of faith was necessary to combat the apostates who sought to undermine the church of God. The carnality of human wisdom brings division from those who grumble, complain, and live only to satisfy their own desires by bragging about their own lusts. Building up in the most holy faith comes from daily pursual of the divine word to know how to answer and defend the teaching of God.
Knowledge must be reinforced with an abundant prayer life. Not only must the saints build themselves up in the most holy faith, but they also need to pray in the power of the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Holy Spirit is given to every person who obeys the gospel of Christ and, through the Spirit, is able to defend the gospel and attack apostasy. Prayer is pleading the promises of God. The saint who spends time building themselves in the faith will find as a natural response the need to spend time in prayer in the Holy Spirit. Prayer is the Gatorade of a body building itself to be ready to battle against the devil’s wiles. Without prayer, there will be no strength in the war against evil. Prayer is the second pillar of God’s grace that will embolden the Christian to be strong in the faith.
Building oneself up in the faith and praying in the Holy Spirit must be followed by a heart willing to serve the will of the Father. Jude writes the need to keep oneself in the love of God. There is no doubt about God’s love and abundant, eternal, and providential care. The Christian must maintain and keep himself in the love of God by showing his life as one obedient to the will of the Father. It is the individual’s choice to keep himself in Christ or reject the promises of God. Salvation is a volunteer action. Man must choose to obey God. There will never be a time God will force Himself on the heart of an individual. Remaining in God’s love is the individual’s action to follow the common salvation delivered to all men.
The final exhortation of Jude is for the Christian to look for the coming of Jesus. How often this spirit is lacking among the citizens of the eternal kingdom. Life becomes so frantic and filled with the pursuit of earthly things rather than seeing the real blessing found in what God has promised in the world to come. Looking for the mercy of Jesus Christ unto eternal life frames everything in life by a single thread. Life on earth is preparing for life in heaven. The Christian builds himself up in the most holy faith, prays without ceasing in the Holy Spirit, keeps himself in the love of God, and spends his life looking for and longing for the coming of the Son of God.
Building, praying, keeping, and looking are four things every Christian must do. When the heart turns to these four elements of Christian living, life will take on a greater meaning. Do not neglect one over the other. All are essential. Follow the four-point plan, and you will not be the same person one year from now.