If truth is truth, then the consequences of not knowing, or rejecting, the truth are catastrophic.
The fear of the Lord is primarily the fear that He will do exactly what He says He will do. Either we intervene or we harden our consciences and ignore the plight of others.
In Jude 23, Jude had just commanded believers to “have mercy on some, who are doubting” (Jude 22) due to the influence of false teachers in the church who provoked doubt that God would send anyone to hell. This sounds like the Serpent in the beginning, saying, “You will not surely die,” even though God said they would.
Now Jude gives a present-tense command to all believers to “be continually involved in the saving of others.” Every believer is to have an evangelistic purpose to his or her daily life, because the unbeliever is already condemned and lives under the imminent threat of eternal punishment.
John wrote, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already [perfect tense: ‘has already been condemned’], because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (Jn 3:18).
In 1792, a cobbler in rural England named William Carey wrote a work titled “An Inquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathen.” Carey believed sinners everywhere have no hope of avoiding an eternal hell unless they encounter a believer during their lifetime who tells them the good news that Christ died for their sins.
This motivated him to sail to India to save the Hindus from a Christless eternity and to translate the Bible into forty languages.
Jude commands us to “snatch them out of the fire.” The verb means to “aggressively grasp something by force.” The prophet Amos wrote of Israel, “You were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze” (Amos 4:11). Their false beliefs had to be exposed and rejected for the truth of God’s word. Some will listen. Take courage.
Jesus gave us the example of being patient with people who are doubtful yet searching (Jn 4:10–26; 6:26–59); on the other hand, He frankly warned those committed to false teaching of the gravity of their lost condition (Matt 12:1–37; Jn 8:12–59). Here is a goal: share the gospel five times a week. Count them on the fingers of your hand. Be accountable to a partner.
“Merciful Father, You gave up everything to provide salvation and forgiveness for sinful human beings. Teach me the compassion and commitment to do my part in snatching others from the consequences of sin.”
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