Verses 1-4: Purpose for the Writing



“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sancrtified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:”


From the fact that he looks back on the apostles, it is believed that Jude may have written his epistle between 80-90 A.D.


         “Jude the servant of Jesus Christ”
         Literally:  “Judas, a slave of Jesus Christ”

         Unfortunately, the “unlearned” get all panicky and have absurd ideas every time they see the name of Judas.  They somehow think that every Judas mentioned in the Bible is the same Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus. They have the same kind of erroneous thinking of those who believe that John the Baptist was the same John who wrote the Book of RevelationBut such thinking could not be more wrong  Such non-thinking people do not take the time to understand that John was a common Jewish name, just as Judas was a common Jewish name in Jesus’ day.  In Acts 5:37 there is mentioned another man by the name of Judas–the man Judas of Galilee who had stirred up the people in insurrection against Rome. The name Judas is simply the Greek rendering of the word Jew or Judah, just like the name Elias was the Greek rendering of the Hebrew name, Elijah.  

        Right off we see here the humility of Jude and that he was content for second place.  Nothing reveals more about a man than how he speaks of himself.  Immediately we see that he describes himself as merely a slave to Jesus Christ and in second place to James, both of whom, in human and fleshly terms, were his older brothers.  Contrary to what the Roman Catholic Church so emphatically teaches us of the virtual virginity of Mary, we are told in the Word of God (Matt. 13:55-36)  that Mary had at least seven children.  In Matt. 13:55 we are told the names of Jesus’ four brothers (after the flesh).  There we read, “Is not this the carpenter’s son?  Is not his mother called Mary?  And his brethren (brothers) James, and Joses, (i.e., Joseph, Jr.) and Simon, and Judas (Jude).  As you can see, both James and Jude are listed here as earthly, or fleshly, brothers of Jesus.  Verse 56 goes on to say, “…and his sisters…” (being plural, meaning at least two sisters.  
         That means that Mary had at least seven children, six others after giving birth to Jesus. This, from God’s Word, tells us that Mary did NOT perpetually remain a virgin, though how she could have still been classified as a virgin after having given birth I could never figure out.  Unfortunately Jerome wrongly maintaineed that by the Lord's “brethren” are meant his cousins, children of Mary and Cleophas (the same as Alphaeus).  This error is still being advocated today.  It is interesting to watch well-meaning, but erroneous, commentators “dance around” this fact of Mary having more children than just Jesus.  Such have been “brain-washed” by Satan to believe in this myth of the perpetual virginity of Mary.
         In relation to Jesus Christ, Jude places himself in the position that all believers who see themselves, as the “servant” (literally: slave) of Jesus Christ. He regarded himself as having only one object and mission in life:  to be forever at the disposal of Jesus for service in His ministry. In the Matt. 13:55 passage he is listed as last on the list of names of Jesus’ earthly brothers, denoting that he was the youngest of the brothers, or sons of Mary.       

         “and brother of James,”
         Literally:  “and brother of James”

         This is referring to the same James as who is listed in the Matt. 13:55–the second son of Mary.  The fact that James was listed first in the list of Jesus’ brothers, (Mary’s sons) shows that he was the eldest of the four brothers, next after Jesus.  This James was also the Chief Pastor of the Church in Jerusalem. 
         Perhaps it was with becoming humility, or perhaps even because they did not believe on Him at one time (John 7:5), that neither of these brothers of Jesus (after the flesh) mentions his human relationship to the Lord Jesus.  Also, neither James nor Jude were numbered among the original apostles.  The books that these two brother wrote had one similarity in content:  works.  James set for good works as evidence of saving faith, while Jude presents evil works as evidence of apostasy and unbelief.


         “To them that are sancrtified by God”
         Literally:  “to the {ones} called in God the Father, having been set apart”

         Unfortunately there has been much confusion regarding this term, “sanctification.”  There is really no deep esoteric meaning to this word, for “sanctify” simply means, “to set apart.”  Sanctification is probably the most misunderstood doctrine in the Bible. 


When America entered WW-II, her great automobile plants were changed from peacetime production to wartime production.  Instead of making family automobiles, they began to make tanks, armored cars and airplanes.  In other words, they were set apart for a new work.  Their entire purpose of existence was changed.
       This is the same thing that takes place when you are saved.  The entire purpose of your life is changed, and you no longer are to serve sin.  The word church, is a translation of the Greek word EKKLESIA, which means, “a called out assemb


I.      Sanctification that is POSITIONAL
        Saved from the penalty of sin. 
       Also called, Present SanctificationI Am Saved
       A.      When is one Sanctified Positionally?
                The very instant you receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you sins are washed away by His Blood. 
                You are immediately set apart by God and declared to be holy (I Cor. 6:9-11, especially v. 11).
       B.      How is one Sanctified Positionally?
               When you received Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior several things take place.
               1.         God puts His Name upon you.
               2.         God gives you His righteousness (II Cor. 5:21)
               3.         God declares you to be in Christ Jesus and free from the penalty of sin (Rom. 8:1).

ILLUSTRATION:  Man is Drafted.

       Imagine a man who works in an office.  During a war he receives that letter from the President, which begins with the word, “Greetings.”  He answers the call of his country and is soon in the army.  His old life is suddenly changed.  He has different clothing and different companions.  He no longer lives in the bosom of his family.  He is living among a new group of people.  He has changed positionally.  His life has been set apart for a new purpose.  In like manner, the believer has been set apart for a new purpose.

II.     Sanctification that is PROGRESSIVE
        Saved from the power of sin.
        This is also known as Continuous SanctificationI Am Being Saved.
        We do not grow into sanctification, but we do grow in sanctification.
        A.     Progressive (or Practical) Holiness will show itself in our daily life.
        B.     Progressive (or Practical) Holiness is growing in Grace.
                Just as certain things will cause a child to grow, so there are certain means of spiritual growth (Rom. 6:6-12).
        c.      Progressive (or Practical) Holiness means Faithfulness to our Christian Duty.

         General Robert E. Lee said that “duty is the sublimest word in the English language.  We cannot do more than our duty, but we dare not do less.”   You cannot turn your back upon what you know to be your duty without bringing some harm to your spiritual life.  If you see a thing that you ought to do—a thing which you know is of God—and if you refuse to do that thing, something dies within you.  James 4:17 sums it up:  “To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

III.    Sanctification that it POTENTIAL.
         This is also known and Future Sanctification. |
         Saved from the PRESENCE of sin–I Will Be Saved.

         This is the third and final aspect of sanctification

         This will take place when we get to heaven (I Thess. 3:13).  When we see Christ, we shall be like Him.  We shall be saved from the very presence of sin.  The old sin nature will be taken away, and we will be perfect, sinless and completely holy. 
         Remember this when you look at other Christians.  Some day we will all be perfect; that is, all of us who have received Jesus Christ as personal Savior.  In the meantime, let us all be patient with each other, and love one another in spite of imperfections.  Keep our eyes on Christ, and not on people.

         “and preserved in Jesus Christ
         Literally:  “and having been kept to Jesus Christ”

         HAVING BEEN KEPT:   (tetêrêmenois)Translate not “in,” Christ, but the original Greek reads, for Jesus Christ.” –Kept continually by God the Father for Jesus Christ, against the day of His coming.  The same word is used in I Pet. 1:4–reserved in Heaven…” and John 17:6, 12.  This part of the working of God in our Progressive Sanctification.  In the original Greek the word “kept” expresses watchful care, or close attention, and is suggestive of a present possession.  Keep this precious truth in mind:
1.     Christians are those who are called by God..
        This Greek word (kaleô) for “call” is the same root that we get our Greek word for Church—(ekklesia)–“the called out ones.”
2.      Christians are those who are beloved in God.
         It is this fact that actually determines the nature of the call.  The call to men is really the call to be loved and to love God.
3.      Christians are those who are kept by Christ.
The Christian is never left alone for Christ is always the protector of his life and the companion of his way–“…lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (literally:  age).”

“Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.”

         “Mercy unto you”
         Literally:  “mercy to you”

There is not even one person who is not in need of God’s mercy.  Even the “best” of people have no merit, and must receive every blessing and grace in the way of mercy. The apostle Paul echoed this same idea in his epistle to the Romans–“…There is none righteous, no, not one.”  In Eph. 2:4 Paul told us about our God who is “rich in mercy.”  And Paul goes on to explain why God is so rich in mercy, it is because “…His great love wherewith He loved us.”  In Heb. 4:16 we are told to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  MERCY is the fountain from which flows all the other blessings herein listed by Jude.  In this epistle Jude is not just wishing God’s mercy to his readers, he is also wishing them to have all the rest of God’s blessings that come from God’s mercy.

         “and peace,”
         Literally:  “and peace”

         The most important part of “peace,” is peace with God and your consciences; and you cannot have peace with your conscience, if you have not made your peace with God.  It was Paul’s custom to greet his readers with “grace to you and mercy”–(charis hymin kai eirênê).  It was necessary for Paul to give this double greeting because he was usually writing to two different ethnic groups:  “grace” (charis) was the standard greeting of the Gentile Greeks, and “peace” (eirênê), the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew shalom (Shalom), because Paul was also writing to Jewish believers.   However, after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, the Jewish and Gentile factions merged together, and now Jude is writing to one church, instead of both a Gentile congregation and a Jewish congregation. 
         Peace is the second blessing that Jude wishes to be multiplied for believers.  But understand this most important point:  there is no peace for the usaved-“…the wicked (are} like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.  {There is} no peace, saith my God, to the wicked”  (Isa. 57:20-21).  BUT, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).                            

         “and love”
         Literally:  “and love”

         Love was the first commandment given by the Lord Jesus Christ:  “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another…By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples” (John 13:34-35).  It has been suggested that an outstanding reason for apostasy is the lack of love among the brethren, for you see that in Revelation chapter 3 Philadelphia (Brotherly Love) is followed by Laodicea (apostasy). 
         Putting these three words together we get Jude’s message:  in mercy we get the upward look; in peace we get the inward look; and in love we get the outward look.  These three words relate us to God, to our inner being, and to our brethren around us. 

       “be multiplied.”
       Literally:  “be multiplied to you”

That the aforementioned three blessings be increased for you and in you.  Jude prays that his readers may enjoy in liberal degree the great blessings of God's mercy, peace, and love bestowed upon themselves.


“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort {you} that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

         “when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation”
         Literally:  “making all diligence to write to you about the common ssalvation”

This phrase, “when I gave all diligence” is a Grecism-(a common expression of ancient Greece)–for giving intense thought upon a subject, indicating that Jude was giving serious thought and determination about what he was going to write.  He originally intended to write some sort of general essay that was designed for all, and enjoyed by all believers. 

         “it was needful for me to write unto you,”
         Literally:  “I had need to write to you”

Evidently Jude had intended to write some sort of explanatory treatise or essay about their salvation, but the rest of this verse and verse 4 indicates that his original intent was changed because of a serious problem that has crept into the church.  What he is saying is, “I felt it necessary to write (now, at once) so the Greek aorist present infinitive tense indicates) exhorting you.” Having originally intended to write a general treatise of “the common salvation,” he found it necessary because of the existing evils in the Church to write especially so that they should contend for the faith against those evils.

         “exhort {you} that ye should earnestly contend for the faith”
         Literally:  “exhorting {you} to contend earnestly for the faith”

         The phrase is a graphic one, implying standing over a thing to fight in its defense. There are times when you must fight as well as build (see Nehemiah 4:16, 18).  But a word of caution:  in your acts of contending for the faith, do so humbly, meekly, and lovingly, otherwise your contending will do hurt to the very cause you are defending, if not also destroy your own goodness and the fundamental truths of the gospel.  
         By strenuously contending for the faith, Jude did not mean contending for it with fire and sword, but by endeavoring, in the spirit of meekness and love, to establish the true doctrines of the gospel, by arguments drawn, not only from the Jewish Scriptures, but especially from the writings of the evangelists and apostles, which were all, or most of them, published when Jude wrote this letter. In the same manner they were strongly to oppose and refute the errors of the false teachers. The Greek word (epagônizesthai) rendered as “to earnestly contend” properly means, “to strive as in the Grecian games; that is, with their whole force.”  In Phil. 1:27 Paul explains how this exhortation is applicable to the Church–“…that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel.”

            “which was once delivered unto the saints.”
            Literally:  “once delivered to the saints”

            By this phrase Jude means once for all, because it was delivered by all the apostles as the only unchangeable rule of governing their lives, and obtaining salvation, to which nothing is to be added, and from which nothing is to be taken away.  He also has  implied, that it was therefore delivered to them that they might never forsake it, as there  never being another way made known to them. By delivered unto the saints Jude may mean that was delivered by God, and not invented by men. There are four things regarding the faith that we should all keep in mind.
           Basically speaking, this tiny letter is a treatise on the faith which all Christians, be they from a Jewish or Gentile background.  This epistle is basically a defense (or apologia–answer)–[I Pet. 3:15]  of the Christian faith and meant to rally all Christians to come to the defense of this holy faith. There are some important points that every believer should keep in mind:

  1. The Christian faith is something which is delivered to us.
     The facts of our faith are not something which we have discovered for ourselves.  On the contrary, the were given (delivered) to us.
  2. The Christian faith was once and for all delivered to us.
    It is unchangeable, i.e., there is an unchanging nucleus in it, and the permanent center of it is that Jesus Christ came into this world, and lived and died to bring salvation to men.
  3. The Christian faith has been entrusted to God’s consecrated people.
    The faith is not the possession any one person, but of the whole Church.  It has come to the Church, it is to be preserved by the Church, and it is to be understood within the Church.

“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“For there are certain men crept in unawares,”
 Literally:  “For certain men stole in”

           By the fourth quarter of the First Century AD, a problem–a serious problem–had arisen in the Church!  False and evil men had crept into the church.  This implies that such men were in positions of leadership within the church, for they would need to be to really cause problems in the Church. The Greek word (pareisedusan) that is rendered as, “crept in unawares” is quite expressive in its meaning.  It is used of the seductive words of clever pleaders who gradually seep into the minds of their hearers; or of an outlaw secretly slipping back into the country from which he has previously fled.  It really describes the slow and subtle entry of innovations which in the end undermine and break down what is right; i.e., it always indicates a stealthy insulation of something evil into a society or situation.  Here it is applied to how it has crept into the Church.
            By this time the church was plagued with two great forms of heresy:  Gnosticism and nicolaitanism.  Unfortunately, to the detriment of the purity of the gospel and the Church itself, both of these heresies are still, (in some form or the other), in the church today.  Jude describes such who advocate such heresies as “ungodly men.”


Basically speaking, Gnosticism is the thought and practice especially of various cults of late pre-Christian and early Christian centuries distinguished by the conviction that matter is evil and that emancipation comes through gnosis.  Gnosticism was a heresy claiming that salvation could be gained through secret knowledge. The word itself is derived from the Greek word gnosis, meaning “to know.”  They constructed an evil God and beings of the Old Testament to explain the creation of the world (matter), and considered Christ Jesus to be  a wholly spiritual God.  Such teaching is prevalent in many of the popular cults plaguing the Church today.


         This is one of the things that evidently had been plaguing the early Church of Ephesus about this same time, and one of the things that Christ commends the Ephesian Church for standing against and fighting.
          These Nicolaitans were a group within the Church who were attempting to establish some sort of priestly hierarchy or order.  They were most likely attempting to model the Church after the Old testament order of priests, Levites and common people.  This is really the beginning of the priesthood and hierarchical system that became the Roman Catholic Church, and the Lord Jesus Christ says that He  HATES such a system.
           The word Nicolaitan comes from two Greek words: (1) the verb (nikaô), which means “to conquer; to rule”, and (2) the noun  (laos), which means, “the people; the laity.”  Put the two words together and you get the meaning, “to rule the people; to conquer the people.”

          The “deeds” of these Nicolaitans (Rev. 2:6) were their efforts to establish their priestly Holy Order and place them over the people.  Unfortunately, by the Fourth Century, after Rome had usurped its authority over the Church, Nicolaitanism was no longer just a “deed” within the Church.  It had become an accepted  doctrine of the church (Rev. 2:15). 
         Such a plan for running a church is foreign to and in contradiction of the New Testament plan, which is for a local church to be a DEMOCRACY.  God's plan is that each local assembly is to be autonomous, without any one assembly or body having the ascendancy over any other.  The vote of each local assembly is to be final and there is no higher authority to which one can appeal than that of the voting body of local believers.  This fact of each individual church being a democracy is illustrated in Acts 6 when the church there in Jerusalem was told to pick from (vote on) their midst seven men.  This fact is also demonstrated in the churches meeting in Jerusalem (Acts 15).
         The people were to call these Nicolaitans “Holy Men.”  Not pastors, but clergy:  i.e., bishops, archbishops, archdeacons, etc.  Here we have the origin of the so-called Apostolic Succession, and the separation of the “clergy” from the “laity,” a separation which Christ says He HATES!   Christ does not wish there to be any head over His churches, other than Himself!
         Any church that has “elder” rule, or government by “bishops” (and both these terms really do apply to the pastor of a local church), or anything other than a totally democratic governing by the members, is practicing some form or other of the Doctrine of the Nicolaitans.  Unfortunately today we have Nicolaitan style church polities which have set up the office of bishop as some sort of  “boss-man” pastor who has authority over other pastors, or have elders who also have authority over the pastor and even the local church.  These are nothing but forms of Nicolaitanism–or hierarchical rule, instead of Christ's plan for His local churches to be total democracies.

         “ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness,
         Literally:  “ungodly ones perverting the grace of God into unbridled lust”

         Certain evil men had insinuated themselves into the Church.  Because of their actions within the church these were some for whom the judgment of God was waiting.  They had taken the grace of God and had perverted it into an excuse for blatant immorality.  Most men will somehow attempt to hide their sin, but these evil ones were those who have become so lost in decency that he no longer cares who see his sin.  Because they have ceased to care for decency at all, these sorts arrogantly and proudly flaunt to all their shameless actions.  Such may have been, to some extent, influenced by Gnosticism, and they had come to think that the grace of God was enough to cover any sin.  Their attitude was, “Since grace is unconditional, and God loves us all, then we can live as we want.  God is a God of love and would never condemn our actions, since we are under grace.  Therefore, the more we sin, the more grace we have, so why worry about sin?”  You see how they had perverted Grace into a justification for sin.
            As has already been mentioned, these heresies are still in the Church, in some form or the other.  We have pastors with the nicolaitan attitude that “I am the shepherd, and I will run my church the way I want.”  This is simply the attitude against which Peter warned all pastors:  “neither as being lords over {God’s} inheritance, but being examples to the flock” (I Pet. 5:3)). Who would have believed that we would have those in our pulpits, where the words of Christ were once respected, men who would say that, “men are all brothers.”  This is in total contradiction to the words of Jesus who declared that there are children of the devil (John 8:44), but unfortunately there are those in our pulpits who say this is not so.  It is a catastrophe to the cause of Christ that there are those in our pulpits who declare this blatant heresy of the universal brotherhood of man.    Jesus declared that the only ones who have the right to be called “sons of God” are those who have received Him as their Savior.
           Where Christ is being denied, or His doctrines are being perverted there is apostasy.  Christ warned us of its coming; Jude here is telling us what to do about it.  All of us should examine ourselves and ask ourselves: “Am I truly living in the faith?  Am I earnestly contending for the faith?  What form does my contending take?  It is because we in the Church have not been contending for the faith in the past that our faith is under constant attack and in danger in so many ways today.  Those who are contending against the faith are winning the battle today!

Leave a Reply