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Needful ; on account of their danger from false teachers.
The faith ; the truths taught by Christ and his apostles. Ministers in addressing their people should select such subjects as are pertinent to their circumstances; especially should they warn their hearers against prevailing errors which tend to draw them from the faith and practice of the gospel.
Unawares ; by stealth.
Of old ordained ; whose coming, character, and punishment have been foretold by ancient prophets, and by Christ and his apostles.
Turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness ; so perverting the doctrine of divine grace as to make it an excuse for living in the indulgence of fleshly lusts, and teaching others to do the same.
Denying the only Lord God , and our Lord Jesus Christ ; in doctrine by rejecting the truths revealed by God through Christ, and in practice by trampling under foot Christ’s commands.
Their first estate ; or, as in the margin, their principality; which seems to denote the rank and office assigned to them by their Creator among the heavenly hosts.
Left their own habitation ; became discontented with their condition, and refused to do the will of God, in the place assigned to them 2 Peter 2:4 . We know nothing further concerning their fall than the brief hints of Scripture, and all speculation on the subject is vain.
Suffering the vengeance of eternal fire ; they were cast into endless perdition with the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:41 . Of this the flames which consumed their cities and made them desolate for ever were a solemn symbol. Genesis 19:24-25 . The destruction of the Israelites, of the inhabitants of Sodom, and of the angels that sinned, is recorded for the warning of sinners in all ages, and to show that however great the blessings men may enjoy, if they reject the gospel, or continue in sin, they will inevitably and awfully perish.
Dreamers ; the false teachers referred to.
Despise dominion ; spurn obedience to law, human and divine.
Of dignities ; persons called by God to stations of authority or honor. 1 Peter 2:10 .
The archangel ; the word archangel means a chief angel, or ruler of angels. the inspired writers of the New Testament occasionally refer, as is done here and in verse Judges 1:14 , to events not recorded in the Old Testament, but handed down in tradition. Compare 2 Timothy 3:8 . We know nothing more of the event here referred to than what Jude has given us.
Durst not ; not because he feared the devil, but because he feared God, and feared to commit sin by using reproachful language.
Rebuke thee ; restrain thy rage, control, and punish thee. Holy beings will not use reproachful epithets even towards the devil, much less towards men, especially magistrates, and those whom God requires us to honor. Those who delight in such language show themselves to be servants of the evil one.
These ; false, wicked teachers.
Know not ; do not rightly understand.
Know naturally ; by instinct, such as the indulgence of animal appetites and passions.
The way of Cain ; relying on their own wisdom and goodness, and not on the wisdom and grace of God; envying, hating, and destroying those who were better and more highly favored than themselves. Genesis 4:4-8 .
The error of Balaam ; loving and coveting money. Numbers 22:7-21 ; 2 Peter 2:15 .
Core ; Korah. Numbers 16:1-33 .
Spots ; rather, sunken rocks, exposing to destruction the voyager that comes upon them.
Feasts of charity ; among the brethren, where purity and temperance ought to have prevailed.
Clouds-trees-raging waves-wandering stars ; those false teachers were in many respects like these things; disappointing all just expectations, corrupting and exposing to destruction all who came under their influence, and themselves doomed to destruction.
Having men’s persons in admiration ; paying court to the corrupt, the rich, and the great, to further their own selfish designs. Pride, covetousness, and sensuality have ever been besetting sins with false teachers of religion: and they have flattered the wicked, the rich, and the great, to obtain means for their own selfish gratification. Holy men have always opposed them, pointed out their errors, and foretold their certain destruction if they continue in sin.
A thorough acquaintance with the declarations of Scripture is a great safeguard against the seductions of error, and one of the chief means of preservation from sin. It is one by which the Holy Ghost, who dwells in believers, operates in enlightening their minds and purifying their hearts; guiding them in duty, shielding them from danger, keeping them in the fear and love of God, in the patient waiting for Jesus Christ, and in habitual preparation for his coming and kingdom.
Separate themselves ; by withdrawing themselves and leading off their followers from the faithful, who adhere to the doctrines and duties of the gospel.
Sensual ; wickedly indulging their appetites and passions.
Having not the Spirit ; not under his guidance, nor partakers of his salvation.
Building up yourselves ; by increasing in the knowledge and love of God, of his truth and will, and in devotion of body and soul to his service.
In the Holy Ghost ; according to his directions, under his influence, and by his aid.
Keep yourselves in the love of God ; by hearkening diligently to his voice in the Scriptures, believing heartily his declarations, and cheerfully, steadfastly, and perseveringly obeying his commands.
Looking for the mercy ; desiring and expecting salvation only through rich grace in Christ.
Of some ; who have been bewildered as to truth and duty, seduced into error and sin.
Making a difference ; according to their character, condition, and wants; treating them gently and kindly, and thus alluring them back to truth and duty.
Others save with fear ; present alarming considerations to arouse them, as you would were they asleep in a house on fire.
Hating even the garment ; abhorring and avoiding every thing connected with these transgressions, or tending to defile you. In our efforts to reclaim and save men, great wisdom is needful, to adapt the means used to their various cases. Some must be allured by kindness, and efforts for them should be gentle, as those of a nurse with her children. Others must be aroused by terrors, and urged by the thunders of coming wrath. 1 Thessalonians 2:7 ; 2 Corinthians 5:11 .
Falling ; from truth and duty into error and sin. In all efforts for our own good and that of others we should depend for success wholly upon the grace of God, who is able to save us from sin, to keep us from falling into it, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory, with exceeding and eternal joy. To him belongs the glory of all the good which is done or enjoyed, and to him should be given all the praise for ever. Amen.
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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Judges 1". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany