Advent: Day 7

Daily Office Lections: Amos 5:18-27; Jude 17-25; Matthew 22:15-22

20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. 24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

If you've done the reading the past two days, then you've read an entire book of the Bible --- well done. Although Jude is one of the shortest books in the Bible (only 25 verses) it is a very challenging read. And not only because it's theologically rich, but more because of its prophetic, straightforwardness. To follow Jesus (or not to follow him) is a serious thing. The stakes are high.

However, we don't do it on our own. First, we are to build ourselves up in the "most holy faith" (v.20). We don't have to construct the Christian Faith from the ground up (thanks be to God!), instead we continue in what has been handed down to us from Christ and the Apostles, that Faith delivered once for all to the saints.

Also, we are to continue "praying in the Holy Spirit" (v.20). The Holy Spirit who indwells us enables us to live the Christian life, and by walking in the Spirit, primarily through prayer, we are transformed into the likeness of Christ.

We are to "keep [ourselves] in the love of God" (v.21) by the following the great two commandments. And love for God and others increases as we fix the eyes of our souls upon the Crucified and Risen King Jesus.

We are to show mercy, bringing those along, even those who have doubts. We love our neighbor as ourselves by leading them to Jesus. We also love God by hating the things that he hates and separating ourselves from all manner of worldliness out of holy fear.

And, finally, as we endure and persevere in following Jesus, no doubt stumbling along the way, we remember that He is for us, and that He is the one who is able to keep us from falling and to present us blameless at the Last Day. Amen.