Perverting the Grace of God
Jude 1:3-4 ESV
“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
This is happening today in epidemic proportions. Many wolves in sheep’s clothing are serving as pastors and elders in today’s institutional (state) churches where many professers of Christianity gather together. Many husbands and fathers are leading their families in like manner.
What these perverters of grace are teaching is that we can make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, be forgiven our sins, be guaranteed heaven when we leave this earth, but that we don’t have to leave our lifestyles of sin behind us, we don’t have to obey God, and we don’t have to submit to Christ as Lord.
They teach faith in Jesus Christ like it is an emotional one-time decision to invite Jesus into their hearts or as though it is some kind of intellectual assent to who Jesus is and to what he did for us on that cross, but even that is only taught in a half-truth.
Some people water down the gospel so much that it is not even an acknowledgment of what Jesus did for us on that cross, but they teach that God is so enamored with us humans that he just wants to give us everything, and he wants to be with us and enjoy us because we are so wonderful.
But that is totally backwards. We are to be enamored with God. We are to see him in all his glory and splendor, and we are to desire him above all else, and we are to want to be with him and serve him and to do what he has called us to do, to live holy lives pleasing to him.
This generation has lost the fear of God. The Christianity most teach is very self-serving, very self-gratifying, rather than honoring of God. Morality has gone out the window. Many men are emasculated by porn addiction. Many pastors have become entertainers. Where are the Tozers of today?
Like Unreasoning Animals
Jude 1:10-11 ESV
“But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.”
I think it is, many times, not that they don’t understand the truth, but that they don’t want to accept the truth, because they want to believe the lie, because the lie allows them to continue living in sin, only without guilt, and with the promise of eternal life with God.
So, because they don’t want to accept the truth of the gospel, they blaspheme it and God, i.e. they speak irreverently of, they speak evil of, and they slander the true gospel and its messengers. They are like unreasoning animals, just doing what they do instinctively.
So, what is the way of Cain? He was jealous of his brother because his brother’s sacrifice was more acceptable to God than was Cain’s. So, he was angry, and so he hated his brother and he murdered him. And, many people who refuse God will also persecute the Lord’s messengers.
And, what was Balaam’s error? Balaam was a false prophet, so one of his errors was in teaching what is false. Another is that he did what he did out of greed for his own gain. And, another is that he taught God’s people to engage in sexual immorality, so he led them to a false belief that they could live in immorality.
That sounds just like what these wolves in sheep’s clothing are telling the people today, that they can believe in the Lord Jesus, have eternal life with God guaranteed, but that they can live in immorality and idolatry and that it will not impact their salvation or their eternal life with God.
Shepherds Feeding Themselves
Jude 1:12-13 ESV
“These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.”
These false teachers, and their followers, too, are unstable in all their ways, following the teachings of man, and not the teachings of God, living for the pleasures of this world, rather than as instruments of God’s righteousness for the glory of God.
They have no command over their insatiable passions. They are lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God, and their god is their stomach. They do what their evil hearts dictate rather than obey the commands of God. Their flesh is their idol, which they worship rather than God.
They put on a show of righteousness, but it is outward only, like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day who looked good on the outside but inside were full of wickedness. They know how to speak to sound godly while they fulfill the lusts of their flesh in secret.
They do not feed on the word of God but on a false message which consoles them in their sin, and which gives them license to continue in their adultery, their idolatry, and in their immorality. But it lies to them, and it gives them a false hope of salvation and of eternal life.
They are cowards who will not accept responsibility for their actions or for caring for others properly, who are in their care, and for living like mature adults. Instead, they wallow in the filth of their adulteries and their idolatry, and they abandon those who they should have loved and protected.
And, while they profess faith in Jesus Christ, and they hold on to the hope of eternal life with God, in reality the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved for them for forever, because they would not bow the knee to God, they would not forsake their idols, and they would not follow Jesus.
But we are not to be like them. We are not to follow these men in their deceitful scheming. We are to be like Jesus. We are to forsake our sins, walk in obedience to our Lord, and submit to Christ as Lord – all as part of God-given faith in Jesus Christ.
For, Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. In his death he bought us back for God that we might now be God’s possession and that we might now honor God with our lives. And, he died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15, 21; 1 Co 6:19-20).
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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