Jude writes that the threat comes from WITHIN the Church and the Church was not aware of it. These people were now trusted and accepted in their fellowships, but they were irreverent and godless in their thoughts and their lives- ''By their fruit shall you know them''. The grace of God was used as an excuse for blatant immorality, they didn't even try to hide the shameful things they were doing, but actually encouraged other believers to imitate them! In order to get to this, it is inevitable that they would be propagating false ideas about Jesus Christ, denying His full humanity and uniqueness. No wonder Jude was alarmed! It is important for us to remember as we look at Jude's examples in history, that these evil people did not regard themselves as enemies of the Church, but as the advanced thinkers, the ones growing and extending Christian thought. Jude thus cites cases where those people who have received the greatest privileges from God can still fall needlessly into disaster if they do not take care. Taking his first case from Numbers 13 and 14 where the spies entering the Promised Land returned to Israel with such a negative, fearful report that the Israelites wouldn't go forward, Jude reminds his readers that God, in consequence of the non-actions and demonstrated unbelief of His people, ensured that all that generation would die and never enter the Promised Land. I think we can be assured for ourselves that 'once saved always saved' is the general promise, but as with all such principles there may be exceptions to the rule and Scripture contains dire warnings of those who do not take care and find themselves outside the Kingdom at the last- Hebrews 3 v 18- 4 v 2 is one passage. John Bunyan, in 'Pilgrim's Progress' wrote that even from the gates of heaven there was a way to hell! The second example concerns the fall of the angels, which the Jews fully believed had taken place. This may have happened through two ways: the first was due to pride and rebelliousness- Isaiah 14 v 12- and the second through lust- Genesis 6 v 1-4. This may all seem very strange to us, but basically, just as the angels fell, these wicked men in the Church were encouraging others and doing the same themselves; heading the Way of destruction due to pride and lust. Jude goes on to discuss Sodom and Gomorrah, oft used throughout Scripture as supreme examples of human sin and the judgement of God. Genesis 19 v 1-11 tells us the story which involved the rape of angels! Interestingly here in the New Living Translation it is recorded that JESUS rescued Israel from Egypt! Hold on in there, the next verses of Jude are even stranger!!
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