Jude urges God’s people to defend the faith, warning of the stealth of errorists, and of how down the centuries they invent doctrines and attack the authority of Scripture. He also reveals their motives and points to how the battle must be fought.
This remarkable and somewhat unusual letter in the New Testament is an epistle that is always needed by the people of God. It is by Jude (not the apostle but the brother of James, half-brother of the Lord Jesus Christ); we know that he was converted after the resurrection of Christ.
There is no mention in this book of the fall of Jerusalem, which leads many people to think that it was written before AD 70, but others feel it is later than that; probably between AD 80 and 85. This date is likely because Jude speaks of the ‘faith once delivered’. It would seem that the era of inspired prophets and apostles was at a close and the Scriptures were largely intact, almost complete, and he could speak of the faith, the whole body of truth, once delivered and sealed and settled.
This letter primarily concerns the error and the failure of the people of God to defend the truth. It is about warfare, the Christian warfare, the defence of the faith.
There is in the Christian life a personal battle, a battle for holiness – and there is another aspect of the personal battle dealing with the temptations and doubts and assaults of Satan to individual souls.
Then there is the grand battle for souls itself: soul-winning and the reaching out to the lost – all these are parts of the Christian warfare.
But here is another aspect: the battle to defend the truth, because it will always be under attack, and that is what Jude focusses on in this epistle.