But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our
Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers,
following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present
you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:17-25 ESV)
But what about us—the church—we who have the truth revealed to us? Are we living any differently knowing that we are living in the last days? The New Testament devotes quite a bit of time to this topic and really develops how we are to prepare for the return of Christ.
Here in Jude, there is a call to persevere to the end. And the activities, “building,” “praying,” “keep,” “waiting,” are all in the plural form. So this means the work is to be done collectively by the local church. If we are to keep from falling away or even to refrain from becoming cynical and pessimistic, we must minister to one another. We desperately need to live together in sound doctrine and the power of the Spirit, and the love of God, and wait in hope for the glorious return of our Lord and Savior. This will lead to a truly unified and pure church.
Not only this, but we look to those inside the church, and out, who are scoffers and unholy. In mercy and compassion, we are to warn them about the coming judgment announcing the good news of Christ's kingdom and love. We are also to ensure that we are not dragged down in the process … “hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”
The best news of all is that God who is at work in His beloved Church will not allow us to once and for all fall into destruction. He is keeping us and guarantees our safe passage. The Lord will complete what He has started in us and one day we will be presented to Him blameless with great joy.
We have every reason in Christ to be filled with hope and optimism—not about a great turnaround of world events, but rather God accomplishing all that He has said He would do. And this is enough to make me want to sing great doxologies of praise to my great God.
The end is near. That is obvious. So what will your response be?