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When Jude wrote to the saints, he made mention that his intent was to write to them concerning “the common salvation.” (Jude 3) He found however, that there was a matter more urgent with which he had to deal. He instead wrote, urging the brethren to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3)
Clearly Jude considered the “faith which was once delivered unto the saints” to be under threat. The words “earnestly contend”, according to the well-used, Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, come from a Greek word which “signifies to contend about a thing as a combatant”. In other words, Jude is telling his audience to combat, fight for the faith, as originally delivered and received. The word “earnestly” adds emphasis to the fight effort. The Amplified version says, “fight strenuously”. Jude was putting the saint in combat mode. There was nothing casual about his call. The implication is that except you fight for it, you may lose it.
But just how could this threat have come about? “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 4)
HOW TO LEAD AND WHEN TO FOLLOW
Leadership is about vision. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…”
Vision is about direction and destiny. Leaders sell their visions to those who wish to follow them. Followers are those who have bought into the vision as espoused by the leader. The exception are those persons who live under dictatorships and are without a choice.
The Lord Jesus was a leader. He boldly told men, “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19) He told them what the outcome would be if they would follow His Vision – “I will make you fishers of men”. Inherent in that promise, is that they too would be leading others. He would make them leaders.
The Lord taught and prepared His disciples over 3 and a half years for the leadership roles they were to fill after His departure. He taught by words and by His example. He also drew reference to the leadership of men to which they were exposed, even in showing what they should avoid. In one such example, the Lord referred to the leadership of the Pharisees. “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” (Matthew 15:14)
While there is truth to what is often said that “all sin is sin”, there are those that seem to be more grievous and devastating in their effects than others. Betrayal must be ranked high among the most grievous of evils, if only for the pain that it leaves in its wake. That, doubtless makes it one of the chief weapons of Satan as he sets up humans to hurt each other. More so, as we would note as we examine the matter of betrayal, by its very nature it has to be carried out by someone close and trusted which is exactly why it causes such pain. It is often accompanied by shock and surprise.
Rather than look for a dictionary and an intellectual definition of betrayal, we would examine its characteristics and nature which, hopefully, would allow self-examination and introspection, in the process so as to ensure it is recognised and rejected by those who would wish not to fall into the category of traitors.
Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ, has for over 2000 years stood as the symbol of betrayal. An examination of the traits, thinking and behaviour of Judas would serve as enlightening in forming a concept of this sin.
UNDERSTANDING THE NEW CREATION
The Lord Jesus in John 13:34, gave to His disciples “a new commandment”. “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” The new commandment was that His followers love one another in the manner that He loved them. It meant that the Lord used His manner of loving His disciples as an example that they should follow, in loving one another. In other words, we are to love as the Lord loves.
When the Lord Jesus walked on the earth, He was approached by a lawyer, who asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” (Mathew 23:36)
The Lord answered him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (vs 37-40)
So that even under the Law, God commanded that men love God as well as one another. In the case of loving their fellow men, the measure was according to how they loved themselves. In this new commandment, the measure is as Christ loved.