Jude’s original intent in writing this letter was to share a joy with his readers. But instead he found a battle he couldn’t refuse. A battle for faith.
Those refusing to accept God’s boundaries was not something new. Jude pointed to three very famous instances in history. The new church was experiencing them too. He wants the true believers to be aware and to be on the lookout. “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were destined for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (verse 4).
God knew these people were going to come. He knew Satan was going to try and distract people from God’s truth. God even knew what tricks were going to be used. But He didn’t leave us blind to the tricks of Satan. Instead He sent us warnings and told us how to recognize the difference in His people and Satan’s.
God does NOT leave these people free of guilt and punishment. But we are also not supposed to be the ones to pass final judgement on them; HE does. In all the examples Jude uses God is the one who made the ultimate decision on what to do about these people. HE judged them. With Cain He put a mark upon him so that no man would kill him for his sin. With Balaam He used a donkey and an angel to straighten him out. And with Korah and his rebellious group, He used the ground and fire to make His decision known. Not once in these examples did God call on men to choose for Him.
There were other times in the bible that God told His people to go to war with other nations and to kill in His name. But the instances under consideration here are dealing with those who are HIS people, or claim to be. HE knows the hearts of men. We don’t. We can only judge from the actions.
God had reserved judgement for those who come in and pervert His grace. You might not see His judgement played out immediately but it WILL come. Your best course of action is to do as the rest of the congregation did with those involved in Korah’s rebellion; separate yourselves from them and let God be the judge.
So how do we know who to separate from? Jude gives us a short list. They “pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (verse 4b). Some specific examples of their behavior are also given to us by Jude. “They are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage” (verse 16).
In our next time together Jude will tell us a little more about how to deal with these kinds of people. For today I will end with, we are to separate from them but not pass judgement. That is God’s job, not ours. I will say this, until the final hour NONE OF US are beyond His reach.
Father God, thank You for reminding me to keep my eyes open. I know I have fallen into these categories at one time or another, but You didn’t let me remain there. Stepping into sin and living there are two different lives. Thank You for bringing me out of these traps!
Thank You Jesus that no one is beyond Your ability to save when they come to You with an open heart. You died for all of us. Thank You for Your gift of salvation.
Thank You Holy Spirit for convicting my heart when I start to wander in the “wrong territory.” Thank You for calling me back and restoring me into right standing again. I’m NOT perfect and I will NEVER claim to be. But I am PERFECTLY loved and that is enough for me.
Please don’t let me EVER be a stumbling block for others. Keep me from stumbling too. I want to walk with You ALWAYS, not go tripping over every rock and crack along the road. Keep me fighting for the truth of Your word always!