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Called, Loved and Kept

Jude 1-2
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, to those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. (NIV)

Jude was most probably a younger half-brother of our Lord Jesus. He identified himself as the brother of James, the eldest of Jesus’ half-brothers (Matthew 13:55-56; Galatians 1:19). After the death of his father, Joseph, James would have become the family leader. Later he became the leader of the church’s Council in Jerusalem and wrote the Epistle of James in the Bible. These half-brothers of Jesus had come a long way spiritually, because during Christ’s ministry they did not believe in Him (John 7:5). However, in this short letter, Jude described himself as a servant of Jesus, the Christ (God’s anointed One).

Jude saw the church of Jesus Christ as a family where each individual has been called to become a child of God, loved by Father God, saved and kept together by Jesus Christ. Their calling comes from the desire of the whole Godhead and is made real to each individual heart by the Holy Spirit, as people respond to the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). God’s personalised love for each of us did not start when we were born, but was in the Father’s heart before the world was created (Ephesians 1:4-6). Once in God’s family, the Lord Jesus Christ keeps us safe to the end (1 Corinthians 1:7-9). Therefore the mercy of God covers our sins by the blood of Christ, and the peace of God fills our hearts because we are loved securely for ever.

Although this is Jude’s greeting, it tells us of the rock-solid security we have in Christ. Our own successes or failures, the feelings they generate or the reactions of others, will try to persuade us that we are either great or useless. But our true value comes from the fact that God has called us because He loves us ... and therefore He will keep us safe (John 10:28-29) and will use us according to the gifts He gives to us. Even though Satan tempts us and accuses us of failing the Lord, we are not thrown out of God’s family: instead, we are kept as He trains us and disciplines us in His love to serve Him better. We need to hold onto these words: they are for us. As life gets harder, God’s love holds us even more strongly. Keep trusting and He will keep you safe until he welcomes us home (1 Peter 1:3-9).

Prayer 
Gracious God. Thank You for calling me to be part of Your family, the church. Thank You for loving me, being merciful when I have sinned, and for keeping me in Your peace. Forgive me for the times when I have rated my personal value on what I have achieved or what others say to me; and for taking the privileges of Your mercy and peace too lightly, devaluing the precious blood of Christ. Please help me to appreciate the extent of Your love for me personally, and rejoice. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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