The opening statements of Jude could be my own and you may think the same thing,
“From Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, wrapped in the love of God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ. 2 May mercy, peace, and love be lavished on you. 3 Dear friends, although I have been eager to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel compelled instead to write to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4 For certain men have secretly slipped in among you—men who long ago were marked out for the condemnation I am about to describe—ungodly men who have turned the grace of our God into a license for evil and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” NET2.
Often I have written stuff about the faulty statements coming from people that espouse things that inappropriately soaked up by unsuspecting souls. What is going on? I have often asked myself. Surprisingly, many people contend with my written thoughts because they have not thoroughly investigated Scripture apart from misguided statements.
Like Jude, I feel compelled to encourage you to defend the Christian faith with the Word of God that has been given to us with the Lord trusting us to do so. Similarly I have written as Jude has, “For certain men have secretly slipped in among you—men who long ago were marked out for the condemnation I am about to describe—ungodly men who have turned the grace of our God into a license for evil and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Many times Baptists have been accused of giving license for others to call themselves ‘Christian while living a life of sin.’ I do not think this is true, but I do understand why the statement is ‘out there.’ However, I have found this is true among every local church because, as Jude states, ungodly men have, indeed, “turned the grace of our God into a license for evil.” We Followers of Jesus Christ know this to be true…charlatans have come in amongst us causing all sorts of problems for us.
Understandably, people ask, “Who are these who ‘have secretly slipped in’ among us?” Now, it is difficult to know them without being spiritually discerned. Look carefully in God’s Word that gives us some direction:
- 1 Samuel 16:1-13 is the story of how God directed Samuel to find the one He had chosen to follow Saul as King. This is what God said to Samuel, “Don’t be impressed by his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. God does not view things the way people do. People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” verse 7. In order to accomplish the direction of God, Believers must be spiritually discerned.
- The ‘Sabbath Rest’ is spoken of in Hebrews 4:1-14 and the path to this Rest is found only in obedience to the directions of God that are known to us in His infallible Word, “ For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from God, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.” verses 12-13. Believers will only enter that Sabbath Rest by being obedient to the commands of Jesus Christ and that we will do because He lives in our bodies.
- This discernment is not present in the understanding of those who are not in Christ. Look at what Paul writes in Colossians 2:6-15, but in vv 6-8 we find this, “Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and firm in your faith just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Please read vv 6-15 to grasp the instruction of the Apostle.
Those who have slipped in among are sometimes difficult to recognize because some of them may be folks who have been our friends for a very long time, and do not be surprised if you find them in your family as well. And this is what makes our task so difficult. Jesus said this, “32 “Whoever, then, acknowledges me before people, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever denies me before people, I will deny him also before my Father in heaven. 34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword! 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.” Matthew 10:32-36. Because Followers of the Christ are obedient to Him, we will find this road a very uncomfortable one to traverse. But one thing certain this path leads to His Rest.
Do Jude’s words seem to sound sort of what you sometimes think and say out loud? Do not be afraid to speak the Truth for this Truth oftentimes is painful to speak and worse to hear.
Jesus is Lord.