When I was younger, in my teens and early twenties, when I would buy a book I would skip the forward and introduction and go straight to the meat of the book. Until one day, my lovely wife, asked me “why do you do that?” I told her “I bought the book for what’s in the chapters not the introduction.” So that day we sat and read the forward and introduction of the book and I was shocked, there was so much good information and material in there that I regretted not reading introductions sooner.
Sometimes the way we treat the greetings sections in the epistles, is the way I treated introductions and forwards in books, just blow right by them without giving them a second thought. Oh what a mistake we make when we do this, especially when we believe in the verbal (every word) plenary (fully authoritative) inspiration of scripture.
Take for example, the book of Jude verse 1;
“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: May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
These two verses are so rich with meaning. Jude writing to believers, let’s them know I am writing to those who are Called. Jude let’s his audience know if your a believer it is because God has called you out of the darkness into his glorious light. Called you and chosen you out of the orphanage into the family of God as His son or daughter.
Jude, also shares with his audience of believers that not only are they called they are Beloved. Jude tells us we are beloved by the Father, how did the Father show us his love? “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8) For the Father so loved He gave His only Son so that many can be called to become sons and daughters and be welcomed into the the arms of a Father who lavishes his love on those He calls. Oh what love the Father has lavished on those whom he has called.
As if that wasn’t enough, Jude continues and tells his audience that they are Kept. God calls us, loves us, and He keeps us in His family. Our salvation from beginning to end, from the moment of God’s calling to final glorification is dependent on God. Out of the Fathers great love, He calls us and keeps us.Why does God do this? For the glory of the Son, Jesus Christ.
Jude told his audience that they were called, beloved and kept, for the glory of Jesus Christ. In verse 3 we read that he was “eager to tell them more about the salvation we share”, but there were other issues pressing that needed to be addressed. But Jude told them all they needed to know, friends you are called, you are beloved and you are kept for the glory of Jesus Christ.
Now as we read it, we are Jude’s audience and he tells us, friends you are called, beloved, and kept for the glory of Jesus Christ. More to come next week as we finish this look into the greetings from Jude