James, Peter, John, and Jude write letters to encourage fellow believers
JAMES and Jude were half brothers of Jesus. Peter and John were among Jesus’ 12 apostles. Those four men wrote a total of seven letters that are found in the Christian Greek Scriptures. Each of the letters bears the name of its writer. The inspired admonition found in these letters was intended to help Christians maintain integrity to Jehovah and keep God’s Kingdom in view.
Manifest faith. Merely professing to have faith is not enough. True faith leads to action. “Indeed,” writes James, “faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26) Acting in faith when facing trials builds endurance. To succeed, a Christian needs to ask God for wisdom, convinced that God will give it to him. Endurance leads to God’s approval. (James 1:2-6, 12) If in faith a worshipper maintains integrity, Jehovah God will respond. “Draw close to God,” James says, “and he will draw close to you.”
A Christian’s faith must be strong enough to help him resist temptations and immoral influences. A prevailing bad moral environment compelled Jude to urge his fellow believers to “put up a hard fight for the faith.”
Maintain clean conduct. Jehovah expects his worshippers to be holy, that is, clean in all respects. Peter writes: “Become holy yourselves in all your conduct, because it is written: ‘You must be holy, because I [Jehovah] am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:15, 16) Christians have an example worth imitating. “Christ suffered for you,” says Peter, “leaving you a model for you to follow his steps closely.” (1 Peter 2:21) Although Christians may suffer because they hold to God’s standards, they preserve “a good conscience.” (1 Peter 3:16, 17) Peter urges Christians to abound in holy conduct and deeds that reflect godly devotion while awaiting God’s day of judgment and the promised new world in which “righteousness is to dwell.”
“Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.”
Demonstrate love. “God is love,” writes John. The apostle points out that God demonstrated his great love by sending forth Jesus as a “sacrifice for our sins.” How should Christians respond? John explains: “Beloved ones, if this is how God loved us, then we are ourselves under obligation to love one another.” (1 John 4:8-11) One way to show such love is by being hospitable to fellow believers.
How, though, can worshippers of Jehovah demonstrate their love for him? John answers: “This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3; 2 John 6) Those who thus obey God are assured that they will continue to be loved by God “with everlasting life in view.”