A second title worth exploring is the ascription of deity to Jesus in verse 25. The passage “begins, “to the only God,” echoing the distinctive Jewish confession passed down through the centuries.” Deuteronomy 6:4 declares, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” This central doctrine of the Old Testament is foundational to monotheism. There is only one God. And yet, Jude is asserting that the activities of God in the Old Testament were performed by Jesus (5-11). Is Jesus the same as the God of Israel or different? Much ink has been spilled which seeks to tie the following phrase, our Savior, to the only God and not to the Jesus Christ our Lord which follows. And while it is important to pay attention to the grammar of things like this, all of the rhetoric seems to miss the point of Jude’s letter. Aside from one mention of God the Father (1) the rest of the letter is about Jesus Christ and His work. Thus, the introduction of ‘only God’ in verse 24, followed by ‘our Savior, through Jesus Christ’ seems to be a way that Jude is both affirming the oneness of God and at the same time declaring the divinity of Jesus. This is seen by the only other usage of μονός / only occurring with reference to Jesus Christ as the ‘only Master and Lord.’Lenski correctly identifies the core of the argument: “In the absolute sense there is and can be no other. “Savior” is applied equally to the Father and to the Son.” And yet, Jesus isn’t directly identified as the ‘Son’ or the ‘Son of God’. This is a notable omission in the letter. But even with such an omission, Jude has presented a trinitarian theology that focusses upon the 2ndperson of the Godhead.
The First Triad of Names for Jesus in Jude
The Second Triad of Names for Jesus in Jude
My next post will focus on Saving, Preserving and Judging Work of Jesus in Jude.
Peter H. Davids, The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude, Logos Bible Electronic Ed., The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 2006), 111.
John Peter Lange, A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Jude(Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 33. Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 546. Davids, The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude, 112.
R.C.H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Epistles of St. Peter, St. John and St. Jude(Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1966), 650.
Warfield, The Lord of Glory, 270.
See Verse 1 for reference to God the Father, verse 18 & 20 for reference to the Holy Spirit, and the rest of the letter for references to the Second person, Jesus Christ, the Son.