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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Jude 1



Verse 1

Judges 1:1. Jude.

That is to say Judas, not Iscariot, —

Judges 1:1. The servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, —

He does not say, “and brother of our Lord,” for we know that James and Judas were both of them among the Lord’s kinsman according to the flesh; but now, after the flesh, knoweth he even Christ no more, but is content and happy to be known as “the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,” —

Judges 1:1. To them that are sanctified by God the Father,

For the decree of election, the setting apart of the chosen is usually ascribed unto God the Father.

Judges 1:1. And preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

We have here a very blessed description of the whole work of our salvation, — set apart by the Father, joined unto Christ, and preserved in him, and then, in due time, called out by the Spirit of God.

Judges 1:2. Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.

Christian letters should be full of love and good will. The Christian dispensation breathes beneficence, it is full of benediction: “Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.” May the Divine Trinity give you a trinity of blessings!

Judges 1:3. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints.

In the sense of being once for all given to the saints, the faith of Christians is not a variable quantity. It is not a thing which changes from day to day, as some seem to suppose, vainly imagining that fresh light is bestowed upon each new generation. No, the truth was delivered once for all, it was stereotyped, fixed; and it is for us to hold it fast as God has given it to us.

Judges 1:4. For there are certain men crept in unawares, —

They did not boldly avow their heresy when they came in; — they would not have been allowed to enter if they had done so, — but they sneaked in, they climbed into the pulpit, professing to be preachers of the gospel, when they knew, all the while, that they intended to undermine it. Basest of all men are those who act thus: “There are certain men crept in unawares,” —

Judges 1:4. Who were before of old ordained to this condemnation,

Proscribed by God as traitors long ago. Those who have not the courage of their convictions probably have no convictions at all, but seek to undermine the faith which they profess to hold.

Judges 1:4. Ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Antinomians, “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness,” falsely declaring that the law has no binding force upon the Christian’s life, and saying that we may do evil that good may come; — and Socinians, “denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Judges 1:5. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

If we have no real faith, we may appear to go a long way towards heaven, but we shall not enter the heavenly Canaan.

Judges 1:6. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

See, then the need of stability, the need of abiding in the faith, and abiding in the practice of it, lest we should turn out to be like the Israelites, who, though they came out of Egypt, left their carcasses in the wilderness, or like the angels, who, though they once stood in God’s presence in glory, have fallen to the depths of the abyss because of their apostasy.

Judges 1:7-8. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. They cast off all restraint; they claim to have liberty to do whatever they like; and when reproved, they utter railing words against those who honestly rebuke them.

Judges 1:9. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

To what does this refer? I am sure I do not know. I cannot think it refers to anything recorded in the Old Testament, but to some fact, known to Jude, who here speaks by revelation, and records it. We believe it, and learn from it that, when an archangel disputes with the devil, he does not use hard words even against him, for hard words are an evidence of the weakness of the cause which they are used to support. Hard arguments softly put, are the really effective weapons, but it takes some of us a long time to learn this; and generally, in our younger days, we wear away our own strength by the violence with which we use it.

Judges 1:10. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.

It is a horrible thing when a man’s sin goes the full length of his knowledge, and he sins up to the degree of his possibilities.

Judges 1:11-12. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots —

“These are spoilers,” so it may be rendered.

Judges 1:12. In your feasts of charity,

They spoil your love feasts at the communion table, they mar your fellowship when you gather together for worship.

Judges 1:12. When they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear.

Some of the best Christians, who come to the Lord’s table, come there in great fear and trembling; and I have known some, who have had an undoubted right to be there, half afraid to come. Yet those very persons who have a holy fear lest they should come amiss, are those who really ought to come. “Feeding themselves without fear” is the mark of those who are farther off from God.

Judges 1:12. Clouds they are without water, carried about of winds.

They believe according to what is said to them by the last man who speaks to them; they are easily persuaded to this doctrine, and to that, and the other.

Judges 1:12. Trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit,

They seem to be bearing fruit, but it drops off before it ripens.

Judges 1:12-13. Twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, —

They have nothing to say for Christ, yet they must say something, so they are “raging waves of the sea,” —

Judges 1:13. Foaming out their own shame, wandering stars, to whom is reserved the thickness of darkness for ever.

These are the false professors of religion, the members of the church for whom there are seats reserved in hell. This is a dreadful thought: “to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever;” — not for the heathen, not for the open refusers of the gospel, but for such as creep into the churches unawares, teach false doctrine, live unholy lives.

Judges 1:14-15. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

How Jude knew that Enoch said that, I cannot tell; it is another instance of inspiration.

Judges 1:16. These are murmurers, complainers,

You know the sort of people alluded to here, nothing ever satisfies them. They are discontented even with the gospel. The bread of heaven must be cut into three pieces, and served on dainty napkins, or else they cannot eat it; and very soon their soul loatheth even this light bread. There is no way by which a Christian man can serve God so as to please them. They will pick holes in every preacher’s coat; and if the great High Priest himself were here, they would find fault with the color of the stones of his breastplate.

Judges 1:16-19. Walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should talk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

People who must, if they make a profession of religion at all, be continually breaking up churches, and holding themselves aloof from others, having no fellowship with anybody but those who can say “shibboleth” as plainly as they can, and sound they pretty loudly.

Judges 1:20-22. But ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference:

Some of those professors, who are not living consistently with their profession, in whom you can see signs and tokens of sin, yet there may be some trace of repentance, some reason to hope that they will forsake the evil when they see it to be evil: “have compassion” upon them.

Judges 1:23. And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

When you have to deal with unclean professors, there must be an abhorrence and detestation of their sin even when there is great gentleness towards the sinner. We must never be such believers in the repentance of the guilty as to be willing to wink at sin; for sin is a great evil in any case, and repentance cannot wipe it away; and though it behoves us to be tender to the sinner, we must never be tender to the sin. How beautifully this short and sad Epistle ends! Having described the many who, after making a profession, yet turn aside, Jude bursts out with this jubilant doxology: —

Judges 1:24-25. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Jude 1:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 27th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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