After the initial greeting (vv. 1, 2), Jude proceeds to preface the occasion of his epistle (v. 3). He first expresses his original desire to speak of their common salvation. Three things should grab our attention. First, Jude addresses his intention to those he labeled as beloved. We must not pass this off as scenery that comes with the territory, missing its significance. The term reflects the very ground of our common salvation, resting in Christ’s “new” commandment that we love one another as He has loved us (John 13:34). We are to be operating by this core principle because all believers are united in the same body under the one head, Jesus Christ.
The brotherhood of Christ has far greater implications than that of mere family. Siblings share a mutually unifying principle, the same mother, and thus belong to one family. However, as we all have seen, siblings can be divided in their interests and affections. Believers, on the other hand, have a far more intimate relationship, being members of the same body (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:4–6). Dysfunctionality in one’s family can be painful but nothing like a disruption in one’s own body (1 Corinthians 12:26; see Ephesians 5:28–30). Another consideration is that in the family, children are expected to honor parents by respect and obedience (Ephesians 6:1–4). Children do not always do that, but in the body, all members are wholly subject to the will of the head (Mark 3:35; Romans 12:2).
Second, Jude demonstrates the attitude that we are to have in pursuing care of the body. He writes, “I was very eager to write to you.” The AV has, “I gave all diligence.” This term speaks of earnestness in pursuing a common interest, of doing so sacrificially to promote the common good (2 Corinthians 12:15). This attitude implies seeking out every opportunity and all means to do whatever is good for those in the body, promoting its welfare at all costs. Peter urged the elders to exercise oversight with a “ready mind” (1 Peter 5:2), which the ESV translates as eagerly (note also 1 Corinthians 9:16, 17). The importance of this carefulness and earnestness is aggravated both by the evil of our times and the lateness of the hour (Ephesians 5:16).
Third, Jude’s heart or priority was the common salvation. So, what was this “common salvation”? It consisted of the shared experience of the one body in Christ, as previously addressed. Peter referred to it as “like precious faith” or “faith of equal standing” (2 Peter 1:1). All who are saved by Christ are united in the communion of faith, the fellowship of the saints in light (1 John 1:7). Further, Jude’s concern was for those in the same body but in a distant location, so he wrote to these about this glorious faith “once for all delivered to the saints.” A true believer cannot get enough of this wonderful news. He cannot hear enough, study enough, or converse enough about this common salvation. It captivates his attention, thrills his heart, engages his mind, and overwhelms his emotions because it is superior to everything else.