Should You Treat Everyone the Same?

Jude 18-19 – They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.

Some of the worst advice we give people, starting when they are young, is to treat everyone the same. The truth is that we should treat different people differently. Not everyone is safe, and dangerous people should not be treated the same as loving, godly, healthy, and safe people. There are three groups of people that Jude distinguishes, and he treats each group very differently, instructing Christians to do the same. 

One, the wise people are mature Christians who Jude is encouraging to help act as shepherds, looking after and building up the new and immature Christians. The wise people in the church are called “beloved” four times as people, “kept for Jesus Christ”, and recipients of “mercy”, which is mentioned four times along with, “peace, and love” from God. With pastoral affection, Jude encourages these believers that they have the “Holy Spirit” who ensures “eternal life” and a blameless eternity in Jesus’ Kingdom.

Two, the foolish people are immature (and possibly new Christians) whom Jude is treating as sheep vulnerable to wolves that have invaded the local church flock. The wise people in the church are encouraged to protect these sheep against the wolves and both “have mercy on those who doubt” and “save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy without fear…” 

Three, the evil people are deceptive, dangerous, and divisive apostates as, “Apostasy is the turning away from God in rebellion or apathy. God’s people must beware of inward rebelliousness as much as the outward wickedness that manifests such rebellion.” (1)

Apostates are not lost people who need Jesus. Apostates are people who profess to be Christians, build relationships with Christians in a church to earn trust and cause division, but do not believe what the Bible teaches or behave how the Bible commands. In Jesus’ day, one of his 12 disciples who ultimately betrayed Him, Judas Iscariot, serves as a frightening example of an apostate. Because they have relationships with Christians in a church, often find their way into leadership or teaching roles, and are cunningly deceptive, apostates are particularly dangerous, just like a wolf who gets into a pen with vulnerable sheep. Today, there is a generational avalanche of apostasy in the Church starting with issues of gender, sex, and sexuality as people do not want Jesus to be Lord over their loins. 

If you were to explain to a new Christian how to discern the difference between good and evil, how would you explain it? 

  1. Michael R. Jones, “Apostasy,” ed. Douglas Mangum et al., Lexham Theological Wordbook, Lexham Bible Reference Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014).

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