On Second Thought…

The Epistle Which Jude Wanted To Write – Part 1

When Jude sat down to write his epistle, his heart was evidently overflowing with a burning desire to tell his audience of “the common salvation” (in JNDs New Translation, “our common salvation”), but which is literally “the salvation which we share.” It could be called “the salvation in which we fellowship” for the original word translated “common” is really the root of the word which, with its cognates, is translated “communion, communication, fellowship, partaking, partner,” and in Titus 1:4 by the word “common” in speaking of the saving faith which all believers share. To Jude, the salvation we share was so thrilling, that his tongue became the pen of a ready writer (Ps 45:1). He was like Elihu whose spirit within him constrained him and whose “belly was as wine which has no vent” (Job 32:18-19). Jude had his blank parchment before him. His writing instrument was in his hand. Across the top of the page he wrote the title, The Salvation which We Share.

But Jude was led otherwise. He was an inspired writer and as such was “borne along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:21). Did he himself realize the need for the change? Was he like the sons of Issachar who “were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do?” (1Chron 12:32). He was sensitive to the leading of the Spirit of God and left the topic of the salvation in which we fellowship, and wrote instead exhorting the believers that they “should earnestly contend for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.” But did you ever wonder what Jude would have written if he had written what was first upon his heart? We know only his title, “The Salvation Which We Share.” But it has been correctly observed that if Jude had followed his original path, his epistle would have resembled First Peter. Because he didnt, his epistle actually resembles Second Peter. So perhaps we could entitle First Peter, “The Salvation Which We Share,” and study it to see what Jude would have written.

What does Peter say concerning this great salvation? First he said that it was prophesied (1:10), preached (1:12), prefigured (1:19), and provided (1:20-21). Then Peter goes on to show that this great salvation produces inward and outward changes in its recipient. Are you ready to study the epistle together to see what some of these changes are?

Salvation Brings an Appetite for the Word of God

Peter told his readers how they had been “born again … by the Word of God” (1:23). In the second chapter, which we could entitle, “Because You Have Been Born Again,” he encourages them “as newborn babes to earnestly desire the sincere milk of the Word that ye may grow thereby” (2:2). He had evidently observed the physical appetite of newborn babes and so drew a parallel to the hunger of spiritual children. An absence of appetite is not a sign of life. Peter himself, in this epistle, displayed a great love for the Scriptures as witnessed by his many quotations. It seems that he had just laid down his scrolls of the Old Testament, having fed his soul on Exodus, the Psalms, and the prophecy of Isaiah, when he began to write his first letter. How is your appetite today? Is it increasing?

Salvation Brings an Attitude of Worship

“Ye also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices … ” (2:5). Peter would have been familiar with the priesthood ordained by God in the previous covenant but here is a priesthood in which every believer is a participant and in which every believer has the right and responsibility to be offering up, not the physical sacrifices of the Levitical economy, but “the sacrifice of praise to God continually, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name” (Heb 13:15). This priesthood may be constantly exercised but will be shown most fully when, in a local church without any constraints by the traditions and structures imposed by men, believers gather together and collectively worship the Lord. The Father is seeking worship, the occupation of the heart with Him. He is not seeking ritual but private and public praise (John 4:24).

To be continued