In Jude 3, we read, “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. ”
Do you contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people? Most evangelical Christians would answer a resounding yes; we contend for the faith by standing for Christ, telling everyone there is salvation in no other than the Son of God who died for our sins. We contend for the faith by standing for Biblical moral values, preaching against the sin of homosexuality and abortion, telling everyone salvation is by grace through faith alone, and you can’t do anything to add to your salvation.
If this is you and how you would reply, I want to ask if you have read all of Jude? Because as we are going to see, Jude would have given a different answer.
In Jude 4, we read, “I 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.”
The Greek word Jude uses for the ungodly in Jude 4 is asebes. Asebes means someone who rejects authority and law, someone who refuses to obey. Jude says these people who reject authority and law teach that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. These ungodly people are saying the law is done away with, and now we are under grace, so now we can live any way we want to. What law are they rejecting, and what authority? They reject the authority and the laws of our Lord Jesus Christ. What are the authority and the laws of our Lord Jesus Christ? John 14, Matthew 23:2-4, 7:21-23, He told us to obey the law of Moses. These people are asebes (ungodly) because they refuse to obey the law of Moses.
Jude then goes on to say in verses 5-11: “Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that Yehovah 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!” 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.”
In verses 5-6, Jude reminds us of what happened to our forefathers in the desert. Hebr 4:2 says they heard the Gospel, but they did not believe in the Gospel, so Yehovah destroyed them in the desert (Jude 5). What does it mean to believe in the Gospel? And how could the Israelites in the desert have heard the Gospel if the Gospel is “Jesus died for your sins”? Because as Jude says in Jude 4 and Paul in Rom 3:31, the Gospel is not “Jesus died for your sins.” The Gospel is repent from lawlessness and start obeying the law again because the Kingdom of Yehovah has arrived. The cross is a part of this because we need to make a sin offering when we repent. The only way for us to do so today is by faith in the cross (Hebr 13:13). These ungodly people in verse 4 were teaching that the law of Moses did not apply to them anymore because they were under grace. Because of this, Jude says they have committed the same sins as Cain, Balaam, and Korah.
In verses 7-11, Jude shows us the consequences of being ungodly; if you reject the law of Moses, you will suffer the punishment of eternal fire just like Balaam, Korah, Sodom, and Gomorrah and the fallen angels.
Do you understand what Jude is teaching us in these verses? He is saying that if you believe we are under grace, and not law because the law was done away with at the cross, you are no better than Balaam, Korah, the people of Sodom and Gomorran, and the devil with his fallen angels.
He then says, in verses 12-18, “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.” 16 These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.
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.”
In these verses, Jude is telling us something fundamental. He says that if you reject the law of Moses, you do not have the Spirit. (verse 19.) Here we see how being Spirit-filled and Spirit-baptized depends on your obedience to Moses’s law. He then says these people who reject the law of Moses will one day be judged by Yeshua and cast out into the blackest darkness. This is the same thing Yeshua says in Matthew 7:21-23.
In the following verses, Jude says these ungodly people who are among us in the church are blemishes in our congregations. The Greek word Jude uses for blemishes is spilas. Spilas means a hidden rock under the sea, something dangerous that it can cause the ship to sink if a ship hits it. So what Jude is saying is that these people, and what they teach, have the potential of causing others to lose their salvation. (Matt 7:21-23) And when Yehovah sees His church, He sees them as blemishes and flaws instead of a spotless church.
Jude says that these ungodly people sometimes act as shepherds in the church, but because they reject Moses, they do not produce fruit and their only concern is themselves. Jesus in the Gospels calls these shepherds wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Then Jude says, in verses 20-21, “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.”
Jude says we are not to be like them because we know the Gospel. But what does it mean to build yourself up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping yourself in God’s love?.
The word Jude uses for praying means to worship, so what Jude is saying is we are to worship in the Holy Spirit. He has just told us how those ungodly people do not have the Spirit because they reject Moses’s law. This shows us how praying in the Holy Spirit in Jude’s letters does not refer to praying in tounges. In this letter, it refers to obeying the Holy Spirit and praying, believing you will receive because you obey the law. And because we believe we will receive when we follow the law, we increase our faith by having the law as the object of our faith always reminded how the law is the key to righteous living. This is how we build ourselves up in our most holy faith. This is also how we keep ourselves in God’s love; in John 14 and 1.John, we learn how obeying the law of Moses is our only way of showing Yehovah we love Him. In 1.John and John 14, we learn how it is our only way of being loved by Yehovah and His Son Yeshua. So, according to John 14 and 1.John, if you want to feel the love of God, make sure you keep the law of Moses.
According to Jude, contending for the faith means to hold fast to the law of Moses as the object of your faith. It means to defend it, uphold it, teach it to others and warn others against heresy that says we are now under grace and not law. Then and only then will have salvation in this and the next life (Hebr 5:9)