Updated September 3, 2020
Commentary: Jude was encouraging to the Christians in this letter that they were faithful; however, he wanted to warn people of how false teachers (evil teachers) creep in unsuspecting into the church. There are many false teachers and heretics in the church today. Punishment is assured for those who distort or inflate the Gospel of Jesus Christ (especially to make the Gospel give them the freedom to practice immorality.
Don’t be surprised, as this kind of thing is very common in the church today. There are many church leaders who purposely try to make the Gospel fit around their agenda. The most common ways they do this are the following (and be sure to flee if you see any of these signs):
- Paying the pastor a salary (Jesus speaks against this in John 10:12-13). This is a sign of greed or lack of compassion (why would you want to accept money from the same ones you are feeding when it is God’s Will to provide for them freely the Gospel?)
- Giving church leaders or teachers a title in front of their name (Jesus warned against this). This is a warning against spiritual leaders in the use of pride or authority.
- Teaching the prosperity gospel (Paul warned about this in 1 Timothy 6:5, 9-11; Jesus warned His disciples that money is not a target for the godly in Matthew 8:20 – Wouldn’t Jesus have pursued abstract wealth if it were usual for the godly to do so?)
- Teaching baptismal regeneration (baptism is required for Salvation)(Jesus speaks against it in Acts 1:5).
- Involvement in Sodomy (God destroyed the works of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18:20-21; See also 2 Peter 2:6-10).
Although this list is not exhaustive, and there are so many more warnings, Jude does not seem to give much more warnings. He feels that it is important to also encourage the Christian. People may belong to a Christian community, or might be called preacher or teacher – but that is no guarantee that they are saved, called, or holy.
God’s People were delivered from Egypt, but the evil ones were destroyed in judgment. Angels have a high status; however, some rebelled and were destroyed. Sodom and Gomorrah may have been great cities; however, their destruction was because of their overall sins (immorality).
How to discover these false teachers? False teachers or ungodly teachers have no understanding of spiritual things, for they just react to physical instincts. They have Cain’s jealousy, Balaam’s greed, and even Korah’s spirit of rebellion against authority. When it comes to fellowship meals, their behavior is outrageous, and they are fruitless: amounting to nothing good.
Enoch’s prophecy told of the assured punishment coming to ungodly people; therefore, if they criticize, flatter, grumble, boast, etc. – they are just doing so that they benefit personally. However, personal benefit from spiritual and Bible teaching are abominable.
Jude wanted to finish by encouraging the Christians of the apostles’ saying that false teachers and heretics were coming to try to mislead the church and people outside the church. Being more sincere in prayer, hating sin, and loving God were all very important to avoid being affected by false teachers.
Jude then praises the Lord with magnificence, noting His Majesty and Authority – which by that power were all Christians saved! God will keep His People safe from destructive corruption, and one day bring Christians into His Heavenly Presence! 🙂
Lessons and other notes from Jude
As far as similarities to 2 Peter, we see that they oppose similar errors, and one may have borrowed from the other – or, they both used the same material that was to deal with false teaching of this time. Many argue that 2 Peter is just an expansion of Jude, or that Jude was written later and was expanded on part of 2 Peter. It is mostly just 2 Peter 2:1-3:3 that resemble Jude 4-16. If 2 Peter were an expansion of Jude, then date Jude was written would be around 65 AD with 2 Peter written just before Peter died. If Jude were taken from 2 Peter, then the date of Jude’s writing would be around 66-67 AD (between the death of Peter and fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD).
To this writer, however, it appears that Jude was written after 2 Peter, for Jude speaks in the present tense through his Epistle as if false teachers are currently present. 2 Peter, though, is referring more into the future as a warning that they will appear more and more even though the beginning of concern is present. Jude 17-18 speak of Apostles of the past.
Ungodly men in verse 11: The false teachers spoken of do not understand spiritual things well. They have Cain’s jealousy, Balaam’s greed, and Korah’s spirit of rebellion against authority. Korah is also “Core.” In following the way of Cain, they followed his manners and fell under his punishment. Cain hated his brother and slew him – they hate their brethren, by their false doctrines/deceits, murder their souls, and stir up persecution. In following after Balaam’s greed, for they were involved in covetousness, to which being excessively addicted – for they did it for the sake of filthy money corrupting the doctrine of Christ. They perished in the gainsaying of Core/Korah, which affected the priesthood, and rose up against Moses and Aaron, but perishing in the attempt. This is just like imitating a rebellion against Christ. They despise dominion and speaking evil – which leads to their destruction.
Contending for the faith: Contending for the faith means to encourage Christians to hold firmly to the truth they have heard and fight against those who want to destroy it. Epaphras was one who worked faithfully and prayerfully. Paul was one who wanted to strive hard at his work. Athletes have strict training, and Christians should do the same in striving for mastery in their work for the faith!
Those who slip in unaware have such characteristics:
- They don’t control their passions nor their words.
- They commit immoral sexual acts.
- They insult both God and Angels.
- They have no understanding of spiritual things. (They act according to their physical instincts as animals do.)
- They have Cain’s jealousy.
- They have Balaam’s greed.
- They have Korah’s spirit of rebellion against authority.
- Their behavior at a Christian fellowship meal is a disgrace.
According to verses 14-16 of Jude, they will have God’s punishment, and we should not worry about directly dealing with them. Jude prays that they will be kept from falling and hopes for the best against these false teachers.
Jude could’ve gone on a lot longer in his writing, wherefore, he had much to say and it seemed that the information was so limited. However, this book serves as a last hope to warn people of deceivers before things were to get ugly in the return of Christ, persecution and destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, among other things going on in that day. However, the book also serves as a wonderful reminder to keep ourselves in the love of God, and focus on Jesus Christ.
We are instructed, just as the other teachers helped, to look for deceivers and know their signs. Above that, though, walk in love and humility; focusing on building each other up and moving forward on His desires, not worldly desires. We need to remember the words of Jesus Christ, and the Apostles that followed and hold true to those, instead of gratifying something “new” and “fresh” in today’s societal realm.
We have more to look forward to when we stick to what Christ instructed us in, for He is the hope and glory! He is our excellent Lord, our King, and our wonderful friend that sticks closer than a brother. We shouldn’t let ourselves become astray with deceivers, sinful acts, and other harsh things that damage our relationship with God. We look forward to His glory only and hope for a bright future!