Jude’s call was that those being influenced by error though familiar with truth (Jude verse 5) would know truth so well as not to be influenced by these men. These men were the Gnostics where some sects would teach total deprivation of sensuous things to the point they would die from depriving themselves the necessities of life. Yet, there were some that sought to destroy their bodies by indulging in every sinful act as to kill the body from these indulgences and free the spirit, for they believed that the flesh was evil and the spirit pure.
These men appeared in churches with this so called “higher knowledge” and taught that since we are to destroy the body to free the spirit that by grace we have a license to indulge in immorality. They did not realize that this was actually denying Jesus as our only Sovereign and Lord. This teaching made man the center of his own choices and a person would not seek the true wisdom of God through Jesus.
This same teaching is still in the church. It takes on the same form though not as blatantly. One has replaced the idea of indulging with the denial of the flesh… for the idea that “flesh” is evil and “spirit” is good still is alive in many churches. Now, to say that flesh is evil misses that the bible teaches it is the “desires of the flesh” and not the flesh itself that is evil. (Romans 1:24; 6:12; 8:5) It is the sin nature that resides in man that drives us to fulfill the evil desires of the flesh.
Yet, Jude was teaching us to contend for the faith. This faith that Jesus has and is destroying the sin nature. That it is only by faith in Jesus that we are saved from our own sinful nature “who is able to keep you from falling”.
It is interesting that the description of these men is “These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires”. They will cut down other men for their own advantage.
Now, immorality can be of the sexual or fleshly manner. Yet, here we find “faultfinders, and they follow their own evil desires”. How naive to think that immorality is all just sexual. For, grumbling and faultfinding… and boasting about themselves seem to not fit in the “sexual” sin area.
So, here it seems these men who have taken a license for immorality, seem to take odds and find fault in others. I wonder if it relates to those also who were telling people like the Galatians to become circumcised and convert to Judaism in order to be able to accept Jesus.
Much of the descriptions of these men if placed against the fruit of the Spirit would seem to be the total opposite. In that I would be careful to listen to men who spend time finding fault in others and grumbling.
Now we all fail and fall. We may become critical or even judge others. We may grumble at our circumstances and even use flattery to gain more position. All this is what we battle everyday.
Now, there are some though who say they are called of God… they state they are “appointed by God as pastor/teachers” and should not be questioned. They cozy up to others who flatter them with words. They base their whole ministry in finding faults in others… in fact they “are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit”. These men today write books to do so, they have websites that seek only to find fault and grumble that others do not seek God as they do… and they boast in how their way is better and flatter men… even dead men.
The contrast of those who believe is that they are encouraged by Jude to “build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.” Jude tells them to “Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” One of the signs of a true believer is that they are “merciful to those who doubt”. Their concern is not must for themselves to sell books or to look good or even to get more listeners for their radio show, or hits on their blog… it is to be concerned for others than themselves. Jude calls us to “snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear--hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”
We are to be merciful and loving, not grumbling and faultfinding. In the end, who will care if it was a sofa you sat on in church or a pew, or whether one listened to a rock style worship of sang hymns, for without mercy and love neither is good. Even sitting in a pew or singing a hymn can be sinful if one’s heart tells them that it makes them more holy than others.
God seeks those who seek after His heart and His heart is Jesus.