Jude 1:3-4, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
After Jude’s salutation, he starts out straightforward and to the point not mincing words. He explains that his initial intention for writing was to reiterate the doctrine of salvation and yet found that it was more important to remind all believers our responsibility to “contend earnestly for the faith” and to remember that it was delivered ONCE for all time and not just once UPON a time!
During the time of his writing, attacks were already being made on the gospel and the doctrines of salvation and of Jesus Christ’s deity were being perverted. The body of doctrinal truth is complete in the Word of God, and the canon of our faith is complete. It’s been said, “if it’s new it’s not true, and if it’s true it’s not new.”
Today we live in a society where every so-called leader is presenting the church with a “new” revelation which is not necessarily found in the Word of God. When you hear something like that being presented, I’m sorry, but contending for the faith demands that it is rejected right off the bat. In truth, the Faith has been delivered to mankind and we do not need nor dare we heed anything other than what is found in the Word of God. Too many leaders of false cults are trying to convince the church that their books and writings are on equal with the given Scriptures. It just isn’t so.
Speaking of “contending earnestly for the faith,” I would like to point out that it is our responsibility as Christians to do so WITHOUT being contentions or argumentative. This is one of the very reason why myself and even some of my peers do NOT like to debate. It is not because we are fearful of not knowing the Word, but rather the Bible’s authority does not have to be defended. It IS the Word of God, no ands, ifs or buts about it.
The Apostle Paul wrote this to his protégé Timothy:
“But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” – 2 Timothy 2:23-26. This is the Christian formula for contending without being contentious.
Jude then goes directly into the nature of the threat, pointing out in no uncertain terms what to look out for and why we need to be vigilant. Certain men had crept into the church unnoticed. The Holy Bible, New Living Translation says they “wormed” their way in. It was back then and is especially today, done with stealth and deceit. It is intentional and planned and it is done by those with loose morals, truly ungodly men who resort to lewdness and at the same time deny the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ and the ONLY Lord God. These men speak “religious” things and they use the Holy Word of God for their own desires, twisting and perverting its truths to make it say what they want it to say, rather than allowing it to change them.
The Word states, “who long ago were marked out for this condemnation.” Do not misinterpret the meaning of this phrase. This is where a knowledge of the Bible and the Character and Nature of God Almighty is so very important. At first glance it would seem as if God has selected these people for damnation, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Remember, the Character of God is Omniscience. He KNOWS all things already, nothing takes Him by surprise, but that does not mean that He goes against a person’s ability to choose according to an individual’s free will. When men are finally lost, it is because of their free choice to sin and walk in disobedience rejecting God’s truth and gift of salvation. What this statement is showing is that the fate of those who reject God and apostates are condemned already because of their choices. They are not foreordained to be damned or to fall away, but their punishment is predetermined according to the choices they make.
Remember what the Apostle Peter wrote:
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9.
The Lord’s DESIRE, the cry of His heart, is that everyone that He has created would come to repentance as He does NOT want any to perish. But again, He will NOT go against an individuals freedom to choose their own destiny, no matter how much it pains Him! This should be a sobering fact to every true believer and cause us or motivate us to earnestly and fervently pray for the lost.
Now if you notice in verse 4, there are two very prominent characteristics to these “ungodly” men. Number one is that they turn the grace of God Almighty into an avenue for lewdness, in other words, they engage in depraved conduct, and secondly their corrupt doctrine. They deny the One and Only Lord God and they deny the Lord Jesus Christ. In denying Christ, the deny His absolute right to rule, His death and resurrection and they deny absolutely every essential element of Who He is and of His work!
Just who are these people? The scary fact, even today, or especially today is that they ARE in positions of leadership within the Christian Church. They can be elders, bishops, teachers, preachers, or they can be church council members or seminary professors, but the one thing they all seem to have in common is an invented liberality to the “concept” of Christ which ultimately denies His glory, majesty, dominion and authority. They are like the Gnostics of old who believe that since the flesh is evil and it is already condemned, there is nothing you can do with the flesh, so let it have it’s way, while you concentrate on the spirit. They completely ignore AND deny the transforming power of the Holy Spirit of Christ.