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  • Writer's pictureDwight Smith

Thoughts For Today From Jude

Surely a 2,000 year old letter can have little relevance for today, could it? Looking at the extreme movement taking place in theological convictions in denominations and churches, one could not be faulted for wondering weather anything we have received from our “fathers” over the last 2,000 years was “right?” Jude’s short letter is as timely today as it was the day it was written.


The challenge is not new, it has been predicted! The short book of Jude sounded the alarm on what we could expect from some, even inside the church. His words are short, crisp, alarming, and abrupt. We dare not miss this message from a book not preached from often enough. 


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Over the last weeks I have reread Jude multiple times. I was comforted to see the forward thinking of men like Jude from so along ago. Not only was I confirmed once again in the inspired, Holy Spirit breathed essence of the Bible, I was exercised about the danger of our day for Christians. Below are some of my musings. 


  1. These deceivers are more prevalent in our midst than we think. It’s seems always to be the same about deceivers. These “people have crept in unnoticed”. Some would say, surly not here, not in my church! But, so many have missed the signs of danger, and, too few are warning us about multiple heresies rooted in our midst. “Here is the problem. To be as blunt and as clear as possible because the issue could not be any more important, the doctrine of the eternal subordination of the Son (“for example”) is a heresy on par with unitarianism, pelagianism, or justification by works. Why then, do American evangelical colleges and seminaries continue to allow men who teach it to instruct their students? Why do American evangelical publishers continue to publish books by those who teach it? Why do American evangelical conferences still feature speakers who teach it? Why do American evangelical churches still ordain men who preach it?” (https://www.keithmathison.org/post/american-evangelicalism-s-toleration-of-heresy)

  2. They are more dangerous than we think. They are “people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” The book of 2 Peter, and especially the second chapter, tracks well with the warnings of Jude. “…just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” Peter adds, “And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.”

  3. We have to continue to build ourselves up. It is never hard to do so. But we must be intentional and consistent. For the only true antidote against the presence of heresy, is to build ourselves up in the faith. “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith”. Learning to pray in the Spirit, that is in the desires of the Spirit, for us and others. Staying rooted in the love of God. We discipline ourselves to wait “for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” Continually remembering He “who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,” 


In our journey along the path to eternity and our completed salvation, we must never forget the others around us who are also the target of Satan’s deceptions through these false people and teachers. They are struggling and need our active support. 


  1. Have mercy on the doubter. “And have mercy on those who doubt”

  2. Snatch others out of the fire. “save others by snatching them out of the fire;”

  3. To the deeply soiled with sins, show mercy with fear, hating even the soiled flesh. “to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh”


Some conclusions immediately come to my mind. 


  1. I continue to doubt that in this day and age of so many lies and deceptions, complicated by the “noise” of the decayed culture around us, that anything less than wide spread decentralized relational mentoring will achieve Jude’s primary desire: to help other confessing believers contend for the faith. We need to be catechized in our faith, both young and old. 

  2. The danger is more subversive than we think: these about whom Jude warns us are not immediately evident, but instead are posturing as true believers and trusted teachers. They are motivated by lawlessness, unseen to others, maybe even themselves. They reject authority, the first of which is the authority of Scripture and equally important, the life and words of our Lord Jesus Christ. But they have “snuck” into our midst, acting as if they are true Christians, or, maybe even, ignorant of how far they have wandered. No matter what the case, they are an extreme danger. They are happy to see us “unwittingly” follow them into apostasy. John MacArthur says of these pretenders, that, the Biblical emphasis “on character repeats the constant theme regarding false teachers—their personal corruption. teaching is clever, subtle, deceptive, enticing, and delivered in myriads of forms, the common way to recognize them is to look behind their false spiritual fronts and see their wicked lives” (https://www.gty.org/library/bible-introductions/MSB65/jude)

  3. All three admonitions by Jude in regards to action are counter to today’s nearly non existent mentorship of believers, and, even our evangelistic focus and modes. The most needy are: the doubters, those in the depths of the fire, those whose “garments” are deeply stained. The church at large would be greatly challenged to truly give itself to the kinds of people Jude describes.


Todays heresies are seeded and propagated by false people and teachers who have, at first, subversively infiltrated the church. And who, even now, have become so abundant as to live and teach openly. What are some of the most dangerous heresies of our day? 


  1. Antinomianism. “is any view which rejects laws or legalism and argues against moral, religious or social norms (Latin: mores), or is at least considered to do so.” (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antinomianism). In short, no one tells me what to do. I would add, in the theology of today, no boundaries. I can do all things, for I am free. 

  2. Pelagianism. “position that holds that the original sin did not taint human nature and that humans by divine grace have free will to achieve human perfection.” (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelagianism). In short, I am not as bad as you think. Or, God loves me in spite of myself, so I am free to be content in “me.”

  3. Salvation free and simple with no need to feel bound to Jesus as Lord. My life is my own, not his, except where His promise of eternal life touches me. A distorted view of grace and sanctification. ““As God’s Saviour-king, Jesus has absolute control over all creatures, and an absolute claim upon men. No man has a right not to be his disciple; and equally, no man need fear once he has become his disciple. (18 Words J. I. Packer,https://books.apple.com/us/book/18-words/id55008906)

  4. What I feel has equal weight to what the Bible actually says. A rejection of Biblical inspiration. 

  5. Deism. “Deism is the belief in the existence of God, specifically in a creator who does not intervene in the universe after creating it,[8][12] solely based on rational thought without any reliance on revealed religions or religious authority.[13] Deism emphasizes the concept of natural theology (that is, God's existence is revealed through nature). This is a rejection of the personal, creator God as revealed in the Bible, who is indeed daily involved in the sustaining of all that is. To be influenced by any form of deism is to reject the God of the Bible who invites us daily to know Him and submit to Him. 

  6. “Subordination of the Son.” This teaching says that the Son is eternally subordinate to the Father. It opens the door for the Spirit to be eternally subordinate to the Son. Rather than all with equal God nature, but separate persons. what I would call a perfect interdependence, there is instead a type of hierarchy. “The problem is that whether they know it or not, those who affirm the eternal subordination of the Son are teaching one of the very doctrines condemned as heresy by the fourth-century proponents of Nicene trinitarian orthodoxy.” (https://www.keithmathison.org/post/american-evangelicalism-s-toleration-of-heresy)


How do these heresies come to us and tempt us to “turn” back, or maybe worse, “temper” our faith.

 

  1. They have power because we do not spend enough time in Scripture, therefore we don’t recognize what we are hearing, or teaching!! 

  2. They have power because we “like” the song, but fail to ask the question, is it true Biblically 

  3. They have power because we “like” the sermon, but fail to ask the question , is it faithful to Scripture. 

  4. They have power because we “like” the people, but fail to ask the question, which path are they following. So, rather than being able to influence them, we are influenced by them. 

  5. They have power because we “like” the leader, but fail to ask the equally important questions about their life.


“Theological heresy is deadly, not only to the church as a body, but to the souls of the individuals within it. It will always kill a church that tolerates and coddles it. The State of Theology survey has repeatedly revealed that large percentages of American evangelicalism do not have a grasp of even the most basic biblical doctrines. We can't recognize heresy if we don't know what orthodoxy is.” (https://www.keithmathison.org/post/american-evangelicalism-s-toleration-of-heresy)


Jude has a timely warning for us!

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