Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Jude 1:17-23

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Encouragement to Persevere Against Ungodliness - Jude 1:17-21

The church should be comforted that the presence of ungodly people is not a surprise to the Lord. Both their presence and their destruction is part of God's decree. Believers are to be encouraged and remain steadfast.

Remember what the apostles . . . foretold - Jude 1:17

apostles Jude was not an apostle, according to this statement. But this statement does not imply that he was not a member of their generation, as some have argued.

Last times - Jude 1:18

last time This phrase refers to the period between Jesus's first and second comings (Acts 2:17; Heb. 1:12). mockers The false teachers were defiant toward the authority of God and perhaps especially toward the reality of their own judgment at his hands (cf. 2 Pet. 3:3–4). ungodly desires This is the core of Jude's charge against the false teachers.

Divide you - Jude 1:19

cause divisions The false teachers likely taught things that were pleasing to some, perhaps the rich, but not to others (v. 16). They also built themselves up. Division is a sure result of such teaching. They may have even encouraged divisions within the church that would have benefitted them. In doing so, these false teachers were acting against the work of the Spirit and in disobedience to the Scriptures. Instead, they followed their own natural evil desires.

Build . . . holy faith - Jude 1:20

build . . . holy faith The believers are to be vigilant to resist the teaching of the ungodly among them. They should base their lives on the trustworthy message of the gospel. Jude's language suggests that the "faith" is the foundation on which the believers should be built up. Here, "faith" refers to the changeless content of the gospel message delivered by the apostles and prophets (Gal. 1:23; 1 Tim. 3:9). pray in the Holy Spirit The false teachers obeyed their natural desires, but the believers should be led by the Spirit in their prayers. WCF 16.3; WLC 75.

Keep yourselves in God's love - Jude 1:21

Keep yourselves Jude's direct encouragements to the believers in vv. 20-21 suggest that real effort is required on the part of the believers to resist the false teaching of the ungodly among them. God is "able to keep" them (v. 24), but he does so by means of their own obedience to these very exhortations. The godly life that Jude is exhorting his readers to pursue is only attainable through the work of the Triune God. In vv. 20-21, Jude exhorts his readers to "pray in the Holy Spirit," "keep yourselves in God's love," and "wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Encouragement to Help Others Persevere - Jude 1:22-23

Encouragement to Help Others Persevere Jude made the point that for different situations, different pastoral approaches are required. For those who doubt, a more tender approach is appropriate. Those who are falling prey to the false teachers need more immediate, direct action.

Mixed with fear - Jude 1:22-23

merciful Unlike the false teachers who do not have mercy on others, believers are called to show mercy just as they have been shown mercy in Christ. Far from being merciful, the false teachers seek to harm others by their destructive teachings and ungodly lifestyle. fear A more tender confrontation of sin presents the danger of falling prey to the same temptation. Vigilance is required. (cf. Gal. 6:1) garment stained by the flesh The Greek word Jude chose here refers to a long shirt worn directly next to the body. Again, caution is required when believers deal with the ungodly among them. They too risk being influenced by the false teachers unless they heed Jude's encouragements to be careful (1 Cor. 5:11; 2 John 10-11). WCF 30.3.

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