Saturday, December 20, 2008

Jude 17-25

Whether we are in 'the last time' now, or whether that is an age yet to come, no one knows, and it doesn't matter. Our mission is the apostolic mission. We live, as they lived, in a world where lines are continually being drawn, literally or figuratively. Here is a news flash: the lines that divide us in so many ways weren't erased after election day. Sure, we've accepted democracy's verdicts(for the most part) but I still see signs on lawns, the bumper stickers haven't been torn off cars driven by the winning side, and (in the extreme cases) people are going to court to contest election results. The president-elect has done what he said he would do--reach across the aisle--and selected a conservative evangelical to deliver the inaugural invocation. And guess what? People are angry!

Jude wants those of us who are the beloved in the Holy Spirit to reach out, too, even while remaining mindful of the line beyond which lie (in several senses) the fleshly materialist scoffers. He cites three types of people that we must be mindful of:

1. The waverers. These folks are walking in Christ, but they have a tendency to stray over the line. Have mercy on them.

2. The one-foot-in-the-fires. They have crossed the line, but are still reachable. Snatch them from the flames.

3. The almost-beyond-the-pale. They are out there, way way out there. But not utterly without hope. Even now we are to have fearful mercy on them--but ensure they leave their filthy rags behind when they cross back over.

As for the One who is able to keep us from falling--yes, he is able, and more than able, if we do our part--all glory, majesty, power, and authority, in our Saviour, Christ the Lord. Amen.

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