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. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about 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.
Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 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. 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.
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. 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!” 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.
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.
These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted —twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.
Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.
Jude, the author of this short letter, is the half brother of Jesus. Many see Jude as a companion letter to 2 Peter since Jude writes concerning the same heresy (Gnosticism) as Peter. The theme of this book is assurance in the days of apostacy. Jude warns his readers about false teachers and their negative impact on the mission of the church. Jude records the prophecy of Enoch, which is found nowhere else in Scripture. The prophecy of Jude provides a fitting introduction to the Book of Revelation.
Jude begins this letter by instructing believers to “contend for the faith.” This in stark contrast to apostacy which is a “departure from the faith.” Jude felt the need to write about this since he was already seeing the signs of people following false teachers and abandoning the faith they once held dear. Jude is saying that we must contend or defend the great doctrines of biblical Christianity.
In verse four, Jude acknowledges that these false teachers are already present in the early church. Like Peter, he describes these men as ungodly and carnal. They abused the grace of God and used it as a license to sin. Then Jude gives his readers a little history lesson from the Old Testament. Jude shows how Israel “departed from the faith” and the devastating consequences that followed.
In verse eight, Jude likens the false teachers of his day to those in the Old Testament. He identifies these false teachers as filthy dreamers, defilers of the flesh, rejecters of authority, and those who disrespect what is right. This is almost the same description that we saw in 2 Peter. Like Peter, he references “Balaam’s error.” This once again shows that the motive of these false teachers is personal financial gain.
In verses twelve through sixteen, Jude will continue to describe these false shepherds so that his readers would recognize these apostates and have nothing to do with them. In verses fourteen and fifteen, Jude references the apocryphal Book of Enoch. This book is not part of the canon of Scripture. Yet in it, Enoch prophesies regarding false teachers in the last days. It is a prophecy concerning the coming of Christ with His saints. The point of this prophecy is that Christ will one day return to execute judgment upon all. This includes all the false teachers from the beginning of time. Jude is assuring his readers that these false teachers will be judged for leading God’s people astray.
Questions to Ponder
How are you contending for the faith? Are you able to recognize false teachers? What can we learn from history about departing from the faith? What are you doing to prepare for the imminent return of Christ?
- Thank the Lord for calling you into His glorious light; thank Him for your salvation.
- Ask the Lord to protect you and His people from false teachers. Pray for us to be wise and discerning.
- Pray we will respond with grace and truth as we contend for the faith, with eyes fixed on Him.
Oh God, help us, Your church, to build ourselves up in Your most holy faith and to pray in the Holy Spirit. Help us to persevere by the power of the Holy Spirit, with eternity set before us. Help us to long for the day of Your returning and that this reality will cause us to live differently. Help us to live for You, bringing You honor, glory, and praise. Help us love You with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love others as ourselves. In the name of Jesus Christ, I ask. Amen.