Jude 1–11 (NKJV)
The book of Jude is one chapter long, like 2 John and 3 John. It has more verses, and is deeper theologically than the other two short letters. Jude calls out apostasy and calls the church to a more full walk with God in holiness.
1 Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,
To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:
2 Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.Jude 1-2
In this brief greeting, Jude uses a format similar to those of John and Paul, identifying himself and identifying his audience, the called and sanctified believers. He offers them a blessing of mercy, peace, and love multiplied many times over.
3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.Jude 3-4
Jude makes it clear that his aim in this letter is to encourage believers to pay close attention to their salvation. He uses a sports or military analogy, exhorting believers to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” He declares that the faith delivered to them by their fathers and leaders is still genuine and right, then warns them that the apostates have crept into the ranks of the believers to deny the validity of the Lord Jesus Christ. These men were determined long ago to be deceivers, and to face the condemnation of a deceiver. They are ungodly, and pervert the gospel and the grace of God into something lewd and ungodly. They are destined for destruction for their role in the deception of the church.
5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.Jude 5-11
8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. 11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.
Jude then lifts up the example of those who once served the Lord and then fell into apostasy and judgement. He identifies the Israelites who were miraculously delivered from Egypt, only to fall in the wilderness prior to entering the promised land because of their unbelief and disobedience. He also identifies the angels who followed the example of Lucifer, seeking to be equal with God, which was not their domain. They were cast out of heaven and reserved for eternal punishment. Sodom and Gomorrah are marked here as having lived a lifestyle of sexual immorality, going after strange flesh, and were made an example by a punishment of fire rained down from heaven. Jude likens the apostates of the church of his day to these sinful men and women who refused to believe God and respect His instructions. They speak evil against dignitaries, which not even Michal the archangel would do to the devil himself. They speak evil of anything which they do not know about or understand. They defile themselves with strange people and things, bringing judgement upon their heads. Jude declares, “Woe to them!” They have gone the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. They have followed all the bad examples of their fathers who were judged, and have not learned from their trouble. They walk down the same dark roads as the sinners and rebels of days gone by, and have not sought the light. For this, they are marked for destruction and have little hope. They have walked away from the truth and have become without knowledge, bound for a devil’s hell. They are sad expressions of the mistakes of their ancestors, and perpetuate the evil of their forefathers. May God help them, for they have no hope! Be careful to continue walking in the path of righteousness, for the path of apostasy leads to hell and destruction. Contend for the faith and walk with God!