Love is the Answer
“But you, dear friends…” (Jude 20, CSB)
That’s how Jude begins the final section of his short letter.
Sometimes the most important words are the smallest and seemingly inconsequential. Imagine a scenario in which I tell my wife, “Babe, you’re beautiful, but…” I’d never say this, of course! She’d miss the fact that I called her beautiful and would only take to heart what comes after “but.” Then she’d kick my butt.
That’s the case with this first word here, “but.” “But” signifies a full-stop in Jude’s thought.
The troublemakers in the church have occupied most of Jude’s thought up until now. Now they simply disappear from his mind. Jude’s spent 19 verses condemning and warning. But ultimately, these troublemakers don’t matter. What matters is the Remnant. Now he’s got a positive message for the Remnant – the called of God, loved by God, and kept by Christ (see Jude 1).
Not only is it a full stop, it is also a change in direction. “But” is used here as a contrast. He is about to outline a way of thinking and behaving that is exactly opposite to the arrogant, flattering, self-absorbed, soulish, non-spiritual, division-creating troublemakers.
You see, we run the risk of becoming like those troublemakers ourselves if we’re not careful. It is a short step from discernment to judgment and Jesus warned us not to judge in the flesh. Their errors are plain to see, their fruitlessness and vacuous theology are evident – the errors need to be pointed out. But how? How do we oppose them without division? How do we contend without following natural, soulish instincts? How can we contend for the faith without becoming contentious?
Jude’s answer is “Love” “since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments” (2 Corinthians 10:4, CSB). Our weapons are a-political…kingdom-oriented…spiritual. We contend for the faith with love.
I’m suggesting, without sounding like a bumper sticker or something, that love is the answer…and there are two aspects to it – what love is, and what love does. I hope you’ll join us Sunday as we discuss “Love Does.”