Certain Condemned Individuals
3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord[c] at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
8 In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”[d] 10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.
11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.
Remember that the gospel is once for all entrusted to these folks through the Apostles who are given the “keys to the kingdom.” And now the gospel has come under pressure to change. It is pressed to reflect different moral standards, and it is pressed to reflect different theological beliefs.
Jude states a firm and authoritative “NO!” to these folks who are seeking to pollute the faith handed down to them.
What we will see in this passage is that all of these issues are not new. In fact, the way that these sneaky people act is the way that Satan has been working against God forever. Because of this we should learn to be very cautious. We can expect to encounter similar folks and approaches in our day.
- They Secretly Slip In Among You
God never sneaks. God never slips in. These are signs of weakness, of falsehood and are evidence of a deceiver and a need for deception.
John 8: 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
- They pervert the grace of God v.4
(v.8 pollute their bodies)
God in His grace has provided complete forgiveness for our sin. Because the wages of sin is death and because God wants us to have life, in His grace He sent Christ to die in our place as punishment for our sin! But, we are still called to agree that sin is sin. We are called to confess that we are not without sin. We are called to acknowledge our need for forgiveness in the Lords Prayer. We are called to a lifestyle of repentance.
I John 1: 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
What is the value to the individual in denying sin?
The attitude toward sin reflected in those Jude is rebuking is a reversal of the truth that is bad news that makes the gospel good news. In other words, Jesus did not pay for our sin so that we can go on sinning, blissfully accepting forgiveness for that which we do not hate or forsake. This is wrong!!
Romans 6: 6 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[b] Christ Jesus our Lord.
I John 3: 7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
- They deny Jesus as the only Sovereign Lord v.4
(v.8 reject authority)
They reject the uniqueness of Jesus. He is the ONLY Sovereign Lord! And He is described in these terms to assert His right to set the standards for our lives and to judge according to those standards!
Jesus, in scholarly circles today, is rejected because of the supernatural in the gospels. Because they do not see the same types of things in their experience, they think that it never happened. Rejecting the miracles, they adopt an atheistic view of Jesus.
Muslims see Jesus as a great prophet, but not the unique Son of God.
Jews see Jesus as a great teacher, but not as the unique Son of God.
When people deny Jesus’ Lordship over their lives, they will not follow Him. They will be led by other philosophies, thoughts and desires.
It is the ones who are led by the Spirit of God who are the Sons of God.
- They rely on false authorities v.8
(v.8 heap abuse on celestial beings)
On the strength of their dreams… v.8
If you reject Jesus and Apostolic authority, as the ones who have the keys to the kingdom, then you will need another authority on which to determine foundational truths in your life.
Joseph Smith had a vision.
Others see visions and expound prophetic statements.
God is not opposed to visions, prophecies and knowledge. But if what people say is contrary to what God has already said, then there is a problem. I think this is why Jude emphasizes that their condemnation was written about long ago. These problems with God have been with us forever. And they are reflective of the Satan and his falsehoods.
People pray and ask God about issues where He has already spoken! Should I get a divorce? Rarely! Should I agree that all forms of human sexual behavior are legitimate? No. Our theology is to dictate our morality, not the reverse!!
Jude spends much of this passage declaring a warning to those who read this short letter.
- A Warning Against Falling Away from the Faith
If you fall away from the faith, then you are away from the faith!
Jude gives us three examples from Scripture. Again, their condemnation was written about long ago.
- The example of God’s judgement on Israel v.5
They are destroyed because of their unbelief. Their unbelief is demonstrated in their rebellion, in their lack of obedience, in their idolatry, in their complaining etc.
I Cor 10: 1For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”[a] 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test Christ,[b] as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.
11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation[c] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[d] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[e] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
- The example of fallen angels v.6
What I think Jude wants to emphasize in mentioning these fallen angels is that because they have fallen, they are kept for judgement and they will be destroyed in judgement.
Matthew 10: 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
- Sodom and Gomorrah are judged for their immorality
“Given themselves over to sexual immorality and perversion.”
The Romans 1 spiral is another example here.
Some today argue that the sin of Sodom was a lack of hospitality toward the angels who visited them. They were inhospitable. But why were they inhospitable?
III. Their Condemnation was Written About Long Ago
What I think Jude is getting at here is that what these people are doing who have slipped into their midst is the same sort of thing that has gone on in the past and God has always condemned this! He mentions the condemnation written in verse 4 and he gives examples from long ago in verse 11
- Cain is driven out of God’s presence
Cain is jealous, resentful, selfish and raging!
“Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
16 So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
- Balaam lives forever in infamy
Balaam leads the people of God astray for money.
There are people described as doing this in Revelation 2:14 in the Church at Pergamum: They hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. (The church at Ephesus fights them off too). We know nothing of the specifics as they relate to the Nicolaitans. But at the beginning of the church, they are drawing people away from following Christ. Just as at the beginning on the nation of Israel, Balaam sought to draw the Israelites into idolatry and sexual immorality for money!
The story of Balaam is short and seems like only a blip on the radar of the Old Testament, but he is mentioned over and over again as a paradigm of sin.
- Korah is profoundly condemned
Korah leads a rebellion touting his own authority in the place of the authority that God has placed on Moses!
1Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became insolent[a] 2 and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. 3 They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?”
4 When Moses heard this, he fell facedown. 5 Then he said to Korah and all his followers: “In the morning the Lord will show who belongs to him and who is holy, and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses he will cause to come near him. 6 You, Korah, and all your followers are to do this: Take censers 7 and tomorrow put burning coals and incense in them before the Lord. The man the Lord chooses will be the one who is holy. You Levites have gone too far!”
8 Moses also said to Korah, “Now listen, you Levites! 9 Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the Lord’s tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? 10 He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too. 11 It is against the Lord that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble against him?”
12 Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. But they said, “We will not come! 13 Isn’t it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness? And now you also want to lord it over us! 14 Moreover, you haven’t brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Do you want to treat these men like slaves[b]? No, we will not come!”
15 Then Moses became very angry and said to the Lord, “Do not accept their offering. I have not taken so much as a donkey from them, nor have I wronged any of them.”
16 Moses said to Korah, “You and all your followers are to appear before the Lord tomorrow—you and they and Aaron. 17 Each man is to take his censer and put incense in it—250 censers in all—and present it before the Lord. You and Aaron are to present your censers also.” 18 So each of them took his censer, put burning coals and incense in it, and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 19 When Korah had gathered all his followers in opposition to them at the entrance to the tent of meeting, the glory of the Lord appeared to the entire assembly. 20 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 21 “Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.”
22 But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, “O God, the God who gives breath to all living things, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?”
23 Then the Lord said to Moses, 24 “Say to the assembly, ‘Move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.’”
25 Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 He warned the assembly, “Move back from the tents of these wicked men! Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins.” 27 So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents.
28 Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: 29 If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me. 30 But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.”
31 As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. 33 They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. 34 At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, “The earth is going to swallow us too!”
35 And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.