Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.
The short book written by the prophet Jude – or Judas, biological brother of both Jesus and the writer of the book of James (Matthew 13:55) – is a letter which was written to no particular individual in the early church, but rather to the church as a whole. I love how the Holy Spirit inspired Jude (2 Peter 1:19-21) to refer to Christians as “to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ” (Jude 1).
While it is true that God calls all of us, do you know how He calls us? In most religious discussions in which someone brings up that they were “called” by God, they talk of that “calling” in vague, undetermined terms. Usually it is said to be a feeling, an intuition or perhaps a dream. “God called to me last night in this very intense dream I had.” “I just felt that God called me to take this job.”
Yet the Bible teaches that God calls all of us in a way completely unrelated to such notions. Paul wrote, “It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:14). Notice that Paul was writing to Christians, “brethren beloved by the Lord” whom God had “chosen from the beginning for salvation” (v. 13). It was for that purpose – “salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth” – that God had called them…how? “…through our gospel” (v. 14).
God calls all of us through His gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. He doesn’t call us through feelings, hunches or dreams. He calls us through His gospel which is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). Yet while all are called by His gospel, Christians are the only ones who heed His call by obeying that gospel. In fact, the Bible specifically teaches that all those who will end up being condemned to hell for all eternity are “those who do not know God and those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). How does one obey the gospel?
The answer is by believing it and obeying its command to be penitently baptized into Christ. Remember, the most important part of that gospel message is the good news that Jesus died for our sins on the cross, was buried in the tomb and then was resurrected by the power of God three days later (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The Bible teaches that when we believe that good news, we can obey it by dying, being buried and then being resurrected like Jesus…only in a spiritual sense.
Here’s how Paul put it: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:1-5).
In other words, we heed God’s call through the gospel message of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection by spiritually dying to our sins through repentance and baptism, being buried in baptism and rising spiritually to a new life as a saved and beloved child of God.
Have you heeded His call? Peter would tell you to “make your calling and election sure” and thus ensure that entrance into the eternal kingdom of God (2 Peter 1:10-11). Give me a call at (706) 629-8459 if you would like to study more about this. I would love to hear from you.