Jude 1

1 Jude, [a] a servant [b] of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, who are beloved [c] in [d] God the Father and kept safe for [e] Jesus Christ:
2 May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.
3 Beloved, while eagerly preparing to write to you about the salvation we share, I find it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
4 For certain intruders have stolen in among you, people who long ago were designated for this condemnation as ungodly, who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. [f]
5 Now I desire to remind you, though you are fully informed, that the Lord, who once for all saved [g] a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
6 And the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the great day.
7 Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust, [h] serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
8 Yet in the same way these dreamers also defile the flesh, reject authority, and slander the glorious ones. [i]
9 But when the archangel Michael contended with the devil and disputed about the body of Moses, he did not dare to bring a condemnation of slander [j] against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"
10 But these people slander whatever they do not understand, and they are destroyed by those things that, like irrational animals, they know by instinct.
11 Woe to them! For they go the way of Cain, and abandon themselves to Balaam's error for the sake of gain, and perish in Korah's rebellion.
12 These are blemishes [k] on your love-feasts, while they feast with you without fear, feeding themselves. [l] They are waterless clouds carried along by the winds; autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, uprooted;
13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the deepest darkness has been reserved forever.
14 It was also about these that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, "See, the Lord is coming [m] with ten thousands of his holy ones,
15 to execute judgment on all, and to convict everyone of all the deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
16 These are grumblers and malcontents; they indulge their own lusts; they are bombastic in speech, flattering people to their own advantage.
17 But you, beloved, must remember the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;
18 for they said to you, "In the last time there will be scoffers, indulging their own ungodly lusts."
19 It is these worldly people, devoid of the Spirit, who are causing divisions.
20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit;
21 keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to [n] eternal life.
22 And have mercy on some who are wavering;
23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies. [o]
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing,
25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

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Jude 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

This epistle is addressed to all believers in the gospel. Its design appears to be to guard believers against the false teachers who had begun to creep into the Christian church, and to scatter dangerous tenets, by attempting to lower all Christianity into a merely nominal belief and outward profession of the gospel. Having thus denied the obligations of personal holiness, they taught their disciples to live in sinful courses, at the same time flattering them with the hope of eternal life. The vile character of these seducers is shown, and their sentence is denounced, and the epistle concludes with warnings, admonitions, and counsels to believers.

The apostle exhorts to stedfastness in the faith. (1-4) The danger of being infected by false professors, and the dreadful punishment which shall be inflicted on them and their followers. (5-7) An awful description of these seducers and their deplorable end. (8-16) Believers cautioned against being surprised at such deceivers arising among them. (17-23) The epistle ends with an encouraging doxology, or words of praise. (24,25)

Verses 1-4 Christians are called out of the world, from the evil spirit and temper of it; called above the world, to higher and better things, to heaven, things unseen and eternal; called from sin to Christ, from vanity to seriousness, from uncleanness to holiness; and this according to the Divine purpose and grace. If sanctified and glorified, all the honour and glory must be ascribed to God, and to him alone. As it is God who begins the work of grace in the souls of men, so it is he who carries it on, and perfects it. Let us not trust in ourselves, nor in our stock of grace already received, but in him, and in him alone. The mercy of God is the spring and fountain of all the good we have or hope for; mercy, not only to the miserable, but to the guilty. Next to mercy is peace, which we have from the sense of having obtained mercy. From peace springs love; Christ's love to us, our love to him, and our brotherly love to one another. The apostle prays, not that Christians may be content with a little; but that their souls and societies may be full of these things. None are shut out from gospel offers and invitations, but those who obstinately and wickedly shut themselves out. But the application is to all believers, and only to such. It is to the weak as well as to the strong. Those who have received the doctrine of this common salvation, must contend for it, earnestly, not furiously. Lying for the truth is bad; scolding for it is not better. Those who have received the truth must contend for it, as the apostles did; by suffering with patience and courage for it, not by making others suffer if they will not embrace every notion we call faith, or important. We ought to contend earnestly for the faith, in opposition to those who would corrupt or deprave it; who creep in unawares; who glide in like serpents. And those are the worst of the ungodly, who take encouragement to sin boldly, because the grace of God has abounded, and still abounds so wonderfully, and who are hardened by the extent and fulness of gospel grace, the design of which is to deliver men from sin, and bring them unto God.

Verses 5-7 Outward privileges, profession, and apparent conversion, could not secure those from the vengeance of God, who turned aside in unbelief and disobedience. The destruction of the unbelieving Israelites in the wilderness, shows that none ought to presume on their privileges. They had miracles as their daily bread; yet even they perished in unbelief. A great number of the angels were not pleased with the stations God allotted to them; pride was the main and direct cause or occasion of their fall. The fallen angels are kept to the judgment of the great day; and shall fallen men escape it? Surely not. Consider this in due time. The destruction of Sodom is a loud warning to all, to take heed of, and flee from fleshly lusts that war against the soul, ( 1 Peter. 2:11 ) Stand in awe, therefore, and sin not, ( Psalms 4:4 ) . Let us not rest in anything that does not make the soul subject to the obedience of Christ; for nothing but the renewal of our souls to the Divine image by the Holy Spirit, can keep us from being destroyed among the enemies of God. Consider this instance of the angels, and see that no dignity or worth of the creature is of avail. How then should man tremble, who drinketh iniquity like water! ( Job 15:16 ) .

Verses 8-16 False teachers are dreamers; they greatly defile and grievously wound the soul. These teachers are of a disturbed mind and a seditious spirit; forgetting that the powers that be, are ordained of God, ( Romans 13:1 ) . As to the contest about the body of Moses, it appears that Satan wished to make the place of his burial known to the Israelites, in order to tempt them to worship him, but he was prevented, and vented his rage in desperate blasphemy. This should remind all who dispute never to bring railing charges. Also learn hence, that we ought to defend those whom God owns. It is hard, if not impossible, to find any enemies to the Christian religion, who did not, and do not, live in open or secret contradiction to the principles of natural religion. Such are here compared to brute beasts, though they often boast of themselves as the wisest of mankind. They corrupt themselves in the things most open and plain. The fault lies, not in their understandings, but in their depraved wills, and their disordered appetites and affections. It is a great reproach, though unjust to religion, when those who profess it are opposed to it in heart and life. The Lord will remedy this in his time and way; not in men's blind way of plucking up the wheat with the tares. It is sad when men begin in the Spirit, and end in the flesh. Twice dead; they had been once dead in their natural, fallen state; but now they are dead again by the evident proofs of their hypocrisy. Dead trees, why cumber they the ground! Away with them to the fire. Raging waves are a terror to sailing passengers; but when they get into port, the noise and terror are ended. False teachers are to expect the worst punishments in this world and in that to come. They glare like meteors, or falling stars, and then sink into the blackness of darkness for ever. We have no mention of the prophecy of Enoch in any other part or place of Scripture; yet one plain text of Scripture, proves any point we are to believe. We find from this, that Christ's coming to judge was prophesied of, as early as the times before the flood. The Lord cometh: what a glorious time will that be! Notice how often the word "ungodly" is repeated. Many now do not at all refer to the terms godly, or ungodly, unless it be to mock at even the words; but it is not so in the language taught us by the Holy Ghost. Hard speeches of one another, especially if ill-grounded, will certainly come into account at the day of judgment. These evil men and seducers are angry at every thing that happens, and never pleased with their own state and condition. Their will and their fancy, are their only rule and law. Those who please their sinful appetites, are most prone to yield to ungovernable passions. The men of God, from the beginning of the world, have declared the doom denounced on them. Such let us avoid. We are to follow men only as they follow Christ.

Verses 17-23 Sensual men separate from Christ, and his church, and join themselves to the devil, the world, and the flesh, by ungodly and sinful practices. That is infinitely worse than to separate from any branch of the visible church on account of opinions, or modes and circumstances of outward government or worship. Sensual men have not the spirit of holiness, which whoever has not, does not belong to Christ. The grace of faith is most holy, as it works by love, purifies the heart, and overcomes the world, by which it is distinguished from a false and dead faith. Our prayers are most likely to prevail, when we pray in the Holy Ghost, under his guidance and influence, according to the rule of his word, with faith, fervency, and earnestness; this is praying in the Holy Ghost. And a believing expectation of eternal life will arm us against the snares of sin: lively faith in this blessed hope will help us to mortify our lusts. We must watch over one another; faithfully, yet prudently reprove each other, and set a good example to all about us. This must be done with compassion, making a difference between the weak and the wilful. Some we must treat with tenderness. Others save with fear; urging the terrors of the Lord. All endeavours must be joined with decided abhorrence of crimes, and care be taken to avoid whatever led to, or was connected with fellowship with them, in works of darkness, keeping far from what is, or appears to be evil.

Verses 24-25 God is able, and as willing as able, to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory. Not as those who never have been faulty, but as those who, but for God's mercy, and a Saviour's sufferings and merits, might most justly have been condemned long ago. All sincere believers were given him of the Father; and of all so given him he has lost none, nor will lose any one. Now, our faults fill us with fears, doubts, and sorrows; but the Redeemer has undertaken for his people, that they shall be presented faultless. Where there is no sin, there will be no sorrow; where there is the perfection of holiness, there will be the perfection of joy. Let us more often look up to Him who is able to keep us from falling, to improve as well as maintain the work he has wrought in us, till we shall be presented blameless before the presence of his glory. Then shall our hearts know a joy beyond what earth can afford; then shall God also rejoice over us, and the joy of our compassionate Saviour be completed. To Him who has so wisely formed the scheme, and will faithfully and perfectly accomplish it, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.

Footnotes 15

  • [a]. Gk [Judas]
  • [b]. Gk [slave]
  • [c]. Other ancient authorities read [sanctified]
  • [d]. Or [by]
  • [e]. Or [by]
  • [f]. Or [the only Master and our Lord Jesus Christ]
  • [g]. Other ancient authorities read [though you were once for all fully informed, that Jesus] (or [Joshua]) [who saved]
  • [h]. Gk [went after other flesh]
  • [i]. Or [angels]; Gk [glories]
  • [j]. Or [condemnation for blasphemy]
  • [k]. Or [reefs]
  • [l]. Or [without fear. They are shepherds who care only for themselves]
  • [m]. Gk [came]
  • [n]. Gk [Christ to]
  • [o]. Gk [by the flesh]. The Greek text of verses 22-23 is uncertain at several points

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JUDE

That this epistle was written by Jude, one of the twelve apostles of Christ, and not by Jude the fifteenth bishop of Jerusalem, who lived in the time of Trojan, a little before Bar Cocab, the false Messiah, as Grotius thought, is evident from his being called, in the epistle itself, the brother of James, and which is confirmed by all copies; and its agreement with the second epistle of Peter shows it to have been written about the same time, and upon the same occasion. As to Jude's not calling himself an apostle, but a servant of Jesus Christ, it may be observed, that the latter is much the same with the former, and the Apostle Paul sometimes uses them both, as in Ro 1:1 Tit 1:1, and sometimes neither, as \1Th 1:1 2Th 1:1 Phm 1:1\, and sometimes only servant, as Jude does here, Php 1:1, though in some copies of the title of this epistle he is called "Jude the Apostle"; and as to Jude's making mention of the apostles as if he was later than they, and not of their number, Jude 1:17, it may be returned for answer to it, that the Apostle Peter expresses himself much in the same manner, 2Pe 3:2, where some copies, instead of "us the apostles", read "your apostles", \\see Gill on "2Pe 3:2"\\; moreover, Jude seems to cite a passage out of Peter, as Peter in the same chapter cites the Apostle Paul, which only shows agreement in their doctrine and writing; and at most it only follows from hence, that Jude wrote after some of the apostles, as Paul and Peter, who had foretold there would be mockers in the last time; and that Jude had lived to be a witness of the truth of what they had said; nor does he exclude himself from their number. And that this epistle is a genuine one appears from the majesty of its style, the truth of doctrine contained in it, and its agreement with the second epistle of Peter, and from the early reception of it in the churches. Eusebius {a} says, it was reckoned among the seven catholic epistles, and was published in most churches; though he observes, that many of the ancients make no mention of it: but certain it is, that several of the ancient writers before him do make mention of it, and cite it as genuine, as Clemens Alexandrinus {b}, Tertullian {c}, and Origen {d}: and as for the prophecy of Enoch, cited in this epistle, it is not taken out of an apocryphal book, that bears that name, for the apostle makes no mention of any writing of his, but of a prophecy; and had he cited it out of that book, as it was truth, it can no more prejudice the authority of this epistle, than the citations made by the Apostle Paul out of the Heathen poets can affect his epistles: and whereas there is an account also given in this epistle of a dispute about the body of Moses, nowhere else to be met with, supposing it to be understood of his real body, of which \\see Gill on "Jude 1:9"\\; this can be no more an objection to the genuineness of this epistle, than the mention of Jannes and Jambres, who withstood Moses, by the Apostle Paul, 2Ti 3:8, is an objection to an epistle of his, whose names are not to be met with in other parts of Scripture; but were what were known by tradition, as might be the case here. The epistle is called "catholic", or "general", because it is not written to any particular person or church, but to the saints in general, and it may be to the same persons that Peter wrote his; see 1Pe 1:1, 2Pe 1:1, and who seem to be chiefly the believing Jews; see Jude 1:5,17, though the Syriac version of Jude 1:1 reads, "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ"--ammel, "to the nations", or "Gentiles, called" the design of the epistle to both is to exhort them to continue in the faith, and contend for it; and to describe false teachers, to point out their principles, practices, and dreadful end, that so they might shun and avoid them.

{a} Hist. Eccles. l. 2. c. 23. {b} Paedagog. l. 3. c. 8. p. 239. & Stromat. l. 3. p. 431. {c} De Cultu Foemin. l. 1. c. 3. {d} In Josh. Homil. 7. fol. 156. E. & Comment, in Matth. p. 223. Ed. Huet.

\\INTRODUCTION TO JUDE 1\\

The writer of this epistle describes himself by his name, Jude; by his spiritual condition, "a servant of Christ"; and by his natural relation, "a brother of James"; and inscribes it to persons chosen of God, secured in Christ, and called by grace, Jude 1:1, whom he salutes, and wishes a multiplication of mercy, peace, and love unto, Jude 1:2, and then points at the subject matter of his epistle, "the common salvation"; and his view in writing it, which was to exhort them to contend earnestly for, the Gospel; which exhortation was necessary, since some reprobate and wicked men, abusers of the grace of God, and blasphemers of the person of Christ, had got in among them, Jude 1:3,4, and in order to deter them from following their pernicious ways, he lays before them various instances of divine vengeance on sinners; as the Israelites, whom God delivered out of Egypt, and yet destroyed them for their unbelief; the angels, who not content with their first estate, forsook their habitation, and are reserved in chains of darkness to the day of judgment; and the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrha, and the adjacent cities, who for their uncleanness suffer the vengeance of eternal fire, as an example to others, Jude 1:5-7, in like manner, the apostle observes, these false teachers, who were filthy dreamers, defiled themselves with such sins, and also despised and spoke evil of civil magistrates, Jude 1:8, which sin of theirs is aggravated by Michael the archangel not railing at the devil, in a contention with him about the body of Moses, but gently reproving him; by speaking evil of what they were ignorant of, and by their brutish sensuality, in corrupting: themselves in things they had natural knowledge of, Jude 1:9,10, and both their sin and punishment are exemplified in the cases of Cain, Balaam, and Korah; being guilty of hatred of the brethren, of covetousness, and of contradiction, Jude 1:11, and by various metaphors are set forth their intemperance, hypocrisy, instability, unfruitfulness, pride, wrath, and lust, for whom the blackest darkness is reserved for ever, Jude 1:12,13, the certainty of which is proved from an ancient prophecy of Enoch, concerning the coming of Christ to judgment, when vengeance will be taken on those men for their ungodly deeds and hard speeches, Jude 1:14,15, who are further described by their murmurs and complaints; by their pride, respect of persons, and covetousness; by their scoffs, and walking after their own lusts, as had been foretold by the apostles of Christ; by separating themselves from the saints, and by their sensuality, and not having the Spirit of God, Jude 1:17-19, and the apostle having thus at large described these false teachers, by reason of whom the saints were in danger, directs them to the use of means by which they might be secured from them; such as building themselves up in their most holy faith, praying in the holy Ghost, keeping themselves in the love of God, and looking for the mercy of Christ unto eternal life, Jude 1:20,21, and he teaches them not only to be concerned for themselves, but for others also, who were in danger from these deceivers; to deal with some in a tender and compassionate way, with others more roughly, expressing an hatred to a filthy conversation, Jude 1:22,23, and then the epistle is concluded with a doxology, or an ascription of glory to the only wise God our Saviour, who is able to keep his people from falling into such pernicious principles and practices, and to present them faultless before his glorious presence with exceeding joy, Jude 1:24,25.

Jude 1 Commentaries