OUR GREAT GUARDIAN
Lord, make me aware of my spiritual surroundings.
1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,
To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for[a] Jesus Christ:
2 Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
The Sin and Doom of Ungodly People
3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord[c] at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
8 In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”[d] 10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.
11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.
12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.
14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”[e] 16 These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.
A Call to Persevere
17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.[f]
24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
a Jude 1:1 Or by; or in
b Jude 1:4 Or individuals who were marked out for condemnation
c Jude 1:5 Some early manuscripts Jesus
d Jude 1:9 Jude is alluding to the Jewish Testament of Moses (approximately the first century a.d.).
e Jude 1:15 From the Jewish First Book of Enoch (approximately the first century b.c.)
f Jude 1:23 The Greek manuscripts of these verses vary at several points.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Ps 91:11).
Most commentators agree that the letter of Jude was written by the brother of Jesus. Jude wants to write about salvation, but he first wants to warn the faithful about wicked men who are sneaking in and perverting the grace of God. This probably refers to an early heresy which taught that being saved by grace gave believers full license to sin. Jude is scathing in his condemnation of these people who indulge the flesh freely and encourage others to follow them. He employs a long list of historical examples and memorable metaphors to shore up his point.
It may not be popular to speak in such vitriolic fashion today, but we must recognize what is at stake for Jude. Godless teachers are perverting the church by spreading heretical teaching, and he feels he must “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people” (v 3). Today these dynamics remain relevant – people still seek to deceive believers and destroy the purity of the Christian faith. Carrying God’s truth is an awesome privilege but a heavy responsibility: perhaps the church today should adopt Jude’s passion and urgency in defending it.
Jude ends with a powerful word of reassurance to his readers and to us. It is a doxology of praise “to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (24). What an incredible promise that, though we fight against heresy and immoral living, it is God who keeps and protects us. Although false teachers and deadly temptations lurk, we need not be afraid if we trust in God and are grounded in Him.
God presents us before His glorious presence, faultless and joyful. Temptation and error may surround us, but God is our guardian. Trust Him and thank Him for His protection.
Lord, Your people are grateful for the many warnings contained in Your Word designed to encourage and protect us in this hazardous spiritual environment.