This is the third lesson from the little post card of Jude. He goes on to encourage God’s people to persevere in spite of the danger that faced them.
The Reminder to Remember the Apostles’ Warning (Jude 1:17–19)
The apostles had warned that scoffers would arise in the end times who would follow their own ungodly desires. Jude’s quotation of the apostles’ teaching is a general summary rather than a specific reference. It is the “last times” in relation to Jesus Christ’s return to reign on earth. While they may have claimed to be the truly spiritual group, the false teachers were really worldly minded and shared the viewpoint of unbelievers.
- The apostles had warned the coming generation about apostates, so that they would be prepared and not be taken by surprise (Acts 20:28–31; 1 Timothy 4:1, 2; 2 Timothy 3:1–5; 4:1–3; 2 Peter 2:1–3:4; 1 John 2:18; 2 John 1:7–11). God’s Word is designed to warn and protect (Acts 20:31; 1 Corinthians 4:14); as Jude 1:18 indicates, there had been continually repeated warnings (all saying to you).
- Last time: This term refers to the time of Messiah from His first coming until His second (2 Timothy 3:1; 2 Peter 3:3; 1 John 2:18). These characteristics will prevail until Christ returns.
- Mockers: As in 2 Peter 3:3, these are the scoffers at God’s future plans who pretend to know the truth but deny that judgment will ever come; choosing to follow ungodly lust.
- Jude’s profile of an apostate:
- Ungodly (Jude 1:4)
- Morally perverted (Jude 1:4)
- Deny Christ (Jude 1:4)
- Defile the flesh (Jude 1:8)
- Rebellious (Jude 1:8)
- Revile holy angels (Jude 1:8)
- Dreamers (Jude 1:10)
- Ignorant (Jude 1:10)
- Corrupted (Jude 1:10)
- Grumblers (Jude 1:16)
- Fault finders (Jude 1:16)
- Self seeking (Jude 1:16)
- Arrogant speakers (Jude 1:16)
- Flatterers (Jude 1:16)
- Mockers (Jude 1:18)
- Cause division (Jude 1:19)
- Worldly minded (Jude 1:19)
- Without the Spirit (Jude 1:19)
The Positive Instruction of the Readers (Jude 1:20–23)
Since believers are God’s temples under attack by hostile enemy forces, we need to build ourselves up, to strengthen ourselves spiritually, and to pray for God’s help in our warfare. We should also keep ourselves in the sphere of God’s love by abiding in Him (John 15:9–10), and we should keep our hope clearly in view since we have only a short time to remain faithful. Christians should help those who are struggling and perhaps stumbling under the influence of these false teachers and should attempt to restore those who have fallen into error. In the case of those whom heresy has completely swept away, we should have pity on them rather than condemning them without compassion. We should fear God’s displeasure and discipline if we embrace their error. We should avoid any contact with these people because of the corrupting influence they can have on us through their words and actions.
- Building: True believers have a sure foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11) and cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20) in Jesus Christ. The truths of the Christian faith have been provided in the teaching of the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20), so that Christians can build themselves up by the Word of God (Acts 20:32).
- Praying in the Holy Spirit: Simply a call to pray consistently in the will and power of the Spirit, as one would pray in the name of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:26, 27).
- Waiting: An eager anticipation of Christ’s second coming to provide eternal life in its ultimate, resurrection form (Titus 2:13; 1 John 3:1–3), which is the ultimate expression of God’s mercy on one to whom Christ’s righteousness has undeservedly been imputed.
- Some (Jude 1:22, 23): They are: 1) sincere doubters who deserve compassion (Jude 1:22), 2) those who are deeper in unbelief and urgently need to be pulled from the fire (Jude 1:23); and 3) those declared disciples of apostasy who still deserve mercy, but are to be handled with much fear (Jude 1:23).
Conclusion (Jude 1:24–25)
Jude concluded his brief epistle with a formal doxology that included a prayer for his readers. His benediction (or doxology) is one of the most known in the NT (Romans 11:33–36; 16:25–27; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 13:20, 21). He wanted to assure them of God’s ability to help them remain faithful in spite of the apostasy that threatened them. Our confidence rests in God’s ability to keep us safe and faithful. Jude returned to the theme of salvation which he had hoped to develop at the beginning (Jude 1:3).