LIBERTY UNIVERSITY JOHN W. RAWLINGS SCHOOL OF DIVINITY Submitted to Dr. Jeffery Dickson in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of NBST845 B01 202320 General Epistles/Revelation (B01)
Exposition Paper on Jude
by Richard Bristol
March 7, 2023
Contents Contents…………………………………………………………………………………i Thesis…………………………………………………………………………………….iv Introduction………………………………………………………………………….1 Historical Analysis of Jude………………………………………………….2 Author…………………………………………………………………………………2 Date………………………………………………………………………………….....4 Occasion……………………………………………………………………………..4 Audience…………………………………………………………………………….6 Location………………………………………………………………………………6 Literary Analysis of Jude:……………………………………………………..7 Genre……………………………………………………………………………………7 Genre and Presentation and Pericope Selection………….8 Passage and Argument within the Book as a Whole……8 Exposition/Interpretation of Jude……………………………….........9 Outline…………………………………………………………………………….......9 Introduction (Jude 1-2)……………………………………………………...9 The Purpose for the Letter (Jude 3-4)……………………………….10 False Teachers then and Now (Jude 5-11)…………………………10 God’s Judgement of False Teachers (Jude 12-19)……………..12 A Call to the Saints to Persevere (Jude 20-26)…………………12 Canonical Analysis of Jude:…………………………………………………..13 The Canonical Debate for Jude………………………………….........13 Parallel Passages from the New Testament……………..........15 Parallel Passages from the Old Testament……………………….16 Parallel Passages from Second Temple Writings……………16 Application of Jude………………………………………………………………….17 Appropriateness for Today……………………………………………......17 Specific Uses for Jude Today……………………………………………….18 Practical Application for Today………………………………………….21 Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………..23
Thesis Jude’s warnings against False Teacher are just as important to modern readers as to its original audience.
Introduction The American church’s cultural landscape is a confusing mess of hedonism, nihilism, and elevated self-centered pride that nearly deifies our desires. It might be labeled the popular culture of secular humanism, but the reality is that these cultural drives do not contain suitable premises with which to create a solid definition. There is a chaotic collection of drives that are so often at odds with Christian doctrine that the best description might be “all things not Christian.” In a time such as this, it is the church’s role to point people to the solid Rock of Christ with a clarity that cuts through the chaotic storms. Unfortunately, a quick review of some of the “Christian” teachings coming from our churches seems to sound like the same sort of Chaotic voices. Sadly, it is not uncommon throughout history that those charged to be God’s messengers fail to remain faithful to their holy calling. Many American church leaders’ failings parallel some past false teachers. For this reason, Jude’s warnings against false teachers are just as important to modern readers as to their original audience. That God’s Word speaks explicitly to this problem indicates that He takes the problem seriously. The Bible records how God has taken this so seriously as to execute occasions of quick judgment to purify those who bear His name. Additionally, Jude’s letter here gives us a choice to follow Jude’s guidance and clarify the light of Truth we shine on one another and those lost around us. In his commentary on Jude, Edwin Brum points out, “Contemporary culture is becoming indifferent to the question of truth. Christians have found truth in Jesus (Eph 4:21).”  Driving down the street in towns all across America. one can see churches proudly flying a “Pride Flag.” This gesture seems to declare support for two ideas classically identified as sin: sexual promiscuity and pride itself. Social and Cultural relativism has taken captive Christian leaders, churches, and even whole denominations. The warnings Jude offers in the epistle directly apply, and as Wall and Anders point out, “Against them we must uphold the truth of God and godly living (2 Tim. 3:1–17).”
Historical Analysis of Jude:
Author When digging deeper into a passage, addressing the authorship of a text provides essential clues to understanding the message contained within the text. While this is true, New Testament authors choose not to identify in nine books. For example, a Gospel may keep its work anonymous to keep Jesus as the “intended focus for readers.” This decision leads those seeking to discover the Biblical author to look for internal or external clues, including accounts from early church fathers and historical sources. In the book of Jude, the author has chosen to identify himself in his work. A few have “claimed that an anonymous author wrote this using Jude’s name”  as a pseudepigraphy. However, it would be odd for some to pick Jude as it seems that someone would “write in the name of someone more prominent” in the early church narrative. Further justification for authenticity is that a “pseudepigrapher would want to clarify which Jude he was.” This action is not what Jude does. Jude begins his letter with two simple phrases: “Ἰούδας Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δοῦλος, ἀδελφὸς δὲ Ἰακώβου.”  He uses the phrase “Slave of Jesus Christ” and “Brother of James” to identify himself. These two phrases provide enough information to identify the author, but how he identifies himself and the phrase he does not say provides a clue to one other lesson he will teach. We examine these two titles and compare them to what we glean from early church writings. As a brother to James, Jude is, therefore, also a brother to Jesus. He was also likely an Apostle. Many scholars studying this text ask, “if Jude is an Apostle and a brother of the Lord, why does he not make use of these titles in the letter?”  There is also an important similarity here with his brother’s epistle. Jude’s brother James also chooses to call himself a “Ἰάκωβος θεοῦ καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δοῦλος.”  He calls himself “James (Jacob) Slave of God and Lord Jesus Christ.” It is significant that both brothers of Christ see themselves primarily as slaves to their brother and not claim some royal authority through biological relationships. The power of their message comes from their submission to Christ and not through some royal relationship. This humility exhibited by Jude stands in sharp contrast with the pridefulness implied by the false teachers mentioned by Jude.
Date It is difficult to fix a firm date for the writing of Jude. The epistle’s likely author is Jude, so the letter must have been written within his lifetime. Tradition holds that Jude died before Domitian’s reign, which fixes the latest date for the letter’s writing as 81AD. As mentioned before, Jude uses James in the opening, and the emperor executes James in 62 AD. It stands to reason that had James been dead when writing, Jude would have either not noted his relationship or said it differently. These reasonable assumptions provide us a solid window of time for the likely completion of the text at some time between the late thirties and early sixties. This understanding moves Jude’s origin close to when Paul wrote his letters to the church in Corinth, which addressed similar issues.
Occasion The occasion for the work’s writing is also identified in the text. Jude “clearly opposes false teachers whose sexual lifestyles are immoral and who are teaching arrogantly.” Jude feels compelled to write because false teachers “have crept in unnoticed”  He further points out that these teachers are “designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Some suggest a strong division between Paul’s Antioch and beyond wing of the early church and the James and Jerusalem, predominantly Jewish branch of the church. Keener softens this position by suggesting we should view the “Judaic (not Judaizing) form of Christianity seen in theEpistles of James and Jude in contrast with, though not opposed to, the Pauline type.” Contrasting might be the correct term if viewing each position further refines our understanding of the Truth. Jude is making a case against ungodly behavior, which may include those who “sought to assimilate many values of immoral pagan culture.” However, it might be significant to recognize that Paul’s warning to the church in Corinth might be categorized similarly. Anders and Wells correctly point out that these signs of a struggle against false teachers occur throughout the New Testament. They note that “They are “savage wolves” who would come in to destroy the flock and the truth (Acts 20:29–30). Against them, we must uphold the truth of God and godly living (2 Tim. 3:1–17).” I think those who go so far as to link this letter and Jude to the “Judizers” and then suggest this letter is oppositional to Paul’s wing of Christianity go too far. It also seems that blaming the issue on syncretizing Gentiles is likely not the issue since all the illustrations from Cain to the Angels to even the Enoch references come from the Jewish religion and other Second Temple Jewish beliefs and not from Gentile practice. This is not to suggest that converted Gentiles would be wholly unaware of these texts. They may have been aware of them. But the way in which Jude uses them suggests the audience’s deep familiarity with these stories. He shows this by how little background he includes with the references.
Audience The specific audience is unknown. There are few clues beyond the situation. The audience is a Christian community that is not representing God’s holiness in their community. Scholars often suggest two potential audiences for this message. The audience is “either Jewish and being lured into sin, or they are gentiles who have become familiar with Greek Jewish writings but are syncretizing the gospel to the immorality of their culture.” Indeed, it could be that this Christian community matches the pagan world; however, it may not be the Gentiles causing the problems. Many times in Israel’s past, the children of Israel made the same sort of sinful choices without the instigation of foreigners. One clue as to who the problem group is might be the appeal to Second Temple writings made by Jude. This appeal may suggest a primarily Jewish audience.
Location The location of the audience is unknown. Places with larger Jewish communities have a stronger argument if we assume a primarily Jewish audience. The best guess for an area would be Alexandria or Jerusalem, as those places generally had the largest concentrations of Jews during the first century. Further evidence of Alexandria “is the letter appears to have been accepted early in Egypt and has excellent rhetoric.”  Evidence of Jerusalem would be “the use of Hebrew and Aramaic sources is suggestive of Palestine as is James’ popularity there.”. Jerome’s Commentary on Matthew stated, “Jude is expressly said to have preached in Mesopotamia.” By the time Jerome made that statement, the book would likely have spread there from its original audience.
Literary Analysis of Jude:
Genre People generally categorized the book of Jude as an epistle or a letter-essay. This text is meant to act as “substitute speeches or surrogates for the presence of the writer.” The limited size implies it is to be read at one time from its introduction through its conclusion twenty-five verses later. For this reason, some consider it “more of a homily than a letter and categorize it as an “epistolary sermon.” It was not uncommon for letters to be read to the assembled church. The size of this letter suggests a delivery that would be sharp and well-remembered. It is of a size that could even allow for the orator to memorize the text. Beyond its brevity, the decisions the author made at the letter’s close also hint that this is not a typical epistle. One such choice made by the author that makes Jude look like a homily is that he does not close his letter with closing comments or greetings that end some epistles of that time. Instead, he closes the letter with a doxology. A statement of praise and worship. This might also be in a letter, but the inclusion of one and the absence of the other gives Jude’s text the feeling more in with a church service or mass than with a communication meant to be read privately.
Genre and Presentation and Pericope Selection The subgenre of this book suggests to the reader that the author designed it all as a sermon. Furthermore, the abbreviated size of the text led me to choose as my pericope the entire text. The author integrated the Scripture’s elements from the opening to the conclusion. When considering how to present it, it seems counterintuitive to shorten the Scripture I am offering and thereby lose closely connected Biblical texts to add time to my preaching of the letter designed to be preached. It seems unlikely I can do better writing my own opening or application when the Holy Spirit placed those sections in the letter. Passage and Argument within the Book as a Whole As addressed above, the text selected is the whole Book because it works so effectively together. The first verse allows for an introduction of the author and simultaneously shows how he models those things that he will exhort his audience to do. Jude’s humility is quite different from those he describes in verse sixteen, who are “walking according to their desires; their mouths utter arrogant words, flattering people for their own advantage.” The contrast is deliberate. The letter’s structure has led some to suggest that the author arranged his work chiastically. However, in his analysis of this, Keown compares the two main attempts to find a chiastical structure and finds the arguments unconvincing. He then proclaims the “two attempts are so different it confirms that Jude is not arranged chiastically.” Jude organizes his work into roughly a Greek rhetorical structure. Although, “Schreiner and others rightly doubt that Jude drew on formal rhetorical techniques.” The similarity may be more a product of Jude naturally paralleling patterns that he had heard so many times before. He might have “caught” this structure more than having been “taught” this structure,
Exposition/Interpretation of Jude:
Outline The sermon has roughly five movements. The first movement begins his introduction in verses one and two. Here he sets the tone of the whole book and then moves on from his introduction to the second section. In the second movement, Jude addresses his purpose for this letter. After addressing his purpose for writing, Jude points to the false teachers from the past and those during his time. Jude then moves to the fourth section, focusing on the ultimate destruction of those false teachers. After addressing this destruction of the wicked, he moves on to point the holy ones to their Hope by focusing on and praising God.
Introduction (Jude1-2) The introduction includes verses one and two. This verse announces not only the author’s name but, as previously established, the virtue of humility, as being significant for this message. One curious note about this passage is the tendency of many translators to soften the term “δοῦλος.” This term most broadly means slave, but it seems translators prefer words like bond-servant. It seems we miss a bit of the weight of what Jude is declaring. He is putting himself in a much lower position than Christ. It seems reasonable that Jude chooses the word doulos because it most clearly represents complete submission to Jesus.
The purpose of the Letter (Jude 3-4) When discussing the purpose of his letter Jude begins by mentioning the letter he wanted to write. By doing this, he illustrates the critical nature of his message. He shows his audience that confronting false teachers is more important than writing a letter celebrating their salvation. It is because he views the Christian walk as something more than simple Hell-fire insurance. Giving your life to Christ is excellent, but living as the Body of Christ comes next. In other words, this letter may not be fun, but we must deal with this problem. The phrase “faith that was delivered to the saints once and for all” covers Hell-fire insurance. It illustrates the sufficiency of the Gospel for their Salvation, but what happens when there are competing “gospels”? If Christ’s death is sufficient, they did not need additional special knowledge or practices to complete the work. Often false teachers, even today, suggest all one needs is Jesus plus this other thing. Jude disagrees. The similarity to Galatians 1:6-10 is significant. The false teachers coming in seem to be rejecting Christ and choosing to be ungodly, including various forms of sexual sin.
False Teachers then and Now (Jude 5-11) This is the body of the text. Jude begins this section by listing previous points of sinful rebellion and then how God would work to purify those to whom he has entrusted His ministry. Jude mentions the disobedience of the Israelites in the wilderness. After that, Jude addresses the angels that disobeyed God, rejecting their assigned roles before the flood. He follows that with the immorality of Sodom and Gomorrah. In this way, he hints at two great purging for God’s perfect plan. Jude then includes a story about the Archangel Michael disputing Satan and a trio of false prophets: Cain, Korah, and Ballam. Satan, the disobedient Israelites, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the three false prophets illustrate a similar trend toward willful rebellion. Additionally, greed, jealousy, and sexual perversion color these stories. Those that study Jude spend a great deal of energy exploring the stories involving Archangel Michal, Satan, and the trapped angels. This activity is because, likely, these stories did not come out of the Bible. Instead, these stories refer to other Second Temple writings. This usage sparks debate about Jude’s reliability and even fuels the question of lost books in the Bible. Some even use it to argue the references to Enoch or other second temple writings suggest we should include them in almost a secondary canon. These thoughts seem too heavily on several small Jude or Peter’s Epistles references. Perhaps a better approach is to understand it as a cultural bridge to the communities, as these concepts were well established in the Jewish communities. The Jewish doctrine of Archangels develops near the New Testament period. As Green points out. “The concept of archangels (only here and in 1 Thess. 4:16) came late into Judaism. In Daniel 12:1, Michael is named as guardian of Israel (cf. Dan. 10:13, 21). 1 Enoch has a developed hierarchy of seven archangels.” If we view Jude as a sermon, then it is reasonable that he might be using cultural references to clarify his point. This usage would not be unlike Paul referencing Greek philosophers or his use of an idol in Athens.  Stepping away from the Second Temple Writings debate and back to what Jude was doing with the writings leaves this observation that “Jude draws three clear points. His false teachers are arraigned for lust, for rebelliousness, and for irreverence.” This idea all moves toward Jude’s next section, which discusses judgment.
God’s Judgement of False Teachers (Jude 12-19) For the sake of His Gospel, God judges all the past false teachers. Jude links those teachers in his day with those in the past. He declares they “long ago were designated for this condemnation.” Mangum pronounces, “These apostates will be judged as God has judged those like them in the past.” Their destruction can come on them suddenly, as it did those in the past. The time for them to repent is now. It is also interesting that Jude does not only pronounce judgment on those people like Jonah’s decree in Nineveh. He is appealing the letter to repent and asks, “the readers are to help those in danger of apostasy and are to themselves maintain a godly life.” Jude appeals to the saints to “have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”
A Call to the Saints to Persevere (Jude 20-26) Jude closes with a call for the saints to stay faithful. Throughout his message, Jude uses examples of people and even celestial beings who once were in a place of trust, and then their rebellion led to their destruction. Jude is appealing to the saints to remain faithful. Blum notes that “contemporary culture is becoming indifferent to the question of truth.” Jude’s warning that “In the end time there will be scoffers walking according to their own ungodly desires” seems to point at us today. We may indeed be in Jude’s “end times,” yet no matter when we are, we can take heed and to take hope from his exhortation. Building one another up in faith and praying in the power of the Holy Spirit is undoubtedly instrumental in our “keep yourselves in the love of God.” But perhaps the most fantastic thing Jude does is remind the saints to remain on the evangelical offense. The Great Commission is always in effect. He calls us to continue the Gospel mission even in the face of opposition. Then he closes with a powerful doxology to remind us who sustains us.
Canonical Analysis of Jude:
The Canonical Debate for Jude Any exploration of Jude’s connectedness to the Scripture should start with why it is in the Scriptures in the first place. Jude is a book with some detractors and some who thought it unnecessary. Wilmerding reminds us, “This epistle is placed on his list of disputed books by Eusebius.” As noted earlier, Jerome mentioning the text’s use throughout Mesopotamia helps argue for an early acceptance. Its relationship to 2 Peter reinforces that argument for early acceptance. Additionally, church fathers like “Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen all knew the book,” and several defended its inclusion. The doubters for this text typically reject Jude for several reasons. The most significant attack on its canonicity comes from Jude’s use of noncanonical writings. Beyond that, some accuse it of being a pseudepigraphy. Both of these issues were addressed earlier in this paper. A third objection was “the limited number of citations of the letter in the literature of the early church.”  This attack was made on Mark’s Gospel, and in both cases, arguments fail for similar reasons. Of course, if 2 Peter is quoting Jude, that discounts the lack of quotation argument. An additional complaint attacks the letter’s style. Some believe that the “vocabulary of the letter is too polished to be produced by a Galilean carpenter’s son.” This argument seems to carry the least weight because it asks us to assume, nearly two thousand years later, a risky fallacy. It suggests that we can apply how things “usually are” to how things “specifically are in this unique case” with certainty. We can may broad logical guesses, but with each individual case, we do not know. This argument is weak because, as seen in writing from those times, social mobility, while perhaps not common, was possible within the Greco-Roman world. After all, the number of people who God used to write the Bible is extremely small compared to the societies in which they lived. It is not unreasonable to assume that the writer’s life was not typical. After Didymus of Alexandria’s successful argument in the book, the debate ends on its canonicity.
Parallel Passages from the New Testament Part of the argument of Jude is that from the beginning, there have been false prophets and messengers within God’s community. It is, therefore, not unexpected to find the topic of false teachers spread throughout the New and Old Testaments. As often noted, the closest connected writing to Jude is 2 Peter. The similarity between second Peter and Jude Is connected to a shared problem that both are addressing false teachers.  Both books use some of the exact comparisons and references. Also, both writers use connections to noncanonical writing from the Second Temple period. The similarity has caused some to argue that 2 Peter is a pseudepigraphy. I do not think this is the case, but the similarity would suggest that the two works have a significant connection. It looks like the writer of one had access to the other, or both had access to an as-yet-undiscovered source. Jude’s connection with Galatians is not quite as significant as with 2 Peter, but it is still worth noting. In Galatians, Paul also deals with false teachers. In Galatians 1:8, Paul’s reference to lying angelic messengers further connects it with 2 Peter and Jude. Finally, in Galatians. Paul also calls himself a doulos or “slave of Christ.” This connection to Jude also connects to the book of James as well. Paul in 1 Corinthians 5 seems to be dealing with a similar problem of egregious sexual immorality. In both Jude’s audience and with the church in Corinth, the implication is something more destructive than adultery or fornication. Those sins destroy the family, but something about these sins requires a direct address confronting them. The sign is likely tied to worship directly, or perhaps more likely, and they are sins that the people have just decided to continue despite God’s leadership.
Parallel Passages from the Old Testament The book of Jude connects several places with the Torah. His examples connect directly with the Torah or connect with a story developed out of the Torah. The False teachers all show up in the Pentateuch narrative. Their sin is plain in the text. Additionally, we see both the results and the consequences of their rebellion in the text. What is the truth of false teachers seen in these three: Cain, Korah, and Balaam? Green accurately observes, “Like Cain, they were devoid of love. Like Balaam, they were prepared in return for money to teach others that sin did not matter. Like Korah, they were careless of the ordinances of God and insubordinate to church leaders.”
Parallel Passages from Second Temple Writings The other illustration that comes from the Second Temple writing also emerges from the Torah. For example, the Book of Moses does not contain the battle between the Archangel Michael and Satan. However, the Torah closes with Moses climbing up a mountain and dying. Therefore, the battle between Michael and Satan over Moses’s bones seems somewhat connected. The battle discussed in Jude 9 comes from the Testament of Moses. It is from this text that Jude shows the difference between “Michael’s restrained speech, even to the devil, and the blasphemies of the errorists against the angels.” This contrast echoes the comparison between Jude, himself, and the false teachers in content and style. Another quotation from the Second Temple writings draws debate and has already been discussed. This debate centers on Jude’s use of Enoch. Blum shows this quote does not come from “Genesis but the Book of Enoch (also called ‘The Ethiopic Book of Enoch’)” It is important to note that Jude does not seem to elaborate on his Enoch reference. Anders and Walls recognize this when they state, “Apparently, the common knowledge of the time did not make it necessary for Jude to explain himself further. His readers must have understood his reference easily. We do not.” Building on the assumption that the quote is known to the initial audience encourages further analysis. This prophecy “is composed in Hebrew poetic parallelism, the oldest specimen extant.” Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown even go so far as to suggest that it is also possible that Lamech’s speech in Genesis may have been a response to Enoch’s prophecy.
Application of Jude:
Appropriateness for Today Dan Story sounds similar to Jude in his book, Christianity on the Offense: Responding to the Beliefs and Assumptions of Spiritual Seekers, as he declares, “Thousands of Christians are unwittingly assimilating postmodern philosophy into their thinking, causing them to compromise ethical behavior (moral relativism), reject the uniqueness of Christianity (religious pluralism), and dismiss the Bible in favor of religious experiences (religious subjectivism.).” In my introduction, I noted the chaotic world that surrounds and, unfortunately, infiltrates twenty-first-century American churches. This situation is not to say that the Christian community does not stand firm on anything. Individually we must make sure we are standing for the right things. Blum warns, “Christians have been and are still intolerantly dogmatic about relatively minor theological issues.” However, I would add that the test here is Paul’s Romans chapter fourteen teaching. However, we must remember that the truth of the Gospel is greatly “needed in view of the relativity and syncretism so common today.”As Blum also puts it, there is “great danger of accepting all teaching or positions as valid uncritically and thus compromising God’s once-and-for-all self-disclosure in Jesus.” This is that very same Gospel we are called to share today.
Specific Use of Jude Today When Green discusses the decay experienced by the first audience, which necessitated the writing of this letter, it is difficult not to see modern parallels. He says, “Physically, they became immoral. Intellectually, they became arrogant. Spiritually, they denied the Lord.”  This accusation hits too close to home for many a pulpit in America. Pastors need to take a moment and self-check following this pattern. We must remember what James said in his letter, “we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” The greatest danger for our congregation might not be the pastor on television. It may be us. The first use of this text is to challenge the modern teacher to make sure he or she is not caught in the same snare as those false teachers before. In the case of all the examples Jude uses, each false teacher started in a trusted position and then turned away from the sacred role left them. Therefore, before we preach the sermon on Jude to the assembled saints, it must be preached to the pastor. Only after this may we hope to share the text with the assembly of God’s saints. In any large gathering, it is likely to include a mix of people. It is expected that our congregations include those “who do not believe,” who “walk according to their ungodly desires,” or “even reject authority and blaspheme.” For these people, we are to stand firm in the faith. We must “contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once and for all.” Green’s warning that “‘Progressive morality’ and ‘progressive thinking’ often go hand in hand with progressive deafness to the voice of God” is true today too. Only by standing firm in our faith can we expect to point people to Christ and, in some cases, even back to Christ. Our cultural bias toward the new or novel has further supported the modern relativistic nature of morality and the belief that all things spiritual have equal value. However, as Blum warns, there is “great danger of accepting uncritically all teaching or positions as valid and thus compromising God’s once-and-for-all self-disclosure in Jesus.” How is this contenting with our faith? Ultimately our goals are Kingdom goals as outlined in Jude’s sermon. “Have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear hating even the garment defiled by the flesh,” Jude warns against mixing the Gospel truth with worldly and even demonic poisons. In our modern, post-enlightenment world, even those in the church default to lives governed by what they can taste, touch, feel, or smell. Too often, we look to natural causes and then natural solutions in a world that we profess to believe had supernatural origins. For those trapped in this non-supernatural worldview, Jude offers us a wake-up call and reminder that arrogance and treating the dismissal of the supernatural are signs not of modern sophistication but are signs that we are following the path of those false teachers that have gone before. We need to humble ourselves before God and repent. Green makes the point that “Salvation, to Jude, meant not only past deliverance (v. 5) but present experience (v. 23f.) and future enjoyment of the glory of God (v. 25). It is shared by the author and readers, Jewish and Gentile Christians alike.”  We move into our new position as that faith is delivered. Now as ἅγιος or “holy ones,” we have a role in the salvation story to play. We either participate as trusted agents honoring our calling or become false teachers and reveal God’s power and holiness through our destruction.
Practical Application for Today Sex, money, pride, and burnout are significant pitfalls for pastors and are also things that Jude addresses. These risks suggest that this text’s first practical use would be as a devotional to pastors. The view that this text is a warning against false teachers makes it worthwhile as a warning to current teachers and a call to repent for those who may have strayed. Additionally, the more power and authority you seem to receive, the greater the temptation to forget the real power and control. Next, this message needs to be preached to the church. In this message, the congregation is recognized as God’s Holy Ones. What Gospel do our lives preach? Every one of us has a role in the kingdom. While these roles may not be seen as classical preaching, our lives preach a homily. The first example Jude uses is that “Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.” The parallel with this example is not the pastor but the congregation. Those graciously rescued chose to reject their calling as Holy Ones. In Exodus, we see the failure when “the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Lastly, we must remain vigilant and watch for the warning signs that Jude lays out. But Jude’s call is not for believers to create a defensive circle of our orthodox wagons. We are to be on the offense contending with faith, “strengthen ourselves against spiritual deception and be ready to help vulnerable believers. Christian friends must not be lulled into a false sense of security and take a disastrous spiritual fall.” We must battle that pernicious lie that somehow “salvation did not free the whole person (body, soul, spirit) from the bondage of sin.” Like those first-century believers, we must remember the lost are not the enemy; they are the battleground to be won. And as Jude’s sermon closes with the source of his hope, our practical applications need to end with the same hope. God can hold us fast and enable our perseverance until our final victory. What a hope it is to be based on our glorious Lord and Savior.
Bibliography The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016). The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009). Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008). Eberhard Nestle et al., The Greek New Testament, 27th ed. Blum, Edwin A., “Jude,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 12 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981). Crowe, Brandon D., The Hope of Israel: The Resurrection of Christ in the Acts of the Apostles (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2020). Elwell, Walter A., and Comfort, Philip Wesley, Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Tyndale Reference Library (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001). Garrett Jr., James Leo, Systematic Theology: Biblical, Historical, and Evangelical, Second Edition., vol. 2 (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2014). Green, Michael, 2 Peter and Jude: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 18, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1987). Gunther, John J., “The Alexandrian Epistle of Jude,” NTS 30:4 (1984). Heiser, Michael S., The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, First Edition. (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015). Jamieson, Robert, Fausset, A. R., and Brown, David, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), Keener, Craig S., The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Jude. Keown, Mark J., Discovering the New Testament: An Introduction to Its Background, Theology, and Themes: The Gospels & Acts, vol. I (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018). Mangum, ed., Lexham Context Commentary: New Testament, Jude 1–25. Miller, Jeffrey E. and Barry, John D., “Pseudepigraphy in the Early Christian Period,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016). Moyise, Steve, Introduction to Biblical Studies, 2nd ed., T&T Clark Approaches to Biblical Studies (London; New York: T&T Clark International, 2004 Robertson, A.T., Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933). The story, Dan, Christianity on the Offense: Responding to the Beliefs and Assumptions of Spiritual Seekers (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1998) Walls, David and Anders, Max, I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude, vol. 11, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999) Willmering, H., “The Epistle of St Jude,” in A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, ed. Bernard Orchard and Edmund F. Sutcliffe (Toronto; New York; Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson, 1953).
The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009), Jude 1–25.
 Walls and Anders, I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude, vol. 11, 260.
 Blum, “Jude,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation, 385.
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