Instructions from Jude, Part 6
Jude 17-23, “But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And 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.”
Verse 23, “save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”
Too bad we don’t view sin very seriously in our culture anymore. Today this verse is controversial at best, or despised and mocked at worst. The beginning of this sentence was our verse from last week about having mercy on those who doubt. We should help those who are struggling with sin and struggling with their faith. The remaining part of the sentence includes some language that people often have trouble with.
To save others by snatching them out of the fire means that I will do all in my power to help you escape the destructive and condemning nature of sin. That means I will do what it takes to help you avoid that which causes you harm. Today the mantra is, “live and let live” or “don’t judge” or even “you can’t tell me what to do.” I wonder if Christians today really love each other enough to snatch others from the fire. Do we love others enough to call sin, sin? Dare we tell another to repent?
The verse continues with another call to mercy. We don’t desire to be harsh when telling others to repent. That applies both to a fellow believer who is struggling in their sin or the unbeliever who needs to repent and believe the Gospel. We do want to show mercy, but we do so with fear. Sin is serious business. We want to be aware of it. We want to turn from it, but we also realize that temptation is all around us and we need to be careful lest we fall into sin.
Finally the verse speaks of a proper kind of hate. In a world that hijacks the word love to mean whatever it means at the moment, hatred for sin is not tolerated. Yet Jude calls us to hate even the garment stained by the flesh. Sin should not be coddled or tolerated or even embraced, it should be hated.
Paul states in Galatians 5:19-24, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissections, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”