17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. 18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them. 20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. 22 And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.—Jude 17-23 (NLT)
We live in the times Jude is describing in these verses. Everyday, we read more and more articles and hear more comments about people who either disrespect Christianity or refuse to believe in God. They are becoming much more militant in their actions each day, demanding more and more rights but at the same time wanting to limit the rights of others. They use all manner of deception and false claims that others are mistreating them. We must stand firm in our beliefs and refuse to compromise the truth that is laid out in the Scriptures. God has not changed His mind about what He knows to be sin. After all, does the Creator not know what actions will harm the creatures He so lovingly created? Which of us can say to the Creator, “hey, you made a mistake”? After all God is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient. We must encourage new believers to stand firm and grow in the faith. We do this with love and mercy, just as God has shown love and mercy to us. We “snatch others from the flames of judgment” by witnessing to them about Jesus. We must do this also with great love and mercy, not judging them for their sins, but showing them a different way of life. We must love the sinner and hate the sin just as God does. As we do this, we must be sure not to allow the sins to contaminate our lives.
****Bob Dylan circa 1964
9 But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the Lord.”–Jonah 2:9 (NASB)
1 Then you will say on that day, “I will give thanks to You, O Lord; for although You were angry with me, your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. 2 “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation.” — Isaiah 12:1-2 (NASB)
Living a Holy life is impossible on a human level. Just as the people in the Old Testament could not fulfill every point of the law, we cannot live a sinless life. Jesus was and is the only perfect man. There will be times that we fail (and sometimes we will fail miserably) but Jesus has already paid the price for our forgiveness. So, if you have sinned (intentionally or unintentionally), you are already forgiven. Do we need to confess those sins? Yes, forgiveness is free, but you have to ask for it. When Jesus was hanging on the cross and He said, “It is finished”. All of His redemptive work for all times was complete. Jesus is not going to die on the cross again. So, if satan is beating you up over a mistake you made, quote him a Word of Scripture and/or sing Him a good old hymn. Just tell him, “God is my salvation, He is my strength and my song. The point is this, we cannot live perfect lives, but God forgives and restores. Don’t let satan trick you into thinking that now you are useless to God. Nothing could be further from the truth. God still has a plan and a purpose for each of us. God sees each of us as a finished project while we can only see the work in progress. Just remember, it is impossible to surprise God. Before He saved us, He already knew the mistakes we would make, but He saved us anyway. So rejoice and sing praises to Him because He is always faithful.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.–Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
— Prov 19:21 (NIV)
8 The Lord will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.–Psalm 138:8 (NLT)
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.–Ephesians 4:10 (RSV)
Do you ever have those days when you feel like you have never accomplished anything significant in your life? Most of us have had days when we wondered why we were even here on earth now. But God had a plan for us before the earth was created and He still has a plan for us today. God has never made a mistake and it wasn’t a mistake when He chose us. Even if we mess up over and over, as long as we sincerely repent, it is God that devised the plan and it is God that will carry out the plan. So, wherever we are right now, either God led us here or He allowed the circumstances that brought us here. So, look up, focus on Jesus and expect God to do something wonderful in our lives today. He knows when a hair falls from our heads, so you can be sure He is interested in everything we do. So, let’s take His outstretched hand and walk with Him today.