Beloved

 

          A distinct characteristic of Jesus’ disciples is brotherly love. It is the badge of discipleship (John 13:34-35). According to 1 Peter 1:22, brotherly love is to be sincere, fervent, and pure.

          Three times in his short epistle, Jude addresses his readers as “beloved”. Like Solomon in the book of Proverbs, Jude desires to impart wise, helpful, and relevant counsel to his readers. Therefore he writes: Beloved…contend earnestly for the faith…remember the words spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ…keep yourselves in the love of God building up on your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit (vv. 3, 17, 20-21).

          In this, Jude is hardly alone.

          Paul wrote: Beloved, do not avenge yourselves…flee from idolatry…be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit…stand fast in the Lord (Romans 12:19; 1 Corinthians 10:14, 15:58; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 4:1).

          James wrote: Beloved, do not be deceived…let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath (James 1:16, 19).

          Peter wrote: Beloved, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul…do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you…do not forget that the Lord is not slack concerning His promise…be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless…beware lest you fall from your own steadfastness” (1 Peter 2:11, 4:12; 2 Peter 3;8-9, 14, 17).

          John wrote: Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God…do not imitate what is evil, but what is good” (1 John 4:1; 3 John 11).

          Obviously, Jude’s, Paul’s, James’, and Peter’s exhortations demonstrate that genuine brotherly love entails more than warm, fuzzy feelings.

          “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God” (1 John 4:7).

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Author: jchowning

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