Thursday, 6 August 2020
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, Jude -20
In verse 17, Jude set a contrast to the people he was referring to by saying, “But you, beloved.” He now does this again. He just further described the same depraved people in verses 18 and 19. To again contrast his reader with them, he says, “But you, beloved.”
He is speaking to any and all who are willing to read and apply his words. In the previous verse, referring to the mockers, he said that they are “sensual persons, who cause divisions.” In contrast to that, he says to his readers, “building yourselves up.” Instead of dividing, there should be a united effort to build. When something is built, a cohesive unit is the anticipated result. Therefore, “building yourselves up” is expected to produce such a cohesive unit. Each person builds himself up and together each person becomes an effective part of the whole.
Jude then says that this act of building up is “on your most holy faith.” The “faith” here can be referring to either the faith that establishes a person in Christ (e.g. you are saved by grace through faith), or it can be proper observance in the doctrine of faith as followers of Christ (e.g. you are to walk properly in the faith, holding to sound doctrine).
If the former, it would align with the words of 2 Peter 1:5-9 –
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”
If the latter, it would then align with conduct within the faith as outlined by Paul in Ephesians 4:11-16 –
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
Both refer to actions that build up. The first is personal and inward faith, building up the individual. The second is a unifying and interconnected faith that builds up the body. Either way, Jude finishes his thought with, “praying in the Holy Spirit.” This is set in contrast to those in the previous verse who are “not having the Spirit.”
As noted, then, that was probably not referring to the Holy Spirit, but to someone being wholly unspiritual, but who is rather sensual. This can, and often does, describe Christians who are living in the flesh. Therefore, Jude is saying, “instead of living in the flesh, you are encouraged to be praying in the Holy Spirit.”
If one is praying in the Holy Spirit, he will have his mind directed to that which is holy, godly, and proper. When not praying in the Holy Spirit, the mind gets distracted from those things and begins to move to that which is worldly, ungodly, and sensual. This is the battle believers must be engaged in at all times because there are forces set in opposition to properly directed faith which will constantly come against us as we live out our lives.
Life application: If the “most holy faith” is referring to the truth of Jesus Christ as is established by the apostles and as is contained in His word, rather than the act of faith which establishes the believer, we must remember that nothing can be added to it without corrupting the message given. The word is our manual, and the Spirit is the One to guide us into a right understanding and right application of it.
In order to understand and fellowship in this faith, we don’t need a certain secret knowledge, nor do we need a specific religion (such as Catholicism, Adventism, etc). What we need is to maintain our doctrine. This comes through study, meditation on our studies, and praying in the Holy Spirit. Praying in the Holy Spirit then is not an emotional event meant to raise our heart levels, improve our appreciation of music, or sweep us into an ecstatic state. Rather, it is an act of our will to be combined with the will of God – both in knowledge and in purpose.
Unfortunately, in today’s world, the concept of living in the Spirit and praying in the Spirit has degraded into mere emotional states and misusing or total neglect of Scripture. It is often expressed this way by church leaders so that they may gain personally. Teaching doctrine correctly is hard work, but it leads to mature Christians. Making stuff up is easy and it leads to easily manipulated sheeple.
Prayers and requests for immediate blessings of healing, prosperity, and comfort fill our churches, but a desire to know and adhere to God’s word is almost entirely lacking in many denominations and churches. Let us turn our hearts from the superficial and emotional to a personal and intimate knowledge of God’s will for our lives. Let us turn our hearts to Jesus and His will for us as is revealed in His word.
Lord, it is true that far too often we hear people claim prosperity, abundance, and contentment when they don’t even have a superficial knowledge of Your word. It is heartbreaking that this is so. We ask that You help lead us to effective teachers and right instructors of the truth of the Bible. This we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.