BuiLd yourself on your most holy faith
Build yourselves in your most holy faith: 1:20.
Jude exhorts believers to keep themselves in the love of God by growing in the most holy faith. Here Jude is not referring to our personal faith in Christ for salvation but about the body of truth. It is the most holy faith upon which the church is founded (Ephesians 2:20). This is a reference to the doctrines of apostles and prophets (Act 2:42). Doctrine is the basis for Christian behavior and spiritual health. We must grow in the grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Salvation is a gift from God but spiritual growth is not We are saved by grace through faith in Christ (Eph 2:8, 9). Faith comes as a result of hearing the word of God (Rom 10:17). It is the once for all given faith (3, 20; 2 Tim 3:17; 1 Tim 6:11). Through Scripture, God reveals His mind. Also He reveals His Son through whom we are reconciled to God. In the high priestly prayer, Jesus prayed “Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). Truth is nonnegotiable. Paul warned that in the last days many will turn away from the truth (2 Tim 3:3, 4). There is great danger in distorting God’s Word to satisfy the itching ears of listeners. The prosperity gospel is a distortion of truth. Christians must be diligent in rightly interpreting the word of God to grow spiritually (2 Tim 2:15). The believers who are growing in the faith cannot be easily deceived by false teachers. God’s Word should not be perverted for selfish gain. The obedience of the Word of God is the mark of discipleship. Jesus said "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free".
There are different degrees of faith.
Is our faith is in Christ and in His Word?
Faith is the confidence that God will fulfill what He has promised. Faith treats the future as present (Heb 11:8). There is an objective faith and subjective faith. The Christians are not saved by the objective faith in Christ. Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith (Titus 2:13; Heb 7:25; Heb 12:1). Subjective faith is based on our feelings and emotions. It keeps changing. Only Christ is trust worthy. Assurance of salvation is the result of growing in the faith. If salvation rests on work, assurance could become nothing but presumption. The assurance of salvation prevents us from drifting (Rom 8:37-39). We must grow in the faith so that we may stand against the onslaught of devil (Ephesians 6:10, 11). The study of the Word of God is essential to grow in the knowledge of Christ (1 Pet 2:2). It is the source of truth and it should be personalized (John 17:17). It is the source joy (John 15:11; 13:17). Happy are those who hear and obey the Word of God. The Word of God is also the source of victory (Psalms 119:11). It is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). The Word of God is powerful and sharper than two edged sword (Heb 4:12). The Word of God is the GPS that gives us direction and keeps us on course (Psalms 119:105). So we must believe it, love it and obey it. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom 10:17).
Pray in the Holy Spirit: 20.
Secondly the believers are exhorted to keep themselves in the love of God by praying in the Spirit. Prayer is our life line. Prayer is the declaration that we are not self sufficient and God is all sufficient. We are commanded to pray in the Holy Spirit. It simply means our prayer should be directed and controlled by the Holy Spirit. "Prayer is not for our will to be done in heaven but God’s will to be done in our lives. It is not persuading God to move things on our way. Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance but laying hold of His willingness". Prayer is not vain repetition but the intelligent expression of our heart. Prayer is not to impress or inform our needs to God. God knows our needs and His ears are opened to our prayers (Psalms 34:15). Our prayer should include adoration to God, confession of our sins, thanksgiving for all God’s blessings and request of our needs. Someone has said "Everybody prays and there is no atheist in the foxhole". Our prayer should not be irregular and aimless. Prayers are offered to God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Prayer meetings are the most neglected and least attended church service. A praying church is a dynamic church.
How to Pray?
We are commanded to pray in the name of Jesus Christ (John 14:14). Our prayer should be in agreement with the will and purposes of God. The ultimate goal of our prayer should be God's glory and our blessings (John 14:13). The Holy Spirit helps us in our prayers (Rom 8:26). We should pray with passion and in faith (Col 4:12; James 5:17). There is power in prayer when we pray in faith in the promises of God (James 4:3). Prayer changes things, most of all changes us. All prayer will be answered but not according to our expectation. It could be yes, sometimes no and sometimes wait. When God says no, it is always for our best interest. There is no promise in the Bible that God will heal all the sick when we pray. Paul prayed for Timothy and Trophimus but they were not healed (2 Cor 12:9; 1 Tim 5:23; 2 Tim 4:20). That does not mean we should not pray for the sick. We must cast all our cares upon God for His ears are open to our cry (Psalm 34:15). We must pray with passion and in faith ( Col 4:12; Heb 5:7). Many people are confused about Isaiah 53:5 when it comes to praying for the sick. Is there not healing in the atoning death of God? The answer is absolutely yes. The ultimate result of atonement is the restoration of our bodies. This will take place at the return of Christ. We have been redeemed from the judgement of sin and now being redeemed from the power of sin. But our body is not redeemed from corruption yet. At Christ's return we receive an glorified body. Meanwhile we must pray for the sick and submit to the will of God. Jesus prayed “Not my will but your will be done”. Believers should pray diligently, consistently, expectantly and humbly. God reveals His will to those who are willing to obey Him (John 7:17). God reveals his will through the scriptures, by the prompting of His Spirit and by over-ruling our circumstances (Psalms 119:105; Rom 8:14; Rev 3:8). We are commanded to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).