Jude 1

1 Jude (probably translated this way instead of "Judas" to prevent confusion with Judas Iscariot) introduces himself as a bondservant of Christ, similar to how Paul often referred to himself (Rom 1:1). He was the brother of James (notice the similar self-description in James 1:1) and was probably a half-brother of Jesus (Mat 13:55, Mark 6:3) rather than the apostle mentioned in Luke 6:16. He does not mention his relationship with Jesus, preferring that people see his true relationship is as Christ's servant rather than having a genealogical claim. He was not superior to other people, but had to come to Christ for salvation, just like everyone else.

Jude did not address this letter to any specific group, and he apparently intended it to be a general note that would be read in several Christian congregations.

Being "called" also implies that the person had accepted the calling. That is, they believed the message of salvation and became Christians. Christ brings us to the Father, where we share His perfect love. Jude assures us that Jesus keeps (preserves) us in the face of difficulties, bad influences, and false teachings (John 10:27-29).

2 Through Christ, we receive an abundance of mercy, peace, and love. God loves us, but could only establish a relationship with us once our sins were paid for. By His mercy, He allows our sins to be paid for by Christ's death on the cross. One who has a relationship with Him is in peace, because only in this relationship can one live the life for which God designed him.

In the Church, mercy, peace, and love are multiplied as each member practices forgiveness and love for each other.

3 Jude makes it clear that he is addressing those loved by God, and by extension, the author himself. He apparently had felt compelled to write something to the saints to encourage their faith. The Holy Spirit made it clear, however, that he was to send out a warning about wrong doctrines that had sprouted in the young Church. Thus, this letter was to be one of exhortation to recognize false doctrines for what they are, "wrestle" with them, and defeat them. He wanted to encourage them to hold on to their faith in the Gospel that was handed down to them from the apostles (which is our Bible today).
4 Jude gets right to the point. Ungodly people had infiltrated the Church, and no one has noticed. The idea presented is that they had come in through a side entrance.

McGee gives an example of how this can happen. A minister (or a layman for that matter) may join a congregation claiming to be a Christian who holds to the doctrines of sound faith, but really does not. Once they are established in the congregation, they can begin to practice their own false doctrines and encourage others to join them. If the congregation is not alert or does not take immediate action, the whole organization may be deceived, and Satan will have accomplished his task of rendering that congregation ineffective.

The phrase "ordained" or "marked out" is more correctly rendered "written about." All throughout Scripture God has warned people through prophets and apostles that false teachers would try to mislead His people (Deu 13:1-3, Mat 7:15-23). Despite the warnings, unfortunately, many congregations then and now has been led astray by false teachings. It is not enough to be warned -- we must be vigilant. It is not enough to discern between what is right and wrong, we must actively get rid of what is wrong and cling to what is good.

These false teachers may claim to love God, but in reality, He has little impact on their lives. How they conduct themselves will give them away. What they encourage others to do will also give them away. They make up their own rules, rather than living by the principles that God clearly lies out in scripture. They will break laws and live sensual, worldly lives. They will deny Jesus is our Lord and Christ both in action and in word (1 John 4:1-3).

5 False teachings stem from someone's desire to do things his own way rather than be obedient to God. This is also known as apostasy, which means to remove or depart. In these instances, it refers to people turning away from God. Jude now gives six examples of apostasy -- three groups, and three individuals. In all six instances, punishment followed. We do not always see disobedience punished this severely on earth, but we can be assured that all accounts will be dealt with on Judgement Day.

The first example is of Israel. Two years after bringing them out of Egypt, God was ready for them to enter the Promised Land. Moses sent spies into the land, and most of them discouraged the people. They saw that what God promised about the land was true, but they felt that the indigenous people were so strong, that not even God could help them win it, despite what they had seen Him to do the Egyptians. Of all the 2-3 million people, only two (besides Moses) believed that God would keep His word to give them the Promised Land. The people refused to believe God, and so He punished them by forcing them to wander the desert 40 years until they died (Num 32:11-13). God kept His promise for them to their children who eventually did conquer the Promised Land.

6 Angels are spiritual beings that God created to help Him run the universe (people were specifically assigned the role of being stewards of the earth). The word "angel" literally means "messenger." This implies that their primary purpose was to carry the word of God, and, obviously, to do it. However, many of them rebelled, and Satan, their leader, desired to take over God's place. They relinquished their places of honor in the universe, and many of them are now restrained until Judgement Day (2 Pet 2:4). Others, including Satan, are allowed more freedom, and their mission is to influence people to rebel against God. They are now referred to as demons, or fallen angels. However, they will one day be captured by God and judged by Him and Christians, who will then hold a higher place than those which demons left (1 Cor 6:3).

Demons have no hope of salvation. There are at least two reasons for this (although there may be others that God has not revealed to us). People can be "born again" through the Holy Spirit, but demons can not. The fleshly body, which is deeply affected by sin, will die and be replaced. Demons have no body with which to do this. Demons may also have no ability to change their minds (i.e., repent). It is obvious that Satan will go down fighting, somehow thinking that even at the very end that he might still defeat God.

People are born separated from God, and are doomed to the same fate as the demons. However, Jesus makes it possible for us to escape that punishment by faith in Him. The point of this example is that God will punish those who persist in rebellion. The angels are more powerful than we are. Since God punishes and will punish rebellious angels, we can be certain that He will punish rebellious people (2 Pet 2:10-14+).

7 Sodom and Gomorrah were two towns in Abraham's time that were well known for their sexual immorality (Gen 18:20). Rather than honor God, they attempted to rape His angelic messengers (Gen 19:4-11). This may be the only example of people not falling down in reverence when confronted by an angel. They were so fixated on their sexual desires that they had no idea they were wrong (Gen 19:9). God was so displeased that He destroyed these cities and all those around them because only one man was found who would obey God -- and even he was reluctant (Gen 19:15-16).

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is a warning of what will happen to those who refuse to repent. Fire is used as a symbol because most of us have experienced the agony of being burned. Elsewhere we are promised that hell will be much worse. In symbols we can understand, it will be like being burned forever (Mark 9:43). Those who die separated from God will be forever cast out of His presence. Since He is the source of love and everything good, those separated from Him will not experience any good or pleasurable thing in hell. Although the world today is marred by sin, God still gives us His love and good things in the attempt to encourage them to have a good relationship with Him.

8 Many things can give evidence that one does not believe in God. Disobedience to direct commands (e.g., the Ten Commandments), self-determination (pride), and sexual immorality are listed here, but there are others. Bible-believing Christians should know better than to allow these kinds of disobedience to creep into the Church. Yet, in many churches today, the commands of God remain untaught, and those which are usually remain unenforced. Even worse, some churches have compromised their doctrines to allow those who refuse to give up their sinful ways to feel "comfortable" attending church. When people come to God, they start as worldly people, but if the Holy Spirit is indwelling them, then they will repent of their sins and strive to live as God intended people to. Those who teach conformity to the world rather than transformation in God deny both God's sovereignty and power. The examples of the past show that God destroyed or severely punished those who continued to live in sin (i.e., remain separated from God). It does no good to allow sin to run rampant in the church. It damages the Christian testimony to the world and deceives people into thinking they are in God's favor when they are really marked for destruction.
9 This verse relates a story, apparently to be understood as factual, about an argument that transpired between the archangel Michael and the ex-angel, Satan. This probably relates Deu 34:6 which indicates that no one ever found out where God buried Moses. Satan apparently used the opportunity to try to raise some doubt in Michael's mind about God. Michael, one would think, would have the right to rebuke Satan himself. However, Jude indicates that even the most powerful angel recognized God's authority to judge, and left it in His hands.

Many have cross-referenced this verse with a book called the Assumption of Moses. However, the book survives today only in a fragmentary Latin manuscript that was translated from Greek which was translated from the original Hebrew or Aramaic. The surviving text does not have the passage indicated, but ancient authors like Origen (Concerning Principalities, 3.2) also cross-referenced it this way. However, this does not preclude the idea that Jude attained the story from the original source, since both were written within the same century.

10 Unlike Michael in the given example, these false teachers show no restraint. They judge both men and angels in their limited knowledge. On Judgement Day, God will apparently give Christians the authority to judge (1 Cor 6:3), but at that time we will have all the facts and will be in such a close relationship with God that our judgements will be accurate because they will reflect His will and character, not ours.

Instead of approaching matters with prayer, scripture reading, and careful thought, they react on impulse. They do whatever feels right and do not consider the accuracy or consequences of their words and actions. Our instincts, in general, are geared toward self-preservation, not the self-sacrificing character that Christ is nurturing in us. In behaving this way they have placed themselves in God's position by doing things their own way, and they sin (separate themselves from Him). Thus, ironically, while they will rally against Satan in judgement, they are actually placing themselves in his camp.

As Christians we know that what Satan and his followers do is wrong, but we are to be discerning, not judgmental. Satan is the accuser, not us. We also know that God has pronounced judgement against Satan, so we do not need to. Instead, we are to go to sinful people and attempt to persuade them, with the help of the Spirit, to turn to God and escape certain judgement.

There are two words referring to knowledge here. The first word refers to the whole realm of knowledge. Many things we know about cannot be touched, seen, or heard. They are invisible to us. The second word refers to knowledge of physical things -- things we can know instinctively because we can find out about them through our senses. Many false teachers will reject spiritual matters all together because they cannot be proven through our senses, and they refuse to consider these things as real.

A perfect example of this is how the teachings of evolution have permeated many churches. Evolution is built on the idea that there is no spiritual world and everything we can know can be tested or surmised through experimentation. Many church leaders have accepted evolution because they feel that scientists are more knowledgeable in the science arena and must therefore be correct. The leaders are deceived because they believe the vast quantities of propaganda that the evolutionary religion publishes, but never study the facts themselves. If they did, they would find there is little substance to the evolutionary theory. Scientists hold to their many versions of evolution not because evidence points to it, but because it is a framework to explain everything in materialistic, scientific terms, which is the realm of science. Note, however, that there are many Christians who are scientists, who do not accept evolution (there are also secular scientists who admit that the theory of evolution has little merit, but they will not believe in God).

One of the conclusions of evolutionary philosophy is that humans are nothing more than a species of animal. Perhaps we are more advanced, but other than our complicated genetics, we are no different or better than the other animals around us are. The invisible things like love, consciousness, and thinking are reduced to chemical activity that just happens to go on in our brains. Morality and religious urges are interpreted in terms of preservation of society. If anything, they preach, we are simply creatures of instinct. This quickly leads to relativism. If there is nothing more than this world, then to whom might I be accountable other than myself, or whoever happens to be stronger than I am? If it is really survival of the fittest, why should I restrain myself from being selfish? If this life is all there is, then why not seeks as much pleasure as I can?

It is easy to see that such a philosophy quickly degenerates into a selfish, self-centered way of thinking which is opposite of what God wants for us. It is amazing that many people who call themselves Christians follow this way of thinking. Perhaps an explanation for this is that people can sense the truth of the Gospel, but their culture has such a powerful influence on them that they do not grasp the spiritual concepts that are taught in Scriptures. In the worse cases, the false teachers dissect the Scriptures, dismissing the spiritual and miraculous, and interpreting the rest in a manner that caters to people's natural, sinful instincts. While they might think that they are being more accurate and helping make Christianity more relevant to the world, they are actually disdaining the power of Christ and giving their followers a false sense of security while leading them into destruction.

Of course, Jude was likely referring to the Gnostic believers, but "theistic evolution" is an example of a false teaching that fits this verse very well. There is also any number of similarly harmful false teachings.

11 Jude now gives three examples of apostate men. Following from above, these men did what they thought was best rather than what God told them to do.

The story of Cain is found in Gen 4:1-17. Cain apparently knew that God required a blood sacrifice because of his sins, but he did not believe it (Heb 11:4 indicates he did not have faith), and decided to come to God his own way. Cain was a religious man, but it is a mistake to think that approaching God on our terms instead of His will be acceptable. Cain was given a second chance, but instead of following God, he murdered his brother Abel, who had pleased God.

Jude warns about such men in the early church, and it is something that still occurs today. There are a number of ways that people take commands God has given and twist them to their own way. For example, some people may feel that they have to buy their salvation while others feel there is no need to give at all. Some people claim that "all religions lead to God," but the Scriptures make it abundantly clear that this is not the case. These people fellowship and pray, but their motives and actions are displeasing to God. If someone confronts them about their wrong attitudes, these people might become irate, accuse the other of being judgmental, and closed minded, expel them from the church, or even split the church. Such false teachers have the word of God, and even preach out of it, but they fail to see the character of God. They make a god in their own image, based on their own desires, rather than recognizing that God has eternal characteristics that cannot be compromised.

Balaam's story can be found in Num 22:1-25:2 and Rev 2:14. He was a prophet of God. God would speak with him and he would see God's promises happen. When Israel was headed towards the Promised Land, one of the indigenous kings, Balak, wanted to hire Balaam to curse Israel because he was afraid of being defeated by them. Balak knew that a curse or blessing from Balaam would prove itself true. What Balak did not understand was that the blessings and curses came from God, not from Balaam's own will. Balak sought to buy a curse from Balaam, but since the messages came from God, Balaam pronounced a blessing because Israel was His chosen people. Balaam appears to have made at least three errors in his quest to gain Balak's reward. First, although God made it clear that Balak's request would not be granted, He allowed him to go to Balak. During the trip, God gave Balaam a stern warning to speak only what He told him. Second, after Balaam pronounced several blessings on Israel, according to God's word, Balak sent him away. However, Balaam later returned as an advisor to Balak against Israel. He knew that Israel could not be defeated as long as God was with them, but if they could entice Israel to sin that God's wrath would be against His people. Balak followed Balaam's advice which proved to be true. Third, Balaam did not understand that God could forgive sinful people. Once the Israelites got rid of those who sinned, God's favor again rested on Israel and they defeated Balak and killed Balaam (Josh 13:21-22). Balaam knew God, and when he turned away from Him because of greed, he tried to influence a situation by attempting to use God's righteous character against Israel. He deliberately influenced people to sin for the very purpose of bringing God's wrath on them. He became a false teacher because his desires were selfish and his actions were sinful. He left his calling as a prophet and became a mercenary against God.

In churches there can be various scenarios to which this illustration applies. It is common for conflicts to arise between people. Instead of seeking a solution, those involved in the disagreement may begin to curse one another. This borders on blasphemy, however, if the other is truly a Christian. A common curse phrase used frequently in English speaking countries is "God damn you." However, pronouncing such a curse against a Christian has no effect. If a Christian uses this phrase, he demonstrates that he has little understanding of God's redemptive plan for the world. Another scenario is a person leaving the Church to join an organization that is against Christianity. This person may advise the organization on how to entice Christians to compromise their convictions, get others to leave the Church, or blunt the Christian influence so that non-Christians will not be hindered from participating in the organization's activities. Of course, many ungodly businesses already do this without "Christian" advisors, but occasionally one hears of a case where a "Christian" renounces or compromises his faith to join one. There are also cases where clergy may preach from the pulpit that a certain organization or philosophy is "not so bad," and their practices can be tolerated and embraced. When Israel fell into this trap, they endured God's wrath as a nation until they repented. The Church on both the local and global scale may be suffering the same way.

The story of Korah's rebellion is found in Num 16:1-40. Korah was a descendant of Levi, and had a special place in serving God. However, he desired to hold a priestly office which was forbidden to him because he was not a descendant of Aaron. Korah set up two arugments against Moses. First, he said that the whole congregation of Israel was holy, implying that anyone who wanted to be a priest should be allowed to do so. Second, he accused Moses of setting himself up as a leader. Third, He accuses Moses of abusing power. Korah might be insinuating that Moses is guilty of nepotism because Aaron was his brother. Another, more obvious, accusation was that if all the rebellious people gathered together that Moses would order them all to be punished, and the rest of the Israelites would comply only because Moses had so much power. Korah had heard the voice of God and had seen the great works He did through Moses, but he did not understand that God had appointed Moses (who was humble and reluctant) and Aaron to be the leaders. He did not understand that God had the authority to say what roles and offices people should hold. While all of God's people are indeed holy, they are all gifted differently.

In the church today, there are also various applications of this. One controversy includes women's role in the Church. There is no doubt that women are important to God, spiritually equal to men, and able to do much good work in the church. However, throughout Scripture it is clear that God has appointed men to hold offices of leadership among His people, except in rare circumstances. Today, many women desire to hold offices of authority over men, and many churches accept this because it is a popular opinion in secular society. Another possible application is in how people use the gifts that God has given them. It seems that most people ignore their spiritual gifts and allow others to do the work God intended them to do. On the other side, when needs are not met, others may be put into work in ways they are not gifted. The ministry of the church body is hindered if people are not working in the capacities that God intended for them. They are still saved and holy, but God is displeased when people will not work their assigned tasks because of their lack of faith.

Each follower is accountable to God, but a leader has even more responsibility because others look to him for godly direction (James 3:1). Nevertheless, followers need to hold their leaders accountable. God has revealed Himself to each Christian, and we should use the discernment He gave us to determine whether what we are being told is correct or not. An example of this was when the Bereans placed Paul's words against the Scriptures (Acts 17:11). When they found that the Gospel was verified by God's word, they followed it.

12 Jude then uses several vivid metaphors to describe false teachers.
Hidden reefs
Underwater hazards to ships. Churches with false teachers may have no fear that they will make it safely to shore, but they do not realize that they are being captained by someone who will wreck their faith. Note that some versions translate this word as "spots."
Feeding themselves
Shepherds are supposed to care for the sheep, but false teachers only care for themselves. Many of the famous cults have leaders to encourage their followers to give up all their physical possessions, while they themselves live in luxury. Of course, spiritually, the church members are left starving. The false teachers have not fear because they usually instill fear in their followers who will not hold their leaders accountable. When the followers are ignorant of what the Bible says, then they do not know what the standards for a good leader are anyway.
Clouds without water
Prov 25:14 more clearly describes this phrase as referring to a boastful man who does not give what he promises. False teachers promise their followers that heaven is a "sure thing" if they do what the leader wants, but the followers will not enjoy the promises, nor will they enjoy the process. Like a cloud driven by winds, these people are driven by their own lustful whims. Whatever they want they take from their followers, and the followers are kept too ignorant to know the difference.
Autumn trees without fruit
In the fall one expects apples, pears, and other types of trees to be producing fruits. In a similar way, as false teachers extend their ministry for several years, it becomes obvious to those outside that their followers will never receive any benefits. These men do not produce the fruits of the Spirit because the spirit is not in them. They are not saved. They are practically at the point of suffering the "second death" of being forever separated from God and "uprooted" from the earth.
Wild waves
Waves are also driven by the wind. The picture here is one of lusts, whims, desires, and emotions all being whipped up in a frenzy. Their words and actions land on all those around them and contaminate everyone. Their actions can be destructive like waters driven by a hurricane. When the waves and the foam die down, there is nothing useful left, just an annoying film on the rubble. These false teachers may think they are doing something great, but they leave destroyed lives and bad memories once they have passed by.
Wandering stars
The term "planet" literally means "wandering star." To the human eye, planets look like stars, but careful observation over a period of time proves that they do not "keep their place" in the sky. Here, Jude is likely referencing fallen angels, since angels are often associated with stars. The idea is that false teachers have strayed from sound doctrine and from God. Their punishment will be the same as for the fallen angels. They will be cast in hell, which, when combined with other passages, is described as fiery, dark, and associated with physical and spiritual pain. What light they have to influence people will be snuffed out completely. Their will be no escape from their eternal prison.
14 Enoch, though he lived before the flood of Noah, prophesied about Jesus' return and the subsequent judgement upon men. The term "holy ones" is consistently equated with angels in similar passages (e.g., Mat 25:31-32).

Scripture does not record the prophecy of Enoch. We do know that he walked with God and pleased Him (Gen 5:18-24, Heb 11:5). It would not be surprising that Enoch was a prophet for God. The apocryphal book of Enoch also preserves this quotation, and many scholars cross-reference it this way. It appears that the book of Enoch was compiled somewhere between 200 BC and the time of Christ. Thus, it is likely that the original, inspired work was available to both Jude and the editor of Enoch, but was lost before it could be placed in the cannon of Scripture.

15 It appears there will be two stages to the final judgement. During the first stage, the righteous will be identified and rewarded. The second stage will be the conviction of the ungodly (Mat 25:31-46). The saved will be rewarded because of their faith in Christ, but the non-believers will be judged according to their words and deeds.
16 Jude now lists some other characteristics of false-teachers and apostate believers.
These are people who are discontent. However, instead of finding solutions to problems, they mutter and complain. They use gossip and other passive-aggressive techniques to spread their discontent. This is generally low-key, but is very destructive, and the situation might eventually explode, shattering the congregation and the lives of those involved.
These are highly critical people who find problems in everything. Again, they do not propose solutions, but they elevate themselves or their ideas by exaggerating the faults of others. Critical people, unlike grumblers, tend to be loud and authoritative, and can easily mislead those who do not know much about the situation themselves, especially when the matter concerns doctrine.
Apostate people will focus on their own needs. They may even use scripture to justify their desires. For instance, the Scriptures speak often about God rewarding the faithful with both material and spiritual blessings. Some have used these passages to justify their lust for money. However, they conveniently ignore all the passages concerning the dangers of greed and the difficulties the wealthy have in maintaining their faith. These people like to encourage others to follow earthly comforts rather than live the sacrificial life that Christ commands us.
Arrogant people simply feel that their ideas are best, and they are not shy about telling people about it. They will often exalt themselves based on their accomplishments. They will never admit they are wrong, and will often say anything to justify their position. They attract people merely by their firm convictions. However, since these convictions tend to be self-centered, they draw people to themselves rather than pointing others to Christ.
These people use emotional manipulation to get what they want. They boost others' self-esteem to gain favor in their site. We often think of flattery as saying something nice, though untrue, to someone. However, flattery can be completely truthful, but the motive is to take advantage of someone, not simply compliment him. Some of the doctrines of the Bible directly confront "self-esteem." For instance, the Bible is clear that all people have sinned and displeased God (Rom 3:23). A false teacher may preach about God's love for all people (which is a true teaching) but ignore the requirements of repentance from sin and belief in Christ for salvation. Most worldly people want to hear about how good they are, and false teachers leave them with the impression that they deserve God's love and the reward of heaven simply because they exist. A false teacher may say that all religions eventually point to God, and no one is ever truly bad or sinful in their inner being. This kind of flattery will draw many loyal followers, but they do not realize that they are living with philosophies that God despises.
17 False teachers do not teach the truth, and apostate followers do not seek it. However, Jude now speaks to the beloved Christians -- those who are remaining faithful to Jesus. He encourages them to remember the words of the apostles (this implies that this Jude is not the same as Jude the apostle as discussed in verse 1).
18 In general, this means he is encouraging people to understand the Gospels and letters that the apostles wrote. Specifically, Jude wants believers to remember that they had been warned ahead of time that false teachers would rise up among them (e.g., 2 Pet 3:3). Believers were warned that apostates would have the characteristics listed here. People who do not know the word of God do not know what the warning signs are. Those who read and understand the Bible can accurately distinguish between right and wrong, and can take the proper corrective steps.

It is puzzling that some "Christian" ministers who mock the Bible and its believers from the pulpit. They speak harshly against those who believe it, and accuse them of being irrational or fanatical. They feel, in their "advanced" education that they can decide for themselves which passages are true or not. They generally discard anything "miraculous" or "prophetic." They will discard any moral code that is difficult to follow or seems to "restrict" people. Basically, they are telling God He is wrong, and discarding the words on which the Christian faith is founded. That is a very dangerous position to stand in, no matter how one tries to justify it.

19 False teachers thrive on individualism. They do not feel they need the Bible or godly people to tell them what is right. In the extreme, it becomes relativism -- the belief that whatever seems right to the individual is good, even if God or others do not agree. They are more concerned about themselves than fellowship, which leads to divisions. One of the symptoms of a false teacher is that he causes divisions (Jude is speaking of people breaking away from an obedient fellowship, of course, not a reformation movement).

Their reasoning is based on the world. They compromise sound doctrine to avoid offending those outside the church (although often the world recognizes this as hypocrisy). They might use threats or psychological techniques to "force" people to join them rather than allowing the Spirit to work in them. Their focus is on what "I" or "we" can do rather than what God can do. If they recognize the Holy Spirit's work at all, they may consider Him as their puppet who will do their bidding.

20 In contrast, Christians are to focus on building unity within the body of believers. Our common focus is the one true faith in Christ Jesus. We are to ask the Holy Spirit for direction, guidance, and counsel. We are to study God's word and apply it to our lives. We must have both knowledge of God's word and a good relationship with Him if we are to be good and faithful Christians.

An unknown author has defined prayer this way: "Prayer is the Holy Spirit speaking in the believer, through Christ, to the Father."

21 We must remember at all times that God loves us, and His love is perfect. Life is distressing, but we are not to give up hope because we know that God will make all things right in the end. We are to seek His plan to be accomplished, not try to make our own way. By His mercy, in that Christ paid our penalty Himself, we are forgiven of our sins and will be raised to eternal life. It is up to Him, not us, so we must wait for Him to return and bring God's plan to completion.
22 The world expends a great deal of energy to make Christianity seem like an outdated, superstitious religion. Most scientists rally around evolution, claiming it to be the only real answer to the questions of the universe. Most philosophers insist that there are no absolutes in truth or morality. In these respects, and many others, Christianity is foreign to the worldly way of thinking. It should not be surprising, given our worldly culture, that people have doubts and questions. We must remember that most of us were that way once, too. We must be patient in dealing with the questions of seekers and new believers. They have honest questions that need answers. Faith is not blind, as some people claim. Our faith in what lies ahead and the questions we do not have answers to is founded on the evidence of God's truthfulness, what He has done in the past, and continues to do today. Christians need not be intimidated or threatened by questions. We know our salvation is secure. God only calls us to witness about those things He has revealed to us. He has given us everything we need to have a solid faith and it is with this evidence that we are to be prepared to testify (1 Pet 3:15).
23 As people tainted by sin, we are doomed to the fires of hell, were it not for the merciful grace of God. As God's messengers and coworkers, we are to reach out to lost people in the hope that they will accept God's salvation just as we have. In the process, we must be careful not to be burned with sin. Sin is repulsive to God, and it should also be abhorrent to us.
24 With the many worldly influences and conflicting views within the church, how is one to know what is true and what is false? The answer is to look to Jesus. When we trust in Him and follow His lead, He will keep us from stumbling.

The atonement provided by Jesus frees us from the penalty and guilt of sin. Sinful creatures can not stand before God, yet with Christ's atonement we can stand and dwell in the presence of God. He considers us blameless because Jesus took the blame for us. We can have exceeding joy both now and forever in the assurance that we will live in God's presence forever and share His love.

25 Christ allows us to come before the one and only God, who's power created the universe. Every creature is accountable to Him, and He will conquer the evil that is prevalent now. On Judgement Day, every creature will acknowledge Him as the rightful ruler of the universe, but is more important that we do that now and live accordingly. Christians must honor God with their words, actions, and love for others. In this way, we glorify Him and all that He has done from before creation and into eternity.