Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.Jude 1:5(NASB)
It did not take long for the early church to fall into apostasy as certain ungodly men crept in secretly and started to pervert the truth of the glorious gospel of Christ and indulge in unseemly activities.
Jude warned that these were lawless, wanton and immoral people who had crept into the church by pretending to be ministers of God - but instead they perverted the grace of our God into promiscuity and twisted the liberty we have in Christ into licentiousness.
Jude chose three Old Testament illustrations as warnings to Christians of the serious dangers of apostasy and heresy: 1) Israel's rebellious unbelief in the wilderness 2) the angels who sinned and did not keep their first estate and 3) the gross immorality in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The ungodly actions and unbridled lust of such people was so gross that they even denied and disowned the person and work of the Lord, Jesus Christ Himself - challenging His right to rule; denying His eternal deity; discrediting His vicarious death and rejecting His glorious resurrection. While using the gospel for gain they dogmatically denied every biblical doctrine. They trampled on the truth of God's Word and stripped Christ of His honour, glory, might, majesty, dominion and power - for their own personal gain.
The little letter of Jude has appropriately been labelled the acts of the apostates.. and in these days when false doctrines are multiplying and heresy is increasing it is good to heed the warnings in the little book of Jude so that we who are called and sanctified by our heavenly Father are not infected by their influence or sucked into the licentious behaviours that they promote.
The attitude of the heretics and apostates that Jude condemns in this verse reflects that of the Israelites who having been redeemed out of Egypt started to rebel and murmur against the Lord who saved them. Despite being miraculously rescued from Egypt by God, their hearts were riddled with unbelief and curdled with criticism - and so subsequently God destroyed all those who did not believe.
God had supernaturally rescued the nation of Israel from centuries of slavery and made some glorious promises and pledges to His people, and yet they refused to believe His Word, they rebelled against His authority and they twisted the truth through their murmurings and lies.
Jude warns of the many ways that we believers can be enticed away from the word of truth into unbelief through heretical teachings, apostate teachers and false prophets.. and he exhorts each one of us to contend earnestly for the faith which was given to us through God's holy apostles and prophets. May we recognise the importance of being firmly grounded on the word of truth so that we will not be influenced by every wind of doctrine but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the truth of Your word. Keep me grounded on the Word of truth and prevent me from falling prey to apostate teachers, heretical teachings and false prophets. Protect those I love from the increasing amount of false teaching that is permeating the church today.. and may we give the Lord Jesus, the honour and glory due to His name, AMEN.