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Bible Commentaries

William Barclay's Daily Study Bible
Jude 1

 

 

Verses 1-25

Chapter 1

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN (Jude 1:1-2)

1:1-2 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James, sends this letter to the called who are beloved in God and kept by Jesus Christ. May mercy and peace and love he multiplied to you.

Few things tell more about a man than the way in which he speaks of himself; few things are more revealing than the titles by which he wishes to be known. Jude calls himself the servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James. At once this tells us two things about him.

(i) Jude was a man well content with the second place. He was not nearly so well known as James; and he is content to be known as the brother of James. In this he was the same as Andrew. Andrew is Simon Peter's brother (John 6:8). He, too, was described by his relationship to a more famous brother. Jude and Andrew might well have been resentful of the brothers in whose shadow they had to live; but both had the great gift of gladly taking the second place.

(ii) The only title of honour which Jude would allow himself was the servant of Jesus Christ. The Greek is doulos (Greek #1401), and it means more than servant, it means slave. That is to say, Jude regarded himself as having only one object and one distinction in life--to be for ever at the disposal of Jesus for service in his cause. The greatest glory which any Christian can attain is to be of use to Jesus Christ.

In this introduction Jude uses three words to describe Christians.

(i) Christians are those who are called by God. The Greek for to call is kalein (Greek #2564); and kalein (Greek #2564) has three great areas of use. (a) It is the word for summoning a man to office, to duty, and to responsibility. The Christian is summoned to a task, to duty, to responsibility in the service of Christ. (b) It is the word for summoning a man to a feast or a festival. It is the word for an invitation to a happy occasion. The Christian is the man who is summoned to the joy of being the guest of God. (c) It is the word for summoning a man to judgment. It is the word for calling a man to court that he may give account of himself The Christian is in the end summoned to appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

(ii) Christians are those who are beloved in God. It is this great fact which determines the nature of the call. The call to men is the call to be loved and to love. God calls men to a task, but that task is an honour, not a burden. God calls men to service, but it is the service of fellowship, not of tyranny. In the end God calls men to judgment, but it is the judgment of love as well as of justice.

(iii) Christians are those who are kept by Christ. The Christian is never left alone; Christ is always the sentinel of his life and the companion of his way.

THE CALL OF GOD (Jude 1:1-2 continued)

Before we leave this opening passage, let us think a little more about this calling of God and try to see something of what it means.

(i) Paul speaks about being called to be an apostle (Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1). In Greek the word is apostolos (Greek #652); it comes from the verb apostellein (Greek #649), to send out, and an apostle is therefore, one who is sent out. That is to say, the Christian is the ambassador of Christ. He is sent out into the world to speak for Christ, to act for Christ, to live for Christ. By his life he commends, or fails to commend, Christ to others.

(ii) Paul speaks about being called to be saints (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2). The word for saint is hagios (Greek #40), which is also very commonly translated holy. Its root idea is difference. The Sabbath is holy because it is different from other days; God is supremely holy because he's different from men. To be called to be a saint is to be called to be different. The world has its own standards and its own scale of values. The difference for the Christian is that Christ is the only standard and loyalty to Christ the only value.

(iii) The Christian is called according to the purpose of God (Romans 8:28). God's call goes out to every man, although every man does not accept it; and this means that for every man God has a purpose. The Christian is the man who submits himself to the purpose God has for him.

Paul has much to say about this calling of God, and we can set it down only very summarily. It sets before a man a great hope (Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 4:4). It should be a unifying influence binding men together by the conviction that they all have a part in the purpose of God (Ephesians 4:4). It is an upward calling (Philippians 3:14), setting a man's feet on the way to the stars. It is a heavenly calling (Hebrews 3:1), making a man think of the things which are invisible and eternal. It is a holy calling, a call to consecration to God. It is a calling which covers a man's ordinary every-day task (1 Corinthians 7:20). It is a calling which does not alter because God does not change his mind (Romans 11:29). It knows no human distinctions and cuts across the world's classifications and scale of importances (1 Corinthians 1:26). It is something of which the Christian must be worthy (Ephesians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:11); and all life must be one long effort to make it secure (2 Peter 1:10).

The calling of God is the privilege, the challenge and the inspiration of the Christian life.

DEFENDING THE FAITH (Jude 1:3)

1:3 Beloved, when I was in the midst of devoting all my energy to writing to you about the faith which we all share, I felt that I was compelled to write a letter to you to urge you to engage upon the struggle to defend the faith which was once and for all delivered to God's consecrated people.

Here we have the occasion of the letter. Jude had been engaged on writing a treatise about the Christian faith; but there had come news that evil and misguided men had been spreading destructive teaching. The conviction had come to him that he must lay aside his treatise and write this letter.

Jude fully realized his duty to be the watchman of the flock of God. The purity of their faith was threatened and he rushed to defend both them and the faith. That involved setting aside the work on which he had been engaged; but often it is much better to write a tract for the times than a treatise for the future. It may be that Jude never again got the chance to write the treatise he had planned; but the fact is that he did more for the church by writing this urgent little letter than he could possibly have done by leaving a long treatise on the faith.

In this passage there are certain truths about the faith which we hold.

(i) The faith is something which is delivered to us. The facts of the Christian faith are not something which we have discovered for ourselves. In the true sense of the word they are tradition, something which has been handed down from generation to generation until it has come to us. They go back in an unbroken chain to Jesus Christ himself.

There is something to be added to that. The facts of the faith are indeed something which we have not discovered for ourselves. It is, therefore, true that the Christian tradition is not something handed down in the cold print of books; it is something which is passed on from person to person through the generations. The chain of Christian tradition is a living chain whose links are men and women who have experienced the wonder of the facts.

(ii) The Christian faith is something which is once and for all delivered to us. There is in it an unchangeable quality. That is not to say that each age has not to rediscover the Christian faith; but it does say that there is an unchanging nucleus in it--and the permanent centre of it is that Jesus Christ came into the world and lived and died to bring salvation to men.

(iii) The Christian faith is something which is entrusted to God's consecrated people. That is to say, the Christian faith is not the possession of any one person but of the church. It comes down within the church, it is preserved within the church, and it is understood within the church.

(iv) The Christian faith is something which must be defended. Every Christian must be its defender. If the Christian tradition comes down from generation to generation, each generation must hand it on uncorrupted and unperverted. There are times when that is difficult. The word Jude uses for to defend is epagonizesthai (Greek #1864), which contains the root of our English word agony. The defence of the faith may well be a costly thing; but that defence is a duty which falls on every generation of the Church.

THE PERIL FROM WITHIN (Jude 1:4 )

1:4 For certain men have wormed their way into the Church--long before this they were designated for judgment impious creatures they are--who twist the grace of God into a justification of blatant immorality and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Here is the peril which made Jude lay aside the treatise he was about to write and take up his pen to write this burning letter. The peril came from within the church.

Certain men, as the King James Version has it, had crept in unawares. The Greek (pareisduein, Greek #3921) is a very expressive word. It is used of the spacious and seductive words of a clever pleader seeping gradually into the minds of a judge and jury; it is used of an outlaw slipping secretly back into the country from which he has been expelled; it is used of the slow and subtle entry of innovations into the life of state, which in the end undermine and break down the ancestral laws. It always indicates a stealthy insinuation of something evil into a society or situation.

Certain evil men had insinuated themselves into the church. They were the kind of men for whom judgment was waiting. They were impious creatures, godless in their thought and life. Jude picks out two characteristics about them.

(i) They perverted the grace of God into an excuse for blatant immorality. The Greek which we have translated blatant immorality is a grim and terrible word (aselgeia, Greek #766). The corresponding adjective is aselges (Greek #766). Most men try to hide their sin; they have enough respect for common decency not to wish to be found out. But the aselges (Greek #766) is the man who is so lost to decency that he does not care who sees his sin. It is not that he arrogantly and proudly flaunts it; it is simply that he can publicly do the most shameless things, because he has ceased to care for decency at all.

These men were undoubtedly tinged with Gnosticism and its belief that, since the grace of God was wide enough to cover any sin, a man could sin as he liked. The more he sinned, the greater the grace, therefore, why worry about sin? Grace was being perverted into a justification for sin.

(ii) They denied our only Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. There is more than one way in which a man can deny Jesus Christ. (a) He can deny him in the day of persecution. (b) He can deny him for the sake of convenience. (c) He can deny him by his life and conduct. (d) He can deny him by developing false ideas about him.

If these men were Gnostics, they would have two mistaken ideas about Jesus. First, since the body, being matter, was evil, they would hold that Jesus only seemed to have a body and was a kind of spirit ghost in the apparent shape of a man. The Greek for "to seem" is dokein (Greek #1380); and these men were called Docetists. They would deny the real manhood of Jesus Christ. Second, they would deny his uniqueness. They believed that there were many stages between the evil matter of this world and the perfect spirit which is God; and they believed that Jesus was only one of the many stages on the way.

No wonder Jude was alarmed. He was faced with a situation in which there had wormed their way into the church men who were twisting the grace of God into a justification, and even a reason, for sinning in the most blatant way; and who denied both the manhood and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.

THE DREADFUL EXAMPLES (Jude 1:5-7)

1:5-7 It is my purpose to remind you--although you already possess full and final knowledge of all that matters--that, after the Lord had brought the people out of Egypt in safety, he subsequently destroyed those who were unbelieving; and that he has placed under guard in eternal chains in the abyss of darkness, to await the judgment which shall take place on the great day, the angels who did not keep their own rank but left their own proper habitation. Just so Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, who in the same way as these took their fill of sexual sin and strayed after perverted sexual immorality, are a warning by the way in which they paid the penalty of eternal fire.

(1) The Fate Of Israel

Jude issues a warning to the evil men who were perverting the belief and conduct of the church. He tells them that he is, in fact, doing nothing other than remind them of things of which they are perfectly well aware. In a sense it is true to say that all preaching within the Christian church is not so much bringing to men new truth as confronting them with truth they already know, but have forgotten or are disregarding.

To understand the first two examples which Jude cites from history we must understand one thing. The evil men who were corrupting the church did not regard themselves as enemies of the church and of Christianity; they regarded themselves as the advanced thinkers, a cut above the ordinary Christian, the spiritual elite. Jude chooses his examples to make clear that, even if a man has received the greatest privileges, he may still fall away into disaster, and even those who have received the greatest privileges from God cannot consider themselves safe but must be on constant watch against the mistaken things.

The first example is from the history of Israel. He goes for his story to Numbers 13:1-33; Numbers 14:1-45. The mighty hand of God had delivered the people from slavery in Egypt. What greater act of deliverance could there be than that? The guidance of God had brought the people safely across the desert to the borders of the Promised Land. What greater demonstration of his Providence could there be than that? So, at the very borders of the Promised Land, at Kadesh-Barnea, spies were sent out to spy out the land before the final invasion took place. With the exception of Caleb and Joshua, the spies came back with the opinion that the dangers ahead were so terrible and the people so strong, that they could never win their way into the Promised Land. The people rejected the report of Caleb and Joshua, who were for going on, and accepted the report of those who insisted that the case was hopeless. This was a clear act of disobedience to God and of complete lack of faith in him. The consequence was that God gave sentence that of these people, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, all over twenty would never enter the Promised Land but would wander in the wilderness until they were dead (Numbers 14:32-33; Numbers 32:10-13).

This was a picture which haunted the mind of both Paul and the writer to the Hebrews (1 Corinthians 10:5-11; Hebrews 3:18-19; Hebrews 4:2). It is the proof that even the man with the greatest privilege can meet with disaster before the end, if he falls away from obedience and lapses from faith. Johnstone Jeffrey tells of a great man who absolutely refused to have his life-story written before his death. "I have seen," he said, "too many men fall out on the last lap." John Wesley warned, "Let, therefore, none presume on past mercies, as if they were out of danger." In his dream John Bunyan saw that even from the gates of heaven there was a way to hell.

Jude warns these men that, great as their privileges have been, they must still have a care lest disaster come upon them. It is a warning which each of us would do well to heed.

(2) The Fate Of The Angels

The second dreadful example which Jude takes is the fallen angels.

The Jews had a very highly developed doctrine of angels, the servants of God. In particular the Jews believed that every nation had its presiding angel. In the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures, Deuteronomy 32:8 reads, "When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God." That is to say, to each nation there was an angel.

The Jews believed in a fall of the angels and much is said about this in the Book of Enoch which is so often behind the thought of Jude. In regard to this there were two lines of tradition.

(i) The first saw the fall of the angels as due to pride and rebelliousness. That legend gathered especially round the name of Lucifer, the light-bringer, the son of the morning. As the King James Version has it, Isaiah writes, "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" (Isaiah 14:12). When the seventy returned from their mission and told Jesus of their successes, he warned them against pride, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:18). The idea was that there was civil war in heaven. The angels rose against God and were cast out; and Lucifer was the leader of the rebellion.

(ii) The second stream of tradition finds its scriptural echo in Genesis 6:1-4. In this line of thought the angels, attracted by the beauty of mortal women, left heaven to seduce them and so sinned.

In the first case the fall of the angels was due to pride; in the second case it was due to lust for forbidden things.

In effect Jude takes the two ideas and puts them together. He says that the angels left their own rank; that is to say, they aimed at an office which was not for them. He also says that they left their own proper habitation; that is to say, they came to earth to live with the daughters of men.

All this seems strange to us; it moves in a world of thought and traditions from which we have moved away.

But Jude's warning is clear. Two things brought ruin to the angels--pride and lust. Even although they were angels and heaven had been their dwelling-place, they none the less sinned and for their sin were reserved for judgment. To those reading Jude's words for the first time the whole line of thought was plain, for Enoch had much to say about the fate of these fallen angels. So Jude was speaking to his people in terms that they could well understand and telling them that, if pride and lust ruined the angels in spite of all their privileges, pride and lust could ruin them. The evil men within the church were proud enough to think that they knew better than the church's teaching and lustful enough to pervert the grace of God into a justification for blatant immorality. Whatever be the ancient background of his words, Jude's warning is still valid. The pride which knows better than God and the desire for forbidden things are the way to ruin in time and in eternity.

(3) Sodom And Gomorrah

The third example Jude chose is the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Notorious for their sins, these cities were obliterated by the fire of God. Sir George Adam Smith in The Historical Geography of the Holy Land points out that no incident in history ever made such an impression on the Jewish people, and that Sodom and Gomorrah are time and time again used in Scripture as the examples par excellence of the sin of man and the judgment of God; they are so used even by Jesus himself (Deuteronomy 29:23; Deuteronomy 32:32; Amos 4:11; Isaiah 1:9; Isaiah 3:9; Isaiah 13:19; Jeremiah 23:14; Jeremiah 49:18; Jeremiah 50:40; Zephaniah 2:9; Lamentations 4:6; Ezekiel 16:46; Ezekiel 16:49; Ezekiel 16:53; Ezekiel 16:55; Matthew 10:15; Matthew 11:24; Luke 10:12; Luke 17:29; Romans 9:29; 2 Peter 2:6; Revelation 11:8). "The glare of Sodom and Gomorrah is flung down the whole length of Scripture history."

The story of the final wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah is told in Genesis 19:1-11, and the tragic tale of their destruction in the passage immediately following (Genesis 19:12-28). The sin of Sodom is one of the most horrible stories in history. Ryle has called it a "repulsive incident." The real horror of the incident is cloaked a little in the King James and English Revised Versions by a Hebrew turn of speech. Two angelic visitors had come to Lot. At his pressing invitation they came into his house to be his guests. When they were there, the inhabitants of Sodom surrounded the house, demanding that Lot should bring out his visitors that they should know them. In Hebrew to know is the word for sexual intercourse. It is said, for instance, that Adam knew his wife, and she conceived, and bore Cain (Genesis 4:1). What the men of Sodom were bent on was homosexual intercourse with Lot's two visitors--sodomy, the word in which their sin is commemorated.

It was after this that Sodom and Gomorrah were obliterated from the face of the earth. The neighbouring cities were Zoar, Admah and Zeboim (Deuteronomy 29:23; Hosea 11:8). This disaster was localized in the dreadful desert in the region of the Dead Sea, a region which Sir George Adam Smith calls, "This awful hollow, this bit of the infernal regions come to the surface, this hell with the sun shining into it." It was there that the cities were said to have been; and it was said that under that scorched and barren earth there still smouldered an eternal fire of destruction. The soil is bituminous with oil below, and Sir George Adam Smith con-lectures that what happened was this: "In this bituminous soil took place one of these terrible explosions and conflagrations which have broken out in the similar geology of North America. In such soil reservoirs of oil and gas are formed, and suddenly discharged by their own pressure or by earthquake. The gas explodes, carrying high into the air masses of oil which fall back in fiery rain, and are so inextinguishable that they float afire on water." It was by such an eruption of fire that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. That awful desert was only a day's journey from Jerusalem and men never forgot this divine judgment on sin.

So, then, Jude reminds these evil men of the fate of those who in ancient times defied the moral law of God. It is reasonable to suppose that those whom Jude attacks had also descended to sodomy and that they were perverting the grace of God to cover even this.

Jude is insisting that they should remember that sin and judgment go hand in hand, and that they should repent in time.

CONTEMPT FOR THE ANGELS (Jude 1:8-9)

1:8-9 In the same way these, too, with their dreams, defile the flesh, and set at naught the celestial powers, and speak evil of the angelic glories. When the archangel Michael himself was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, he did not venture to launch against him an evil-speaking accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"

Jude begins this passage by comparing the evil men with the false prophets whom Scripture condemns. Deuteronomy 13:1-5 sets down what is to be done with "the prophet or the dreamer of dreams" who corrupts the nations and seduces the people, from their loyalty to God. Such a prophet is to be mercilessly killed. These men whom Jude attacks are false prophets, dreamers of false dreams, seducers of the people, and must be treated as such. Their false teaching issued in two things.

(i) It made them defile the flesh. We have already seen the twofold direction of their teaching on the flesh. First, the flesh was entirely evil, and, therefore, of no importance; and so the instincts of the body could be given their way without control. Second, the grace of God was all-forgiving and all-sufficient and therefore, sin did not matter since grace would forgive every sin. Sin was only the means whereby grace was given its opportunity to operate.

(ii) They despised angels. Celestial powers and angelic glories are names for ranks of angels within the angelic hierarchy. This follows immediately after the citing of Sodom and Gomorrah as dreadful examples; and part of the sin of Sodom was the desire of its people to misuse its angelic visitors (Genesis 19:1-11). The men Jude attacks spoke evil of the angels. To prove how terrible a thing that was Jude cites an instance from an apocryphal book, The Assumption of Moses. One of the strange things about Jude is that he so often makes his quotations from these apocryphal books. Such quotations seem strange to us; but these books were very widely used at the time when Jude was writing and the quotations would be very effective.

The story in The Assumption of Moses runs as follows. The strange story of the death of Moses is told in Deuteronomy 34:1-6. The Assumption of Moses goes on to add the further story that the task of burying the body of Moses was given to the archangel Michael. The devil disputed with Michael for possession of the body. He based his claim on two grounds. Moses' body was matter; matter was evil; and, therefore, the body belonged to him, for matter was his domain. Second, Moses was a murderer, for had not he slain the Egyptian whom he saw smiting the Hebrew (Exodus 2:11-12). And, if he was a murderer, the devil had a claim on his body. The point Jude is making is this. Michael was engaged on a task given him by God; the devil was seeking to stop him and was making claims he had no right to make. But even in a collection of circumstances like that Michael spoke no evil of the devil but simply said, "The Lord rebuke you!" If the greatest of the good angels refused to speak evil of the greatest of the evil angels, even in circumstances like that, surely no human being may speak evil of any angel.

What the men Jude is attacking were saying about the angels we do not know. Perhaps they were saying that they did not exist; perhaps they were saying they were evil. This passage means very little to us, but no doubt it would be a weighty rebuke to those to whom Jude addressed it.

THE GOSPEL OF THE FLESH (Jude 1:10)

1:10 But these people speak evil of everything which they do not understand, whereas they allow themselves to be corrupted by the knowledge which their instincts give them, living at the mercy of their instincts, like beasts without reason.

Jude says two things about the evil men whom he is attacking.

(i) They criticize everything which they do not understand. Anything which is out of their orbit and their experience they disregard as worthless and irrelevant. "Spiritual things are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14). They have no spiritual discernment, and, therefore, they are blind to, and contemptuous of, all spiritual realities.

(ii) They allow themselves to be corrupted by the things they do understand. What they do understand are the fleshly instincts which they share with the brute beasts. Their way of life is to allow these instincts to have their way; their values are fleshly values. Jude describes men who have lost all awareness of spiritual things and for whom the things demanded by the animal instincts are the only standards.

The terrible thing is that the first condition is the direct result of the second. The tragedy is that no man is born without a sense of the spiritual things but can lose that sense until for him the spiritual things cease to exist. A man may lose any faculty, if he refuses to use it. We discover that with such simple things as games and skills. If we give up playing a game, we lose the ability to play it. If we give up practising a skill--such as playing the piano--we lose it. We discover that in such things as abilities. We may know something of a foreign language, but if we never speak or read it, we lose it. Every man can hear the voice of God; and every man has the animal instincts on which, indeed, the future existence of the race depends. But, if he consistently refuses to listen to God and makes his instincts the sole dynamic of his conduct, in the end he will be unable to hear the voice of God and will have nothing left to be his master but his brute desires. It is a terrible thing for a man to reach a stage where he is deaf to God and blind to goodness; and that is the stage which the men whom Jude attacks had reached.

LESSONS FROM HISTORY (Jude 1:11)

1:11 Woe to them because they walk in the way of Cain; they fling themselves into the error of Balaam; they perish in Korah's opposition to God.

Jude now goes to Hebrew history for parallels to the wicked men of his own day; and from it he draws the examples of three notorious sinners.

(i) First, there is Cain, the murderer of his brother Abel (Genesis 4:1-15). In Hebrew tradition Cain stood for two things. (a) He was the first murderer in the world's history; and, as The Wisdom of Solomon has it, "he himself perished in the fury wherewith he murdered his brother" (Wisdom of Solomon 10:3). It may well be that Jude is implying that those who delude others are nothing other than murderers of the souls of men and, therefore, the spiritual descendants of Cain. (b) But in Hebrew tradition Cain came to stand for something more than that. In Philo he stands for selfishness. In the Rabbinic teaching he is the type of the cynical man. In the Jerusalem Targum he is depicted as saying: "There is neither judgment nor judge; there is no other world; no good reward will be given to the good and no vengeance taken on the wicked; nor is there any pity in the creation or the government of the world." To the Hebrew thinkers Cain was the cynical, materialistic unbeliever who believed neither in God nor in the moral order of the world and who, therefore, did exactly as he liked. So Jude is charging his opponents with defying God and denying the moral order of the world. It remains true that the man who chooses to sin has still to reckon with God and to learn, always with pain and sometimes with tragedy, that no man can defy the moral order of the world with impunity.

(ii) Second, there is Balaam. In Old Testament thought, in Jewish teaching and even in the New Testament (Revelation 2:14) Balaam is the great example of those who taught Israel to sin. In the Old Testament there are two stories about him. One is quite clear, and very vivid and dramatic. The other is more shadowy, but much more terrible; and it is it which left its mark on Hebrew thought and teaching.

The first is in Numbers 22:1-41; Numbers 23:1-30; Numbers 24:1-25. There it is told how Balak attempted to persuade Balaam to curse the people of Israel, for he feared their power, five times offering him large rewards. Balaam refused to be persuaded by Balak, but his covetousness stands out and it is clear that only the fear of what God would do to him kept him from striking a dreadful bargain. Balaam already emerges as a detestable character.

In Numbers 25:1-18 there is the second story. Israel is seduced into the worship of Baal with dreadful and repulsive moral consequences. As we read later (Numbers 31:8; Numbers 31:16), it was Balaam who was responsible for that seduction, and he perished miserably because he taught others to sin.

Out of this composite story Balaam stands for two things. (a) He stands for the covetous man who was prepared to sin in order to gain reward. (b) He stands for the evil man who was guilty of the greatest of all sins--that of teaching others to sin. So Jude is declaring of the wicked men of his own day that they are ready to leave the way of righteousness to make gain; and that they are teaching others to sin. To sin for the sake of gain is bad; but to teach another to sin is the worst of all.

(iii) Third, there was Korah. His story is in Numbers 16:1-35. The sin of Korah was that he rebelled against the guidance of Moses when the sons of Aaron and the tribe of Levi were made the priests of the nation. That was a decision which Korah was not willing to accept; he wished to exercise a function which he had no right to exercise; and when he did so he perished terribly and all his companions in wickedness with him. Korah stands for the man who refuses to accept authority and reaches out for things which he has no right to have. So Jude is charging his opponents with defying the legitimate authority of the church, and of, thereto re, preferring their own way to the way of God. We should remember that if we take certain things which pride incites us to take, the consequences can be disastrous.

THE PICTURE OF WICKED MEN (Jude 1:12-16)

1:12-16 These people are hidden rocks which threaten to wreck your Love Feasts. These are the people who at your feasts revel with their own cliques without a qualm. They have no feeling of responsibility to anyone except themselves. They are clouds which drop no water but are blown past by the wind. They are fruitless trees in autumn's harvest time, twice dead and torn up by the roots. They are wild sea waves, frothing out their own shameless deeds. They are wandering stars and the abyss of darkness has been prepared for them for ever. It was of these, too, that Enoch, who was the seventh from Adam, prophesied when he said:

Behold the Lord has come with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment upon all and to convict all the impious for all the deeds of their impiousness, which they have impiously committed, and for the harsh things which impious sinners have said against him.

For these people are grumblers. They querulously complain against the part in life which God has allotted to them. Their conduct is governed by their desires. Their mouths speak swelling words. They toady to men for what they can get out of it.

This is one of the great passages of invective of the New Testament. It is blazing moral indignation at its hottest. As Moffatt puts it: "Sky, land and sea are ransacked for illustrations of the character of these men." Here is a series of vivid pictures, every one with significance. Let us take them one by one.

(i) They are like hidden rocks which threaten to wreck the Love Feasts of the Church. This is the one case in which there is doubt about what Jude is actually saying but of one thing there is no doubt--the evil men were a peril to the Love Feasts. The Love Feast, the Agape (Greek #26), was one of the earliest features of the Church. It was a meal of fellowship held on the Lord's Day. To it everyone brought what he could, and all shared alike. It was a lovely idea that the Christians in each little house church should sit down on the Lord's Day to eat in fellowship together. No doubt there were some who could bring much and others who could bring only little. For many of the slaves it was perhaps the only decent meal they ever ate.

But very soon the Agape (Greek #26) began to go wrong. We can see it going wrong in the church at Corinth, when Paul declares that at the Corinthian Love Feasts there is nothing but division. They are divided into cliques and sections; some have too much, and others starve; and the meal for some has become a drunken revel (1 Corinthians 11:17-22). Unless the Agape (Greek #26) was a true fellowship, it was a travesty, and very soon it had begun to belie its name.

Jude's opponents were making a travesty of the Love Feasts. The Revised Standard Version says that he calls them "blemishes on your love feasts" (Jude 1:12 ); and that agrees with the parallel passage in Second Peter--"blots and blemishes" (2 Peter 2:13). We have translated Jude's expression "hidden rocks."

The difficulty is that Peter and Jude do not use the same word, although they use words which are very similar. The word in Second Peter is spilos (Greek #4696), which unquestionably means a blot or spot; but the word in Jude is spilas (Greek #4694), which is very rare. Just possibly it may mean a blot, because in later Greek it could be used for the spots and markings on an opal stone. But in ordinary Greek by far its most common meaning was a submerged, or half-submerged, rock on which a ship could be easily ship-wrecked. We think that here the second meaning is much more likely.

In the Love Feast people were very close together in heart and there was the kiss of peace. These wicked men were using the Love Feasts as a cloak under which to gratify their lusts. It is a dreadful thing, if men enter into the church and use the opportunities which its fellowship gives for their own perverted ends. These men were like sunken rocks on which the fellowship of the Love Feasts was in danger of being wrecked.

THE SELFISHNESS OF WICKED MEN (Jude 1:12-16 continued)

(ii) These wicked men revel in their own cliques and have no feeling of responsibility for anyone except themselves. These two things go together for they both stress their essential selfishness.

(a) They revel in their own cliques without a qualm. This is exactly the situation which Paul condemns in First Corinthians. The Love Feast was supposed to be an act of fellowship; and the fellowship was demonstrated by the sharing of all things. Instead of sharing, the wicked men kept to their own clique and kept to themselves all they had. In First Corinthians Paul actually goes the length of saying that the Love Feast could become a drunken revel in which every man grabbed at all that he could get (1 Corinthians 11:21). No man can ever claim to know what church membership means, if in the church he is out for what he can get and remains within his own little group.

(b) We have translated the next phrase: "They have no feeling of responsibility for anyone except themselves." The Greek literally means "shepherding themselves." The duty of a leader of the Church is to be a shepherd of the flock of God (Acts 20:28). The false shepherd cared far more for himself than for the sheep which were supposed to be within his care. Ezekiel describes the false shepherds from whom their privileges were to be taken away: "As I live, says the Lord God, because my sheep have become a prey and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd; and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep.... Behold I am against the shepherds; and I will require my sheep at their hand, and put a stop to their feeding the sheep" (Ezekiel 34:8-10). The man who feels no responsibility for the welfare of anyone except himself stands condemned.

So, then, Jude condemns the selfishness which destroys fellowship and the lack of the sense of responsibility for others.

(iii) The wicked men are like clouds blown past by the wind, which drop no rain and like trees in harvest time which have no fruit. These two phrases go together, for they describe people who make great claims but are essentially useless. There were times in Palestine when people would pray for rain. At such a time a cloud might pass across the sky, bringing with it the promise of rain. But there were times when the promise was only an illusion, the cloud was blown on and the rain never came. In any harvest time there were trees which looked as if they were heavy with fruit but which, when men came to gather from them, gave no fruit at all.

At the heart of this lies a great truth. Promise without performance is useless and in the New Testament nothing is so unsparingly condemned as uselessness. No amount of outward show or fine words will take the place of usefulness to others. As it has been put: "If a man is not good for something, he is good for nothing."

THE FATE OF DISOBEDIENCE (Jude 1:12-16 continued)

Jude goes on to use a vivid picture of these evil men. "They are like wild sea waves frothing out their own shameless deeds." The picture is this. After a storm, when the waves have been lashing the shore with their frothing spray and their spume, there is always left on the shore a fringe of seaweed and driftwood and all kinds of unsightly litter from the sea. That is always an unlovely scene. But in the case of one sea it is grimmer than in any other. The waters of the Dead Sea can be whipped up, into waves, and these waves, too, cast up driftwood on the shore; but in this instance there is a unique circumstance. The waters of the Dead Sea are so impregnated with salt that they strip the bark of any driftwood in them; and, when such wood is cast up on the shore, it gleams bleak and white, more like dried bones than wood. The deeds of the wicked men are like the useless and unsightly litter which the waves leave scattered on the beach after a storm and resemble the skeleton-like relics of Dead Sea storms. The picture vividly portrays the ugliness of the deeds of Jude's opponents.

Jude uses still another picture. The wicked men are like the wandering stars that are kept in the abyss of darkness for their disobedience. This is a picture directly taken from the Book of Enoch. In that book the stars and the angels are sometimes identified; and there is a picture of the fate of the stars who, disobedient to God, left their appointed orbit and were destroyed. In his journey through the, earth Enoch came to a place where he saw, "neither a heaven above nor a firmly founded earth, but a place chaotic and horrible." He goes on: "And there I saw seven stars of the heaven bound together in it, like great mountains and burning with fire. Then I said, 'For what sin are they bound, and on account of what have they been cast in hither?' Then said Uriel, one of the holy angels, who was with me and who was chief over them, 'Enoch, why dost thou ask and why art thou eager for the truth? These are the numbers of the stars of heaven which have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and are bound here till ten thousand years, the time entailed by their sins, are consummated'" (Enoch 21: 1-6). The fate of the wandering stars is typical of the fate of the man who disobeys God's commandments and, as it were, takes his own way.

Jude then confirms all this with a prophecy; but the prophecy is again taken from Enoch. The actual passage runs: "And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment upon all, and to destroy all the ungodly; and to convict all flesh of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him" (Enoch 1: 9).

This quotation has raised many questions in regard to Jude and Enoch. There is no doubt that in the days of Jude, and in the days of Jesus, Enoch was a very popular book which every pious Jew would know and read. Ordinarily, when the New Testament writers wish to confirm their words, they do so with a quotation from the Old Testament, using it as the word of God. Are we then to regard Enoch as sacred Scripture, since Jude uses it exactly as he would have used one of the prophets? Or, are we to take the view of which Jerome speaks, and say that Jude cannot be Scripture, because it makes the mistake of using as Scripture a book which is, in fact, not Scripture?

We need waste no time upon this debate. The fact is that Jude, a pious Jew, knew and loved the Book of Enoch and had grown up in a circle where it was regarded with respect and even reverence; and he takes his quotation from it perfectly naturally, knowing that his readers would recognize it, and respect it. He is simply doing what all the New Testament writers do, as every writer must in every age, and speaking to men in language which they will recognize and understand.

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF EVIL MEN (Jude 1:12-16 continued)

In Jude 1:16 Jude sets down three last characteristics of the evil men.

(i) They are grumblers, for ever discontented with the life which God has allotted to them. In this picture he uses two words, one which was very familiar to his Jewish readers and one which was very familiar to his Greek readers.

(a) The first is goggustes (Greek #1113). (gg in Greek is pronounced ng). The word describes the discontented voices of the murmurers and is the same as is so often used in the Greek Old Testament for the murmurings of the children of Israel against Moses as he led them through the wilderness (Exodus 15:24; Exodus 17:3; Numbers 14:29). Its very sound describes the low mutter of resentful discontent which rose from the rebellious people. These wicked men in the time of Jude are the modern counterparts of the murmuring children of Israel in the desert, people full of sullen complaints against the guiding hand of God.

(b) The second is mempsimoiros (Greek #3202). It is made up of two Greek words, memphesthai, which means to blame and moira, which means one's allotted fate or life. A mempsimoiros (Greek #3202) was a man who was for ever grumbling about life in general. Theophrastus was the great master of the Greek character sketch, and he has a mocking study of the mempsimoiros (Greek #3202), which is worth quoting in full:

Querulousness is an undue complaining about one's lot; the

querulous man will say to him that brings him a portion from his

friend's table: "You begrudged me your soup or your collops, or

you would have asked me to dine with you in person." When

his mistress is kissing him he says, "I wonder whether you kiss me

so warmly from your heart." He is displeased with Zeus, not

because he sends no rain, but because he has been so tong about

sending it. When he finds a purse in the street, it is: "Ah! but I

never found a treasure." When he has bought a slave cheap with

much importuning the seller, he cries: "I wonder if my bargain's

too cheap to be good." When they bring him the good news

that he has a son born to him, then it is: "If you add that I

have lost half my fortune, you'll speak the truth." Should this

man win a suit-at-law by a unanimous verdict, he is sure to find

fault with his speech-writer for omitting so many of the pleas.

And if a subscription has been got up for him among his friends,

and one of them says to him: "You can cheer up now," he will say:

"What? when I must repay each man his share, and be beholden

to him into the bargain?"

Here, vividly drawn by Theophrastus' subtle pen, is the picture of a man who can find something to grumble about in any situation. He can find some fault with the best of bargains, the kindest of deeds, the most complete of successes, the richest of good fortune. "There is great gain in godliness with contentment" (1 Timothy 6:6); but the evil men are chronically discontented with life and with the place in life that God has given to them. There are few people more unpopular than chronic grumblers and all such might do well to remember that such grumbling is in its own way an insult to God.

(ii) Jude reiterates a point about these wicked men, which he has made again and again--their conduct is governed by their desires. To them self-discipline and self-control are nothing; to them the moral law is only a burden and a nuisance; honour and duty have no claim upon them; they have no desire to serve and no sense of responsibility. Their one value is pleasure and their one dynamic is desire. If all men were like that, the world would be in complete chaos.

(iii) They speak with pride and arrogance, yet at the same time they are ready to pander to the great, if they think that they can get anything out of it. It is perfectly possible for a man at one and the same time to be a bombastic creature towards the people he wishes to impress and a flattering lick-spittle to the people whom he thinks important. Jude's opponents are glorifiers of themselves and flatterers of others, as they think the occasion demands; and their descendants are sometimes still among us.

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF ERROR (1) (Jude 1:17-19)

1:17-19 But you, beloved, you must remember the words which were once spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; you must remember that they said to us: "In the last time there will be mockers, whose conduct is governed by their own impious desires." These are the people who set up divisions--fleshly creatures, without the Spirit.

Jude points out to his own people that nothing has happened which they might not have expected. The apostles had given warning that in the last times just such evil men as are now among them would come. The actual words of Jude's quotation are not in any New Testament book. He may be doing any one of three things. He may be quoting some apostolic book which we no longer possess. He may be quoting, not a book, but some oral tradition of the apostolic preaching; or some sermon which he himself had heard from the apostles. He may be giving the general sense of a passage like 1 Timothy 4:1-3. In any event he is telling his people that error was only to be expected in the church. From this passage we can see certain of the characteristics of these evil men.

(i) They mock at goodness and their conduct is governed by their own evil desires. The two things go together. These opponents of Jude had two characteristics, as we have already seen. They believed the body, being matter, was evil; and that, therefore, it made no difference if a man sated its desires. Further, they argued that, since grace could forgive any sin, sin did not matter. These heretics had a third characteristic. They believed that they were the advanced thinkers; and they regarded those who observed the old moral standards as old-fashioned and out of date.

That point of view is by no means dead. There are still those who believe that the once--accepted standards of morality and fidelity, especially in matters of sex, are quite out of date. There is a terrible text in the Old Testament: "The fool says in his heart, There is no God" (Psalms 53:1). In that text fool does not mean the brainless man; it means the man who is playing the fool. And the fact that he says there is no God is entirely due to wishful thinking. He knows that, if there is a God, he is wrong and can look for judgment; therefore, he eliminates him. In the last analysis those who eliminate the moral law and give free rein to their passions and desires, do so because they want to do as they like. They listen to themselves instead of listening to God--and they forget that there will come a day when they will be compelled to listen to him.

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF ERROR (2) (Jude 1:17-19 continued)

(ii) These evil men have a second characteristic. They set up divisions--they are fleshly creatures, without the Spirit. Here is a most significant thought--to set up divisions within the church is always sin. These men set up divisions in two ways.

(a) As we have already seen, even at the Love Feasts they had their own little cliques. By their conduct they were steadily destroying fellowship within the church. They were drawing a circle to shut men out instead of drawing a circle to take them in.

(b) But they went further. There were certain thinkers in the early church who had a way of looking at human nature which essentially split men into two classes. To understand this we must know something of Greek psychology. To the Greek man was body (soma, Greek #4983), soul (psuche, Greek #5590) and spirit (pneuma, Greek #4151). Soma (Greek #4983) was simply man's physical construction. Psuche (Greek #5590) is more difficult to understand. To the Greeks soul, psuche (Greek #5590), was simply physical life; everything that lived and breathed had psuche (Greek #5590). Pneuma (Greek #4151), spirit, was quite different, it belonged to man alone, and was that which made him a thinking creature, kin to God, able to speak to God and to hear him.

These thinkers went on to argue that all men possessed psuche (Greek #5590), but very few really possessed pneuma (Greek #4151). Only the really intellectual, the elite, possessed pneuma (Greek #4151); and, therefore, only the very few could rise to real religion. The rest must be content to walk on the lower levels of religious experience.

They, therefore, divided men into two classes. There were the psuchikoi (Greek #5591), who were physically alive but intellectually and spiritually dead. We might call them the fleshly creatures. All they possessed was flesh and blood life; intellectual progress and spiritual experience were beyond them. There were the pneumatikoi (Greek #4152), who were capable of real intellectual knowledge, real knowledge of God and real spiritual experience. Here was the creation of an intellectual and spiritual aristocracy over against the common herd of men.

Further, these people who believed themselves to be the pneumatikoi (Greek #4152), believed that they were exempt from all the ordinary laws governing a man's conduct. Ordinary people might have to observe the accepted standards but they were above that. For them sin did not exist; they were so advanced that they could do anything and be none the worse. We may well remember that there are still people who believe that they are above the laws, who say in their hearts that it could never happen to them and believe that they can get away with anything.

We can now see how cleverly Jude deals with these people who say that the rest of the world are the psuchikoi (Greek #5591), while they are the pneumatikoi (Greek #4152). Jude takes their words and reverses them. "It is you," he thunders at them, "who are the psuchikoi (Greek #5591), the flesh-dominated; it is you who possess no pneuma (Greek #4151), no real knowledge and no experience of God." Jude is saying to these people that, although they think themselves the only truly religious people, they have no real religion at all. Those whom they despise are, in fact, much better than they are themselves.

The truth about these so-called intellectual and spiritual people was that they desired to sin and twisted religion into a justification for sin.

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF GOODNESS (Jude 1:20-21)

1:20-21 But you, beloved, must build yourselves up on the foundation of your most holy faith; you must pray in the Holy Spirit; you must keep yourselves in the love of God; while you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ which will bring you to life eternal.

In the previous passage Jude described the characteristics of error, here he describes the characteristics of goodness.

(i) The good man builds up his life on the foundation of the most holy faith. That is to say, the life of the Christian is founded, not on something which he manufactured himself, but on something which he received. There is a chain in the transmission of the faith. The faith came from Jesus to the apostles; it came from the apostles to the church; and it comes from the church to us. There is something tremendous here. It means that the faith which we hold is not merely someone's personal opinion; it is a revelation which came from Jesus Christ and was preserved and transmitted within his church, always under the care and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, from generation to generation.

That faith is a most holy faith. Again and again we have seen the meaning of this word holy. Its root meaning is different. That which is holy is different from other things, as the priest is different from other worshippers, the Temple different from other buildings, the Sabbath different from other days and God supremely different from men.

Our faith is different in two ways. (a) It is different from other faiths and from philosophies in that it is not man-made but God-given, not opinion but revelation, not guessing but certainty. (b) It is different in that it has the power to make those who believe it different. It is not only a mind-changer but also a life-changer; not only an intellectual belief but also a moral dynamic.

(ii) The good man is a man of prayer. It has been put this way: "Real religion means dependence." The essence of religion is the admission of our total dependence on God; and prayer is the acknowledging of that dependence, and the going to God for the help we need. As Moffatt has it in a magnificent definition: "Prayer is love in need appealing to love in power." The Christian must be a man of prayer for at least two reasons. (a) He knows that he must test everything by the will of God and, therefore, he must take everything to God for his approval. (b) He knows that of himself he can do nothing but that with God all things are possible and, therefore, he must ever be taking his insufficiency to God's sufficiency.

Prayer, says Jude, is to be in the Holy Spirit. What he means is this. Our human prayers are at least sometimes bound to be selfish and blind. It is only when the Holy Spirit takes full possession of us that our desires are so purified that our prayers are right. The truth is that as Christians we are bound to pray to God, but he alone can teach us how to pray and what to pray for.

(iii) The good man keeps himself in the love of God. What Jude is thinking of here is the old covenant relationship between God and his people as described in Exodus 24:1-8. God came to his people promising that he would be their God and they would be his people; but that relationship depended on their accepting and obeying the law which he gave them. "God's love," Moffatt comments, "has its own terms of communion." It is true in one sense that we can never drift beyond God's love and care; but it is also true that, if we desire to remain in close communion with God, we must give him the perfect love and the perfect obedience which must ever go hand in hand.

(iv) The good man waits with expectation. He waits for the coming of Jesus Christ in mercy, love and power; for he knows that Christ's purpose for him is to bring him to life eternal, which is nothing other than the life of God himself.

RECLAIMING THE LOST (Jude 1:22-23)

1:22-23 Some of them you must argue out of their error, while they are still wavering. Others you must rescue by snatching them out of the fire. Others you must pity and fear at the same time, hating the garment stained by the flesh.

Different translators give differing translations of this passage. The reason is that there is much doubt as to what the true Greek text is. We have given the translation which we believe to be nearest to the sense of the passage.

Even to the worst heretics, even to those most far gone in error and to those whose beliefs are most dangerous, the Christian has a binding duty not to destroy but to save. His aim must be, not to banish them from the Christian church, but to win them back into the Christian fellowship. James Denney said that, to put the matter at its simplest, Jesus came to make bad men good. Sir John Seeley said: "When the power of reclaiming the lost dies out of the church, it ceases to be the church." As we have taken this passage, Jude divides the troublers of the church into three classes, to each of whom a different approach is necessary.

(i) There are those who are flirting with falsehood. They are obviously attracted by the wrong way and are on the brink of committing themselves to error, but are still hesitating before taking the final step. They must be argued out of their error while there is time. From this two things emerge as a duty.

(a) We must study to be able to defend the faith and to give a reason for the hope that is in us. We must know what we believe so that we can meet error with truth; and we must make ourselves able to defend the faith in such a way that our graciousness and sincerity may win others to it. To do this we must banish all uncertainty from our minds and all arrogance and intolerance from our approach to others.

(b) We must be ready to speak in time. Many a person would have been saved from error of thought and of action, if someone else had only spoken in time. Sometimes we hesitate to speak, but there are many times when silence is cowardly and can cause more harm than speech could ever cause. One of the greatest tragedies in life is when someone comes to us and says, "I would never have been in the mess I am now in, if someone--you, perhaps--had only spoken to me."

(ii) There are those who have to be snatched from the fire. They have actually started out on the wrong way and have to be stopped, as it were, forcibly, and even against their will. It is all very well to say that we must leave a man his freedom and that he has a right to do what he likes. All these things are in one sense true, but there are times when a man must be even forcibly saved from himself.

(iii) There are those whom we must pity and fear at one and the same time. Here Jude is thinking of something which is always true. There is danger to the sinner; but there is also danger to the rescuer. He who would cure an infectious disease runs the risk of infection. Jude says that we must hate the garment stained by the flesh. Almost certainly he is thinking here of the regulations in Leviticus 13:47-52, where it is laid down that the garment worn by a person discovered to be suffering from leprosy must be burned. The old saying remains true--we must love the sinner but hate the sin. Before a man can rescue others, he must himself be strong in the faith. His own feet must be firm on the dry land before he can throw a lifebelt to the man who is likely to be swept away. The simple fact is that the rescue of those in error is not for everyone to attempt. Those who would win others for Christ must themselves be very sure of him; and those who would fight the disease of sin must themselves have the strong antiseptic of a healthy faith. Ignorance can never be met with ignorance, nor even with partial knowledge; it can be met only by the affirmation, "I know whom I have believed."

THE FINAL ASCRIPTION OF PRAISE (Jude 1:24-25)

1:24-25 Unto him who is able to keep you from slipping and to make you stand blameless and exultant in the presence of his glory, to the only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and power, before all time, at this present time, and for all time. Amen.

Jude comes to an end with a tremendous ascription of praise.

Three times in the New Testament praise is given to the God who is able. In Romans 16:25 Paul gives praise to the God who is able to strengthen us. God is the one person who can give us a foundation for life which nothing and no one can ever shake. In Ephesians 3:20 Paul gives praise to the God who is able to do far more than we can ever ask or even dream of. He is the God whose grace no man has every exhausted and on whom no claim can ever be too much.

Here Jude offers his praise to the God who is able.

(i) God is able to keep us from slipping. The word is aptaistos (Greek #679). It is used both of a sure-footed horse which does not stumble and of a man who does not fall into error. "He will not let your foot be moved," or as the Scottish metrical version has it, "Thy foot he'll not let slide" (Psalms 121:3). To walk with God is to walk in safety even on the most dangerous and the most slippery path. In mountaineering climbers are roped together so that even if the inexperienced climber should slip, the skilled mountaineer can take his weight and save him. Even so, when we bind ourselves to God, he keeps us safe.

(ii) He can make us stand blameless in the presence of his glory. The word for blameless is amomos (Greek #299). This is characteristically a sacrificial word; and it is commonly and technically used of an animal which is without spot or blemish and is therefore fit to be offered to God. The amazing thing is that when we submit ourselves to God, his grace can make our lives nothing less than a sacrifice fit to offer to him.

(iii) He can bring us into his presence exultant. Surely the natural way to think of entry into the presence of God is in fear and in shame. But by the work of Jesus Christ and in the grace of God, we know that we can go to God with joy and with all fear banished. Through Jesus Christ, God the stern Judge has become known to us as God the loving Father.

We note one last thing. Usually we associate the word Saviour with Jesus Christ, but here Jude attaches it to God. He is not alone in this, for God is often called Saviour in the New Testament (Luke 1:47; 1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Timothy 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:10; Titus 1:3; Titus 2:10; Titus 3:4). So we end with the great and comforting certainty that at the back of everything there is a God whose name is Saviour. The Christian has the joyous certainty that in this world he lives in the love of God and that in the next world he goes to that love. The love of God is at once the atmosphere and the goal of all his living.

-Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT)

FURTHER READING

Jude

C. Bigg, St. Peter and St. Jude (ICC G)

C. E. B. Cranfield, 1 and 2 Peter and Jude (Tch; E)

J. B. Mayor, The Second Epistle of St. Peter and the Epistle of St. Jude (MmC G)

J. Moffatt, The General Epistles: James, Peter and Jude (MC E)

Abbreviations

ICC: International Critical Commentary

MC: Moffatt Commentary

MmC: Macmillan Commentary

Tch: Torch Commentary

E: English Text

G: Greek Text

-Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT)

 


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Bibliography Information
Barclay, William. "Commentary on Jude 1:4". "William Barclay's Daily Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dsb/jude-1.html. 1956-1959.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, October 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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