Jude 4 – For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Apostasy in our day is common among “churches” flying rainbow flags, progressive Christians, red-letter Christians, new evangelicals, and open and affirming synagogues of Satan. There are not two kinds of Christians – those who believe the Bible and those who do not. Those who believe the Bible are Christians, and those who do not are apostates.
The original Greek word for apostasy was derived from treason in battle. A military term, it referred to war when a soldier abandons their nation, betrays their king, and joins the enemy side of the battle.
The first apostate was Satan who then recruited angels he was in relationship with to war against God and godliness. In every age, Satan continues this apostasy, seeking to recruit people in churches to join his demons in the battle.
This explains why Jude refers to the fall of angels who became demons (5-7); along with Cain-Balaam-Korah who were all apostates either in belief or behavior (11). This apostasy is precisely what is occurring in Jude’s day, and our own, as the Bible does not tell us what used to happen, but rather what always happens.
One Bible commentary on the book of Jude summarizes the six marks of apostasy as:
- impiety (“ungodly,” vv. 4, 15, 18)
- arrogance, claiming a false authority (“denied … Jesus,” v. 4; “claim authority,” v. 8; “brag loudly about themselves,” v. 16) and even “scoff at supernatural beings” (v. 8)
- immorality (“grace allows us to live immoral lives,” v. 4; “live immoral lives,” v. 8; “ungodly desires,” vv. 16, 18; “follow their natural instincts,” v. 19)
- greed (“deceive people for money,” v. 11; “care only for themselves,” v. 12; “flatter others to get what they want,” v. 16)
- rebellion (“defy authority,” v. 8; “scoff at supernatural beings,” v. 8, and at “things they do not understand,” v. 10; likened to Korah’s rebellion, v. 11)
- divisiveness (“grumblers and complainers,” v. 16; “insults … spoken against him,” v. 15; “creating divisions among you,” v. 19) (1)
Another Bible commentary summarizes the book saying, “The epistle of Jude serves to cultivate faithfulness among true believers who are surrounded by apostasy.” (2)
In our day, the tone and tenor of Jude will seem, at first, unloving, intolerant, and judgmental to modern ears. Throughout the Bible, God is referred to as a Father, both for the Church on earth and in Heaven as His house, and Jesus as the door into the Father’s house.
Any good father knows they need to have a door on their house to protect the people who are part of the family from those who would want to do harm. A good father also warns their children that not everyone is safe, and that they should not automatically open the door to anyone who knocks on it. The entire reason that a good father does not welcome everyone into his house is because he is loving.
To be sure, those who are not welcomed into a family’s home may feel rejected, outcast, and unwelcome, but it is not so much because the good father hates them, but rather because he lovingly protects his family. Unlike our homes, the Father’s house is open to anyone who wants to join the family. They must simply pass by faith through the door of Jesus Christ and agree to obey the Father to live with their spiritual brothers and sisters.
In Jude, Jesus’ little brother is functioning as the spiritual father warning a local church that the family was in danger, some people did not belong to Jesus, and they were not obeying God the Father, which made them a threat to be dealt with.
Jude calls Christians “saints”, which means God sees us not based upon our sin but rather our Savior and His righteousness He has given to us. Read Ephesians 1 to learn more about your identity as a “saint” if you are a Christian.
- Grant R. Osborne, “Jude,” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: James, 1–2 Peter, Jude, Revelation, ed. Philip W. Comfort, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2011), 359.
- Erland Waltner and J. Daryl Charles, 1-2 Peter, Jude, Believers Church Bible Commentary (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1999), 282.
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