Verse of the Day Devotion. Jude 4
“For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” – Jude 4
This particular verse is critical because we are seeing a rise in false teachings in our churches and ministries today. And because Jude wrote this, it is something we need to give some credence to. Jude was a half-brother of Jesus and brother of James, leader of the first Jerusalem church. This Jude was the son of Mary and Joseph and would have been raised as a brother to Jesus Christ. And while Jesus was teaching in the Synagogue in His hometown, those listening to Him said, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him.” Mark 6:3. In fact, His brothers did not believe He was who He declared Himself to be. “His brothers therefore said to Him, Depart from here, and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may behold Your works which You are doing. For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world. For not even His brothers were believing in Him.” John 7:3-5.
However, Jude eventually believed and became a strong teacher regarding Christ. “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Jude 3. And the areas he taught passionately about were those who proclaimed a false gospel of Jesus. In our focus verse we read, “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Jude 4. The basic idea of the Greek word for licentiousness is understood in what Mark declared in his gospel, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.” Mark 7:21-22. They did not boldly avow their heresy when they came in for they would not have been allowed to enter if they had. But they sneaked in. They climbed into the Church, professing to be preachers of the gospel when they knew all the while they intended to undermine it. Those who act this way are basest of all men. We can see here the faith Jude had developed regarding his half brother for he understood what Jesus taught and what He did not.
He then gives three examples of what he insinuates these false preachers were doing. “Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day. Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example, in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.” Jude 5-7. Each one of these examples are regarding not believing what is true.
- Having delivered them out of Egypt, the Israelites who did not believe died in the wilderness and were not allowed to enter the promised land.
- Angels who chose to give up their allegiance to God were cast out of Heaven because they did not believe God was truly God.
- The people of Sodom and Gomorrah who would indulge in gross immorality were destroyed.
What Jude means to say is that these false teachers and their followers were as unbelieving and disobedient as the Israelites in the wilderness, as rebellious against the authority of God as the fallen angels, and as impure and unholy as the Sodomites; and that consequently they must expect similar punishment. And because of this, they like Cain corrupt the beliefs of God by way of their false doctrines, and as Balaam whereby they corrupt the Word of God and change it’s meaning for their own gain.
These are harsh examples, but this shows just how God sees false Christian doctrine, and the ones who present it. We must study His word so that when we hear false doctrine we will know it is false and not accept it. And if there is a person who continually teaches falsely we will know it and reject what they are saying. We must study His word so that we will teach it correctly while rejecting what is wrong. Jude made it clear how God views false teachers and the teachings they give. We are to go out and spread the truth. Just be careful that what are spreading is the truth.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.