Jude -22

Saturday, 8 August 2020

And on some have compassion, making a distinction; Jude -22

For the past two verses, Jude has focused on the individual and what he is to do for himself. Today he changes track and brings in the state of others. The Greek in this particular phrase is difficult and source texts vary in what is said. Even when the same source text is used, there are variations in how to properly translate what is given.

Young’s Literal Translation, using the same text as the NKJV, says, “…and to some be kind, judging thoroughly.”

The NIV, using a text with a variant reading says, “Be merciful to those who doubt.” This seems to make more sense as a stand-alone thought, whereas the quote from the NKJV above needs verse -23 to be understood fully. Either way, the focus is on us as believers to look to others who have doubts about the faith and deal with them compassionately.

Sticking with the text which forms the basis for the NKJV, it reads, “And on some have compassion.” This certainly does not mean to not have compassion on some. It is the obligation of believers to pray for and evangelize even the vilest of offenders (even if it is awful hard to do). What it means is that particular compassion is to be addressed towards those who are lost in bad doctrine, but who obviously want to know the truth (and similar situations). This is certain based on the next verse to come where Jude speaks of pulling them out of the fire.

We are to be attentive to the situation of people and respond accordingly. Some people love the pit of false doctrine they are in. They benefit from it, they have control of others because it, they may have fame and fortune tossed in their direction as a result of it. Jude is calling for discernment in where we focus our attention. When a person who needs specific compassion is identified, he is to be given it. In this, we are “making a distinction.”

This is comparable to the “judging thoroughly” of the YLT noted above. There is little point wasting one’s time on someone who revels in their perversion, unsound doctrine, heretical viewpoints, and so on. To call them out on it, or to even show compassion for them because of it, actually only boosts their desire to double down and promote what they teach even more. They are like the charmed snake that bites at the charmer or the dog that turns and bites the one who feeds it. Therefore, believers are to judge each situation, make a right distinction, and focus their attention on those who are reachable and who may be willing to turn to the truth. Jesus speaks of such discernment in Matthew 7:6, saying, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”

Life application: There is a giant difference between those who are belligerent and those who simply question out of real doubt. Belligerent people are looking for an argument and will often come to the table acting innocently – “I just want to know…” However, they have already made up their minds and are actually just setting a trap for those who are willing to supposedly guide them. Their innocence turns to attack after attack about the veracity of the Bible, its reliability, etc. True doubters will respond with gratitude and hopeful contemplation, but the argumentative type simply become more bull-headed in their challenges.

This is a very common way of getting people to begin to doubt their own understanding of difficult verses, and so Christians need to be aware of this type of shenanigan. The true doubters may or may not come to Christ, but they will at least maintain a spirit of fellowship and dignity during the seeking process. So, when you talk to others about the Bible, make a distinction between a true doubter and a perverse contrarian.

There is a point where arguing a point no longer serves any function except to waste time and idle away one’s ability to help others who are truly wanting answers. However, it is also good to be careful and not misjudge the one who is truly looking to understand what is presented and who comes back, again and again, looking for an answer. This may be perceived as being argumentative, but this may not be the intent at all. Patience is needed, something that can be hard to provide when valuable time is short. So, be attentive to such things and be ready to make reconciliation when division over misperceived intent arises.

Glorious God, we have faced perverse people who love to challenge the truth of Your word while disguising their challenge as honest seekers with legitimate doubts. We may have wasted time and effort in the process. This is frustrating. And so, we would ask You to keep these people at arm’s length from us so that we can focus on what is truly important – honest seekers with real questions. Amen.










Jude -21

Friday, 7 August 2020

…keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Jude -21

Jude just gave a couple of exhortations to which he adds on a couple more, beginning with, “keep yourselves in the love of God.”

There are two ways of viewing these words –

  • God’s love toward us, or
  • Our love toward God.

On the surface, it would appear the latter is what Jude is speaking of. We can keep our love toward God, but how can we keep God’s love toward us. However, that isn’t really a valid argument because it isn’t speaking of active love. Instead, it refers to the state – “in” the love. God is love. It defines Him. We move in relation to Him, not the other way around. He is fixed and unchanging. Therefore, it is actually just as likely that this is speaking of our existence in the sphere of God’s love.

This is because the previous clause said, “praying in the Holy Spirit.” In our drawing near to Him in such a way, it would then keep us close to Him and in His sphere of love. A counterargument, however, is that each of the four exhortations in this verse is a duty of the individual – building yourselves up, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves, looking for.

But, again, there is the tense of each verb. Three are present participles, but this one, “keep,” is an aorist imperative verb. And so, again, it appears that this is speaking of the duty to keep oneself in God’s love toward us. Either way, the exhortation comes down to the thought that we are to maintain a relationship with God which is based on love. One thing is for sure, if we love God, we will attempt to actively remain in His love. Both directions are implied in Jesus’ words of John 15 –

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 15:9, 10

Jude next says, “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.” As noted earlier, the verb here is a present participle. It applies to every believer in the church age. We are to be “looking for the mercy.” In other words, this is probably referring to Christ’s coming for His people. It would then reflect Paul’s words of Titus 2 –

“…looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:13

At that time, the mercy which first began to be revealed at the cross of Calvary will finally be realized in its fulness for God’s people. Just as we are saved, and yet awaiting the completion of our salvation, we have also received mercy, but are awaiting the completion of that mercy which is “unto eternal life.”

Again, at this time we have been granted eternal life, but we are awaiting the realization of that by faith. We watch fellow Christians die, but we believe they will be raised again. We face our own mortality, but we believe we too shall be raised. The word speaks of faith, and so we are to look ahead with faith.

Life application: We can organize this thought thus – “By praying in the Holy Spirit, you will build yourselves up in the most holy faith and keep yourselves in the love of God.” As believers, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit the very moment we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This action is permanent, and the believer is eternally saved. However, living in the Spirit involves continual action.

A believer can never get more of the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit can get more of the believer. This occurs as we yield ourselves to God through continual prayer. This doesn’t have to be “on the knees in the closet” prayer. Rather, it is a state of life where we talk to the Lord every moment – thanking Him for each blessing received, petitioning Him for each desire as it comes, and acknowledging His hand in each event that occurs. This is how we keep ourselves in the love of God and how we build up our most holy faith.

In this ongoing mindset, we are always expectant of the “mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ” to take us “unto eternal life.” This then is the goal of our salvation. We live it out with the prayer in our breath, and we look forward to it as we would anticipate the feeling of a cooling rain on the horizon as we stand in a dry land watching it approach. The anticipation of Christ’s return, and the mercy it will bring from this walk of woes, should be our very heart’s desire.

Lord Jesus, turn our hearts to become continuously and permanently in tune with Your will and with Your presence in our lives. May we always remember the words of Paul as he spoke to the Athenians – “…in Him we live and move and have our being.” As this is so, keep reminding us of this fact so that You will be in our hearts and on our lips always. Amen.





















Jude -20

Thursday, 6 August 2020

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, Jude -20

In verse 17, Jude set a contrast to the people he was referring to by saying, “But you, beloved.” He now does this again. He just further described the same depraved people in verses 18 and 19. To again contrast his reader with them, he says, “But you, beloved.”

He is speaking to any and all who are willing to read and apply his words. In the previous verse, referring to the mockers, he said that they are “sensual persons, who cause divisions.” In contrast to that, he says to his readers, “building yourselves up.” Instead of dividing, there should be a united effort to build. When something is built, a cohesive unit is the anticipated result. Therefore, “building yourselves up” is expected to produce such a cohesive unit. Each person builds himself up and together each person becomes an effective part of the whole.

Jude then says that this act of building up is “on your most holy faith.” The “faith” here can be referring to either the faith that establishes a person in Christ (e.g. you are saved by grace through faith), or it can be proper observance in the doctrine of faith as followers of Christ (e.g. you are to walk properly in the faith, holding to sound doctrine).

If the former, it would align with the words of 2 Peter 1:5-9 –

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”

If the latter, it would then align with conduct within the faith as outlined by Paul in Ephesians 4:11-16 –

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

Both refer to actions that build up. The first is personal and inward faith, building up the individual. The second is a unifying and interconnected faith that builds up the body. Either way, Jude finishes his thought with, “praying in the Holy Spirit.” This is set in contrast to those in the previous verse who are “not having the Spirit.”

As noted, then, that was probably not referring to the Holy Spirit, but to someone being wholly unspiritual, but who is rather sensual. This can, and often does, describe Christians who are living in the flesh. Therefore, Jude is saying, “instead of living in the flesh, you are encouraged to be praying in the Holy Spirit.”

If one is praying in the Holy Spirit, he will have his mind directed to that which is holy, godly, and proper. When not praying in the Holy Spirit, the mind gets distracted from those things and begins to move to that which is worldly, ungodly, and sensual. This is the battle believers must be engaged in at all times because there are forces set in opposition to properly directed faith which will constantly come against us as we live out our lives.

Life application: If the “most holy faith” is referring to the truth of Jesus Christ as is established by the apostles and as is contained in His word, rather than the act of faith which establishes the believer, we must remember that nothing can be added to it without corrupting the message given. The word is our manual, and the Spirit is the One to guide us into a right understanding and right application of it.

In order to understand and fellowship in this faith, we don’t need a certain secret knowledge, nor do we need a specific religion (such as Catholicism, Adventism, etc). What we need is to maintain our doctrine. This comes through study, meditation on our studies, and praying in the Holy Spirit. Praying in the Holy Spirit then is not an emotional event meant to raise our heart levels, improve our appreciation of music, or sweep us into an ecstatic state. Rather, it is an act of our will to be combined with the will of God – both in knowledge and in purpose.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, the concept of living in the Spirit and praying in the Spirit has degraded into mere emotional states and misusing or total neglect of Scripture. It is often expressed this way by church leaders so that they may gain personally. Teaching doctrine correctly is hard work, but it leads to mature Christians. Making stuff up is easy and it leads to easily manipulated sheeple.

Prayers and requests for immediate blessings of healing, prosperity, and comfort fill our churches, but a desire to know and adhere to God’s word is almost entirely lacking in many denominations and churches. Let us turn our hearts from the superficial and emotional to a personal and intimate knowledge of God’s will for our lives. Let us turn our hearts to Jesus and His will for us as is revealed in His word.

Lord, it is true that far too often we hear people claim prosperity, abundance, and contentment when they don’t even have a superficial knowledge of Your word. It is heartbreaking that this is so. We ask that You help lead us to effective teachers and right instructors of the truth of the Bible. This we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.












Jude -19

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. Jude -19

Jude continues describing the people he has been describing for quite a few verses. Here, he says, “They are sensual persons.” The word signifies something natural, as in the natural body of man. To understand the most likely intent of what Jude is saying, the NIV says they “follow mere natural instincts.”

In other words, they follow instinct more like brute beasts or unreasoning animals than they follow the higher spiritual life in emulation of God. They are on the level of farm animals – conducting their lives by outward senses and not thinking through the consequences of the lusts they act upon. Of these, Jude then says, “who cause divisions.”

He uses a word found only here in Scripture, apodiorizó. It is a combination of apo (away), and horizó (to mark off by a boundary). Therefore, it signifies separation. They cause unnecessary division – either themselves from others, or in setting up an “us against them” mentality within the church.

In order to elevate themselves and their treacherous lifestyles, they point at faithful believers who hold to the whole counsel of God and accuse them of being the ones who are wrong. Today’s common phrase which is used by such people is “intolerant.” When they accuse believers of being intolerant, they attempt to make it appear that they are on the right side of the Lord, who is loving and merciful. However, in order to do this, they have to dismiss the very nature of God who is truly loving, but who is also just, righteous, and holy. In their divisions, there is not the unity of fellowship that is supposed to exist within the church.

Jude then says, “not having the Spirit.” There is no article before “Spirit” in the Greek. Because of this, it can be argued that he is not referring to the Holy Spirit. Further, the fact that he refers to Pneumati Hagiō, or “Holy Spirit,” in the next verse indicates that in this verse he is not speaking of the Holy Spirit.

Indeed, if he is referring to the Holy Spirit, he would be making a determination that such a person never believed the gospel. If this is so, it is making a claim that only the Lord actually can make. What seems more likely is that he is making a comparison to what he just noted about them being “sensual persons.”

Because they follow natural instincts, they are, as the Weymoth Version states it, “wholly unspiritual.” Thus, “not spirit having” (as the Greek reads) would not be speaking of the Holy Spirit, but not possessing the higher spiritual life in emulation of God. The two thoughts are complementary then, one supporting the other.

The difference in the two approaches to this final clause are of the greatest importance. There are those who are referred to in Scripture who are clearly presented as saved, and yet they are living their lives in a carnal or apostate manner. Yet their salvation is never questioned. On the other hand, it is assumed.

For Jude to state that certain people do not have the Spirit in a general manner, as he has, would then allow anyone to question anyone’s salvation based on improper conduct – something not seen in Scripture. Therefore, the conservative view of saying such people are “wholly unspiritual” is probably the correct view. We can easily say that of people who have fallen away from the truth without questioning their salvation. This is especially important because we actually have no idea if they are saved or not. Only the Lord will make that determination.

Life application: In the end, we all have choices to make concerning Jesus Christ. Will we be obedient to Him, or will we follow our natural instincts and lusts? If a person who acts this way was never saved, he will continue his course all the way to the Lake of Fire. If he was saved, but has fallen from what is right and proper, he will continue his course right to the judgment seat of Christ, where he will lose the many rewards he could have heaped up in a life of righteousness and faithful observance to the word of God.

Heavenly Father, when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, Your word says that we were saved at that time. As Your word indicates that we cannot lose our salvation, but that we can depart from faithful living in our salvation, help us to live the holy and respectable Christian lives that You desire for us. May we conduct ourselves in holiness, and may we bring You great honor and glory in doing so. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.























Jude -18

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

…how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. Jude -18

Jude finishes the thought that he introduced in the previous verse. Taken together, they read –

“But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.”

Jude had been describing these vile people (the “dreamers” of verse 8) for many verses, and then introduced words that called to memory what the apostles had previously warned them. With that stated, he continues the thought now, saying, “how they told you.”

First, Jude excludes himself from this, saying, “told you.” Thus, it indicates a possibility that Jude was considered as an apostle. Or, it simply could be that Jude is warning those who had been told. Either way, it speaks of whatever way this message was conveyed to them. It could be in writing as in some of the epistles, or it could be spoken directly to them during an apostolic visit. Whichever way they heard, they had been told the same consistent message.

A spoken example of this, from Paul to those in the Ephesian church, is recorded in Acts 20:29 –

“For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.”’

A written example is 2 Peter 3:3, if that epistle was written before Jude. What is clear is that the message was conveyed, and Jude is stirring up their memories concerning the truth “that there would be mockers.”

Here is a word that is only found in this verse and in 2 Peter 3:3. It signifies a mocker or a scoffer. Thus, by implication, it speaks of false teachers. The warning was that they were coming. Jude now, unfortunately, says they have come. That was seen in verse 4, where he said, “For certain men have crept in unnoticed.” Jude says the warning of the apostles was that these people would come “in the last time.”

Jude is using this term in the same manner as Paul does in 2 Timothy 3 when he said, “in the last days.” It speaks of the entire church age, right up until the new age is ushered in at Christ’s return. This is certain because Jude says these people have already crept in. This isn’t merely speaking of a time just before Christ’s return, but the entire time before Christ’s return – because Christ’s return could come at any time. Thus, the church was being warned to be on guard at all times. However, the guard had been let down, and Jude was providing his warning in this epistle that it was so.

Understanding this, Jude then reminds them – yet again – what these people are like, saying, “who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.” Here, the Greek uses two nouns, saying, “lusts of ungodliness.” The people Jude is referring to conducted their lives not according to the apostolic word that had been conveyed, but in a manner completely contrary to it.

The word of the apostles was inspired by God. The conduct of these people was from their own twisted thinking and lusts. In this perverse mindset, they followed their lusts of ungodliness. Jude will next continue to describe these people.

Life application: As noted earlier, the “last time” is the time before Christ’s return. Because Christ could come at any time after His ascension, it covers the entire Church Age, including Jude’s time. What Jude has been saying clearly shows that these mockers were already at work with their despicable life and behavior.

The term which is used for “mockers” refers to those who laugh at and deride God’s word. At the time of Jude, it was the Old Testament, any writings of the New Testament which had been compiled, and the authoritative teachings of the apostles. People were mocking what was revealed to them and also surely mocking those who followed the Christian lifestyle. Today nothing has changed.

The Presbyterian Church, USA, the Episcopal Church, and many other denominations now ordain homosexual ministers. Other denominations are considering following this same unholy path. This is in direct defiance to the words of the Bible. Those who conduct the ordinations and those who are ordained are clearly “mocking” the word of God.

This is just one example of the unholy practices that are filling churches around the world. By their actions, they are also mocking those who adhere to the word of God, claiming they have a new way which is better. But the word of God will be vindicated in the end. What God has prescribed for His church stands despite the mocking and belligerence of these wicked, self-serving people.

Well Lord, despite the way of the world and the high-handed attitude of the disbelievers, we shall stand with You – on Your side and on Your truth. May our lives be examples of those who are willing to suffer mocking, derision, prison, torture, and death, if necessary, to bring You the honor You are rightly due. May we never compromise the truth of Your word. Amen.