After 23 years as a Navy SEAL, Clint Emerson wrote the book, 100 Deadly Skills, a survival guide for “eluding pursuers, evading capture, and surviving any dangerous situation.” Our reading from Jude offers a similar survival guide on how Christians today might remain faithful in the midst of dangerous teaching and surrounding wickedness.
First, we must remember that danger is neither new nor surprising. The apostles of Christ foretold that “there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires” (v. 18). Second, we should wait for Christ “to bring you to eternal life” (v. 21). Our hope is in the One who loves us and offers grace and mercy. As we wait, Scripture encourages us to remain in God’s love by “building yourselves up” in the faith and “praying in the Holy Spirit” (v. 20). Christians must persist in prayer and encourage the faith in one another.
But Christian community must not simply turn inward, rejecting any who struggle with the faith. We must extend mercy to those in the community “who doubt” (v. 22). Likewise, seeing others entrapped by false teaching or sin, we must “save [them] by snatching them from the fire.” As Jude advises, we must show “mercy mixed with fear” (v. 23). Because false teaching is dangerous, we must have caution, but for the same reason we must attempt to call others away from their peril.
Above all, Scripture reminds us that remaining firm in the faith is not something we do in our own strength. There is One “who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (v. 24). To Him belongs all praise and glory, for He is our true survival guide.