Summary: As some move away from 2000 years of traditional Christianity, does Jude have anything to say? Would the author approve or disapprove of such progressive theology? Was our faith meant to move on from what the Apostles wrote in the New Testament?
As some move away from 2000 years of traditional Christianity, does Jude have anything to say? Would the author approve or disapprove of such progressive theology? Was our faith meant to move on from what the Apostles wrote in the New Testament? Purpose: Let’s see if Jude gives us some help. Plan: We will examine Jude and his opinion of the faith delivered to us.
Who was Jude
Jude was probably the younger brother of James, president of the Jerusalem council and therefore a younger half-brother of our Lord. Without further evidence, the Protestant idea of Jude being younger makes sense. This is contrary to Catholic and Orthodox tradition that his father Joseph was a widow with older sons and a younger Christ was Mary’s only son. During His infancy, when Joseph and Mary left for Egypt, there is no biblical mention at all of any older step-brothers. Of course, the Bible does not give every detail, and anything is possible. What is universally understood is that Jesus’ half or step brothers only came to faith after Christ’s resurrection.
Contend for the Faith
Jude 3 says, “I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” The words “contend earnestly” imply that we fight as well as build (Nehemiah 4:16-18). This faith ought not be watered down as society changes. Outward cultural trappings may change, but the faith does not. The NASB correctly translates the Greek term “once for all.” In this context the word “faith” is used collectively of God’s will and includes the full revelation of Scripture. The law (OT) is interpreted in the spirit (2 Corinthians 3:6). The NT is in the spirit and doesn't need reinterpreting.
Turning Grace into Licentiousness
Jude 4 says, “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Then it was knowledge-worshiping Gnosticism and sexually-immoral Nicolaism. Today it is the arrogance and sexual perversions of our culture. Exciting preaching does not necessarily mean good preaching. Good preaching is faithful preaching. One example is carrying “non-judgmentalism” to the extreme of confusing grace with condoning sexually immoral behavior. In so doing ungodly people contradict the authority of both God the Father and God the Son in heaven to decide such matters.
Jude 6 says, “And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day”. Some angels abandoned their heavenly home and their authority-limits and became demons, metaphorically confined by chains and darkness until judgment day. What a fall from glory, to be dissatisfied with their beautiful place in heaven, to now live in the figurative darkness of this world, like condemned prisoners awaiting their doom! As these rebellious angels were not satisfied with how they were made, some people are not satisfied with their gender or other God-given roles in church and society.
Jude 7 says, “just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh…” Some say Sodom's sins were only pride, gluttony, laziness, and ignoring the poor (Ezekiel 16:47-49). But don’t stop there. Also read verse 50, and don’t forget the attempted homosexual gang-rape of the angelic guests and Lot’s twisted response (Genesis 19:4-13). Among things God calls abominations is men lying with men (Leviticus 18:22). Sodom also had other sexual sins. Husband and wife are considered one flesh (Genesis 2:22-24), so the “strange flesh” would be the sin of adultery.
Clouds without Water
Jude 12 says, “These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted”. The phrase “These are” is said three times beginning here. For example, the Nicolaitans had perverted the Christian love feast into orgies. The love feast was an early Christian fellowship meal recalling the meals Jesus shared with His disciples. Libertines turned Christian rites into sin, pampering themselves, clouds without water, inflated and empty, carried by every wind or fad, trees without spiritual fruit, and twice dead, an allusion to the second death.
Jude 13 says, “wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.” “Wild waves” indicate instability of both doctrine and temperament, and “casting up their own shame” seems reminiscent of those who parade their sins in public with pride (Isaiah 57:20). Wandering stars or planets, do not stay put, as denominations and individuals who are not satisfied with the authority of the Apostles and their writings and thus “the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” Black darkness reserved forever is one of several metaphors for hell and warns where this leads.