Greetings from Jude
1This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.
I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.
When you see the word slave used in this context, it simply means servant or follower of Jesus. As I mentioned above, Jude and James were half brothers to Jesus.
2May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.
As you grow deeper in your relationship with God, Jude is asking for abundance in mercy, peace and love.
The Danger of False Teachers
3Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people.
God has trusted us with our faith in Jesus Christ. We must stand for this and defend this for all time. It started back then and is true to this very day.
4I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful.
Grace is not a license for immorality. Do not let people sneak into our lives and our churches by using ungodly methods disguised as God given gifts. We must remain faithful to the forgiveness and grace that God lavished on us and not pervert it. That is what false teachers do.
6And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment.
Jude reminds us of the angels that turned from God. They were not allowed back into Heaven, they were dismissed along with Satan for following his false teachings. Don't let that happen to you.
7And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.
Sexual immorality is also deserving of God's judgment. Like Sodom and Gomorrah, you can not live like this and expect God's grace when you knowingly practice this type of behavior. False teachers will convince you that God will forgive this behavior and He will but only after you stop the behavior and repent and know that it is wrong. He will not allow you to live in that behavior and continue while offering His grace.
8In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings.
Often it is people who live these immoral lives and teach these false hopes that are actually defying the authority of God or even denying the existence of God. Or they believe that God isn't in authority and they can do as they please.
9But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) 10But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. 11What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion.
The verses above are best explained directly from the Fire Bible Study Notes:
1:9 MICHAEL … DISPUTING WITH THE DEVIL. Even the greatest archangel, Michael (probably the highest ranked angel mentioned in Scripture), refused to slander Satan but instead relied on God’s power, authority and Word. How much more should we as humans refrain from being arrogant and presumptuous in our spiritual battles against Satan and evil spirits (see 2Pe 2:11).
1:11 WAY OF CAIN … BALAAM’S ERROR … KORAH’S REBELLION. Cain, the first child of Adam and Eve, was known for his hidden sin, outward disobedience and as the first murderer (see Ge 4:3- 8); he was ultimately cursed by God (4:9- 14). Baalam was a false prophet, driven by pride and greed at the expense of God’s people (see Nu 25:2, note; Nu 31:16; cf. 2Pe 2:15, note). Korah caused dissension among the Israelites and led a rebellion against the godly leader, Moses, that ended in Korah’s destruction (Nu 16:1- 3, 31- 35). The false teachers of Jude’s time possessed these same ungodly traits and would suffer similar destruction
12When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots.
When Jude speaks of these false teachers, he talks about how they can infiltrate your life and your church to sway you away from the truth. They are seamless and they don't really care for you. When he speaks of them being doubly dead, he may be speaking of believers that crossed over from belief in Christ and not they reject the faith. They are dead because of that and will have eternal death at judgement.
13They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness.
These false teachers are like the waves, their false beliefs rise and fall and disappear. Like wandering or shooting stars, the beliefs do not hold up and burn out and fade into darkness.
14Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones 15to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
Enoch prophesied about the false teachers. Like many teachers in this day, referring to OT scripture reinforced what they were preaching.
16These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.
A Call to Remain Faithful
17But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. 18They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires.
We are told that we can know these people because they live sole for their own desires. We are also reminded that this was predicted. And here in this book, we are being warned and given a description of what to look for.
19These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.
Because these false prophets and false teachers can seem so spiritual, they cause division in God's people. You can know them though, do they have the Spirit of God? Are the following God's will? Are they following their own natural desires?
20But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
22And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
As a true believer you will defend and promote your faith. You will build yourself up in the power of the Holy Spirit. You also have to be ready to assist and build up those that waver in their faith. You can not allow them to follow the path of a teacher that will contaminate the beliefs of someone not as strong as yourself.
A Prayer of Praise
24Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. 25All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.
He ends by giving God the glory for not allowing us to fall away. He give God the glory for the joy He brings us. It is His power and and presence that we must defend. The authority is in our Savior alone.