In life, we need to hear the negative every now and then so that we might be warned about possible dangers and how to avoid them. Jude makes it clear, he was hoping to write an positive letter, but the need of his time forced him to write a very different kind of letter. He uses all his energy to plead with readers to stick to the truth and to reject falsehood – knowing that the decision we make will be the difference between heaven and hell.
Ancient letters typically began with an identification of the sender, an identification of the recipient, and a greeting. Jude follows this convention, but expands and modifies each part. Thus, he not only identifies himself and his recipients, but he provides for each a brief description that helps us understand what this letter is about.
Most New Testament letters move into a thanksgiving and prayer after the initial salutation and greetings. But Jude skips these points, getting right to the heart of what his letter is about. In these two verses, he explains the occasion and theme of this letter.
In verses 5-10, Jude elaborates verse 4, describing and condemning the false teachers. These verses fall into three major sections, in each of which Jude cites Old Testament or Jewish traditional material and then applies it to the false teachers.
Jude is not yet finished with the false teachers. So concerned is he about their potential to harm his readers’ walk with the Lord that he is not satisfied his strong polemic against them in verses 5-10 has done the job. He thus launches on more attack against them.
Jude caps his denunciation of the false teachers with a prophecy. This in itself is nothing unusual, New Testament writers often apply ancient prophecies to their own situations. But what is unusual about this prophecy is its source…
We should not forget that Jude’s letter was not written to the false teachers; it was written to faithful Christians. These believers, faced with an onslaught of false teaching in their churches, needed reassurance and instruction. This Jude provides in his letter.
This doxology is frequently used by pastors as a liturgical form of dismissal, primarily because it is one of the longest and most beautiful doxologies in the New Testament. Jude expands the usual doxology “form”. Some of his additions may have simply been picked up from traditional phraseology, but others relate back to some important themes from the letter.