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Healthy reminders

Jude 5
Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. (NIVUK)

When we are surrounded by lies, we need to be reminded of the truth.  Otherwise, we risk being pulled away from Jesus and becoming a spiritual danger to others (Acts 20:29-30).  Jude knew that his readers had believed the true apostolic gospel, but false teachers were luring some away to satisfy their own fleshly appetites (Jude 1:3-4).  So, Jude reminded them that their faith was not a nice idea to bring comfort while they pleased themselves, but a potent call to radical life-change - so that they could say ‘No’ to wickedness and ‘Yes’ to righteousness (Titus 2:11-14).  

Inevitably, the gospel creates a division between those who are content to trust in the crucified Jesus whatever the cost and those who seek to please themselves.  Jude illustrated that principle by reminding the believers of what happened when God took His people out of Egypt (Exodus 12:1-30).  After all the plagues, during which the Pharoah hardened his heart (and the Lord further hardened his heart so that he was resolute in opposing God), the Lord sent the angel of death to destroy all the firstborn in Egypt.  Those who trusted the Word of God through Moses were saved when the angel of death passed over.  God’s poignant words in Exodus 12:13 were, “ ... when I see the blood, I will pass over you”.  And so the Passover meal was instituted and 1,500 years later, Jesus applied that to His own blood (Mark 14:23-24).

But the Egyptians, who despised God’s Word, lost their first born children and animals in the plague of death (Exodus 12:29-30); and later the whole army was destroyed in the Red Sea, while God’s people trusted His Word through Moses and all survived (Exodus 14:21-31).  But, sadly, many Israelites who had started their journey in faith rebelled against the Lord in the wilderness and perished.  Their bad example is a warning to us (1 Corinthians 10:1-12).  In the same way, those who believe the gospel are born again into eternal life; but those who do not continue to trust in Christ’s shed blood will face eternal judgement (Colossians 1:22-23).

False teaching will always encourage us to feel that we can be in control, either through our own efforts or by thinking we can manipulate God into giving us what we want.  No!  True faith in Jesus is not a way to feel better, get richer or have more power.  True faith accepts that we are sinners and are saved only by God’s grace in the cross of Christ.  True faith trusts the Lord to provide for our needs as we serve Him, however impossible that may appear.  True faith does not seek our own glory but Christ’s, and as we give up our lives for His service.  Those who refuse to continue along that narrow road of faith risk losing everything (Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 12:16-21).  It is healthy to remind ourselves and others that the true gospel is both an announcement of joyous salvation for those who believe, but also a sobering prophetic warning to those who resist or distort God’s Word.

Lord of all. Thank You for making a way for me to be saved, as I put my trust in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for me. I believe that my salvation is by grace alone. But thank You for this healthy reminder that there is no other way to live and to die in Your favour; and that all other ways end in disaster. So, forgive me for the times when I have believed a different gospel – one which gives me what I want to empower and prosper me. Please help me and my spiritual leaders to continue to trust in Jesus alone; remembering that the way of the cross is so different to the world’s ambitions, which will all perish. Keep me humble, serving and trusting I pray. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams