What is faith, and faith in what?
We are told to “contend for the faith” in this passage, so what does that exhortation mean,
how do we do it and what are we to have faith in? Firstly, what faith is not. So many believe that we are to have faith for faith’s sake and that is enough. But that is not the case. Faith is not some exercise that if we practice enough, everything will just go our way as if God is just some kind of “force” that if we have enough faith, things improve. He is not some kind of Genie that we can summon up when things don’t go our way so that he would magically fix our problems. Nor is God a spare tire who will automatically reverse our screw ups at the push of a button. There is a lot of bad teaching regarding faith and unfortunately some of that has misled believers to experience disappointments in God when He doesn’t come through as is advertised or expected. Here Jude uses the Old Testament stories to remind us how God worked through history, so that we can understand his character today in our situations.
The Sin and Doom of Godless Men
Jude 3-16Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. 5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. 8 In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. 9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them. 11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. 14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our trademark question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
I AM the God who will come again to judge the evil ones of this world just as I have in the past. Beware. I have paid the price for your sin and set you free from its controlling influence. I have given you mercy, grace and the choice to accept it. This world is full of temptations and trials; therefore you must choose to hang on to your faith through them all.
I AM the God who keeps my Word. All along I have told the inhabitants of this world that I would punish the unrighteous for their deeds. I have recorded these punishments for a warning to you. The fire and brimstone which rained on Sodom is a foretaste of what you will experience in hell should you refuse my salvation. Over and over you can read of my judgments on evil people of this world. Why do you not believe me? Now is the accepted time for you to believe and avoid my judgment. As I have proven faithful to my word in the past, trust my word for the future. Do not try my patience. It is my mercy to you that leads you to repentance should you so respond.
I AM the God of Faith. I will honor your faith. Depend upon my grace to save you which can change you from within. Cling to that faith that I am in control of your circumstances regardless of the trials and catastrophes you are experiencing in your life and I will reward you for it in the next life. Defend, strengthen, hold dear, foster, and contend for your faith in me from the false teachers and worldly influence so it is not damaged. Just as I came to the world once as promised as savior, I will come again as judge. Are you ready?
What is faith?
Faith is taking God at his Word and depending upon it. Faith is a gift from God entrusted to us. He generates faith in us and he expects us to nurture it with exercise to make it grow in us. Faith is dependence, reliance and confidence on the character and promises of God for every aspect of our lives like a child who trusts his loving parent. He expects us to rely to the point that it is a sin to live without doing so. Faith is another description of the confidence generated by our relationship to Him as our Creator, Sustainer, Provider, Protector, Savior, and King. It is our knowing that He knows everything that is happening to you, that He controls all circumstances, that He knows what is best for the ultimate glorification of your soul, that He loves you more than anyone, and that He has plans for your life if you would allow him. When you live to protect your faith in God and your relationship with Him from the onslaught of the world’s influences, you will avoid many of the pitfalls and future judgment of those mentioned in the rest of this passage. Consequently, Satan’s plan of attack will be to get you to replace your faith with a love for things and the conveniences that this world has to offer. Satan will try to replace God’s wisdom with a worldly wisdom so that you then become your own god and thus you will live to please yourself to your own peril.
Thankfulness fosters faith
Here is an assignment; read Romans 1:18 through the end of the chapter and make a list of the steps to depravity from easiest 1 to the most degraded 7 starting with the easiest first found in vs 21 “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him.” Then you will see how easily Satan can remove God from our minds and replace our faith with our own thoughts. Remember that Paul is writing to Christians in Rome who should know this. Thankfulness and living for God’s glory then are the best ways to maintain your faith and avoid the steps to depravity.
Hell on Earth
In vs 7 we see proof that the God of Love and salvation which we are so quick to embrace,
is also revealed in this verse as the God of Righteous indignation and judgment against sexual perversion (homosexuality see Genesis 19: 4,5) and all manner of sin. Read verse 7 again. It shows that they experienced the pouring out of hell fire on them while they were alive on earth; they experienced a literal hell on earth. (Pictured are actual photographs of sulfur balls dug out of the stone near the Dead Sea in Israel with explanation in the more reading section below. Picture credit is Ron Wyatt museum). But that is not all, God also made the ground swallowed up the rebellion of Korah, God also destroyed the world with a flood in Noah’s day, and He sent the angel of death to visit the idolatrous Egyptians. Do not think that God is limited by his attribute of love so as not to send anyone to hell. He is both 100% love and 100% pure Holiness, and he demonstrated it when He sent his own son to experience hell for us so that we can avoid such a place if we take him at his word and believe. If you do not respond to his love, forgiveness and grace in this life, you will experience his Holy indignation and Judgment later. “Behold now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.”
More to come,
More reading: “Brimstone” The Tangible Evidence of Hellfire
When Ron Wyatt found these sites during the 1980’s, he knew they were the lost cities. But there had to be conclusive evidence to convince others. The Bible states “…the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire form the LORD out of heaven.” (Gen 19:24). Throughout the sites Ron identified, he found the remnants of that “rain.” Balls of almost pure sulphur, not in a crystalline form, as would be expected if they had formed naturally but in the form of pressed-powder. This is the Biblical brimstone. These ‘death balls’ are embedded throughout the ashes, like berries in a muffin,. Surrounding each one is a shell of vitrified ash. It appears that as these burning balls of brimstone fell from the sky with the “fire from the Lord”, everything was consumed. And as it burned, after a while, molten material surrounding the sulfur cut it off from the flame, preserving it within the ashes.
Chemical analysis of the brimstone shows it to be a mixture which would generate extremely high temperatures at a rapid but steady burn rate. X-ray fluorescence analysis on a sample revealed the composition to be 98.4% sulphur, combined with 0.22% magnesium. The results are clearly seen at the sites – everything in the cities has been totally incinerated, reduced to nothing but stark, sterile ashes. Similar balls of sulphur have been found at four sites and although numerous geologists have been consulted, no other examples of similar naturally occurring sulphur balls are found anywhere on earth that even remotely resembles the form found at these sites.
Some speculate that the cities could have been destroyed by volcanism. But there is a vast difference between the sites of Sodom and Gomorrah and any other ancient sited destroyed by volcanic eruptions. For example, in Pompeii, the city destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, the ash smothered everything and buried the city. In recent years, the buildings have been dug out from under that ash and emerged still as they once were – made of stone. There are even paintings still to be seen on some of the walls. But THESE ashen cities are totally destroyed. Nothing remains except the “shadows” or shapes of what were once city walls, stone buildings, sphinx-shaped statues, and temples. The organized pattern of streets is still evident and can be followed.
There is no example in the world of any ‘natural’ phenomena that displays even remotely the same evidences as found at these sites. They are, quite simply, unique. The Biblical account matches the evidence found perfectly, and the details of that story, 3,900 years old, can be verified today.