Whereas most of the epistles seem to have the greeting of grace, and peace, and sometimes Paul or Peter adds mercy to make it a threefold greeting, Jude changes the greeting in his letter to include love instead of grace.  Jude 1:2 says, “May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. Ed Pentecost observed, “The divine provisions of mercy, peace, and love included in Jude’s greeting are needed by Christians living in the licentious atmosphere of apostate teaching. God’s mercy can sustain them in times of difficulty.” Ed then uses Hebrews 4:16 as his reference. According to this passage, we can see that God’s grace is intimately associated with God’s mercy. It says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” When Jude uses mercy, he automatically implies grace. Then Ed continues his comments on verse 2 of Jude and says, “His peace can give a subtle calmness when evil abounds.” He then refers to Romans 15:13 which says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Now we’ve added “hope” to our equation. It seems that all the good things of life are commended to Christians by the writers of these letters. Finally, Ed reaches the third greeting of “love” and says, “His love can protect and assure believers in the face of peril.”[1] Even when things look bad in life we can feel that God’s love for us will carry us through any trial. So, it’s mercy, peace, love, faith, hope, joy, and the certainty of God’s grace that carry us all through the valley of the shadow of death and will present us blameless before the throne at the time of judgment. Just believing in the truth of these things can comfort the grieving heart.

In the early years of the church, there were many false teachers. They would argue against mercy, peace, and love in favor of judgment, unrest, and retaliation. Judgment in place of mercy. Unrest and stress in the place of peace. The law of lex-talionis in place of love. You get what you deserve in life. This is the call of the legalists in Jude’s day and our day as well. They want us to see ourselves as the Pharisees saw themselves. They paid the tithe of all their income. They observed every feast day and sabbath celebration. They fasted a couple of times a week and therefore their good work should foster a sense of pride and self-satisfaction. God would therefore owe them something. But as for me, it doesn’t matter how many religious things I do, I can’t escape the reality of my sinful nature. I don’t deserve anything from God. I’ve been watching the ads on TV that call for those on social security to call a particular 800 number to make sure they are getting all they deserve. Honestly, I don’t want what I deserve. Almost everything in my life is the result of mercy, grace, and love. I don’t want to pursue what I deserve.

Those that promote such ideas know nothing of God’s grace, mercy, and peace, not to mention God’s love. Their entire focus is on what we must do. Be good! Don’t think bad thoughts! Give to the poor! Go to church! Talk about God! The true focus that will bring mercy, peace, and love is Jesus. He calls us to come to Him and this life of stress and living up to the expectation of others trying harder and doing more will melt away in God’s peace. “Come to me” Jesus calls, “and I will give you rest.” Pentecost continues with some final comments on this verse, “The nature of the salutation reflects the writer’s attitude. Jude’s choice of words introduces his deep-seated compassion and heartfelt concern for his readers. He longed for them to know in the fullest measure God’s “mercy, peace, and love.” Jude overflowed with love for the believers while warning them about those who were making their way into the church to destroy it, those who knew nothing of God’s mercy, peace, or love.”

[1] Pentecost, Edward C. 1985. “Jude.” In The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, edited by J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, 2:919. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.