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1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,

To those who are called, who are beloved in God the Father and kept safe for Jesus Christ:

2 May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.

Occasion of the Letter

3 Beloved, while eagerly preparing to write to you about the salvation we share, I find it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4For certain intruders have stolen in among you, people who long ago were designated for this condemnation as ungodly, who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Judgment on False Teachers

5 Now I desire to remind you, though you are fully informed, that the Lord, who once for all saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6And the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the great day. 7Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

8 Yet in the same way these dreamers also defile the flesh, reject authority, and slander the glorious ones. 9But when the archangel Michael contended with the devil and disputed about the body of Moses, he did not dare to bring a condemnation of slander against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10But these people slander whatever they do not understand, and they are destroyed by those things that, like irrational animals, they know by instinct. 11Woe to them! For they go the way of Cain, and abandon themselves to Balaam’s error for the sake of gain, and perish in Korah’s rebellion. 12These are blemishes on your love-feasts, while they feast with you without fear, feeding themselves. They are waterless clouds carried along by the winds; autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, uprooted; 13wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the deepest darkness has been reserved forever.

14 It was also about these that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “See, the Lord is coming with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15to execute judgment on all, and to convict everyone of all the deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16These are grumblers and malcontents; they indulge their own lusts; they are bombastic in speech, flattering people to their own advantage.

Warnings and Exhortations

17 But you, beloved, must remember the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18for they said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, indulging their own ungodly lusts.” 19It is these worldly people, devoid of the Spirit, who are causing divisions. 20But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; 21keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22And have mercy on some who are wavering; 23save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies.


24 Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, 25to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

4. For there are certain men crept in unawares. Though Satan is ever an enemy to the godly, and never ceases to harass them, yet Jude reminds those to whom he was writing of the state of things at that time. Satan now, he says, attacks and harasses you in a peculiar manner; it is therefore necessary to take up arms to resist him. We hence learn that a good and faithful pastor ought wisely to consider what the present state of the Church requires, so as to accommodate his doctrine to its wants.

The word παρεισέδυσαν, which he uses, denotes an indirect and stealthy insinuation, by which the ministers of Satan deceive the unwary; for Satan sows his tares in the night, and while husbandmen are asleep, in order that he may corrupt the seed of God. And at the same time he teaches us that it is an intestine evil; for Satan in this respect also is crafty, as he raises up those who are of the flock to do mischief, in order that they may more easily creep in.

Before of old ordained. He calls that judgment, or condemnation, or a reprobate mind, by which they were led astray to pervert the doctrine of godliness; for no one can do such a thing except to his own ruin. But the metaphor is taken from this circumstance, because the eternal counsel of God, by which the faithful are ordained unto salvation, is called a book: and when the faithful heard that these were given up to eternal death, it behooved them to take heed lest they should involve themselves in the same destruction. It was at the same time the object of Jude to obviate danger, lest the novelty of the thing should disturb and distress any of them; for if these were already long ago ordained, it follows that the Church is not tried or exercised but according to the infallible counsel of God. 192192     The words literally are, “Who have been long ago (or, some time past) forewritten of for (or, as to) this judgment.” The reference is to prophecy; such creepers in for the purpose of corrupting the truth had been foretold; and this creeping in for such a purpose was a judgment for yielding up themselves to the delusions of Satan. The word πάλαι refers indefinitely to what is past, either long ago, or some time past. See Matthew 11:21, and Mark 15:44. The reference may be to ancient prophecies, or to those of our Savior and his Apostles. — Ed

The grace of our God. He now expresses more clearly what the evil was; for he says that they abused the grace of God, so as to lead themselves and others to take an impure and profane liberty in sinning. But the grace of God has appeared for a far different purpose, even that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we may live soberly, righteously, and godly in this world. Let us, then, know that nothing is more pestilential than men of this kind, who from the grace of Christ take a cloak to indulge in lasciviousness. 193193     “The grace of God” here is evidently the gospel. They transformed, says Grotius, the gospel to a libidinous doctrine. — Ed.

Because we teach that salvation is obtained through God’s mercy alone, the Papists accuse us of this crime. But why should we use words to refute their effrontery, since we everywhere urge repentance, the fear of God, and newness of life, and since they themselves not only corrupt the whole world with the worst examples, but also by their ungodly teaching take away from the world true holiness and the pure worship of God? Though I rather think, that those of whom Jude speaks, were like the libertines of our time, as it will be more evident from what follows.

The only Lord God, or, God who alone is Lord. Some old copies have, “Christ, who alone is God and Lord.” And, indeed, in the Second Epistle of Peter, Christ alone is mentioned, and there he is called Lord. 194194     Griesbach excludes Θεὸν, “God,” from the text: then the passage would correspond in sense, with 2 Peter 2:1; literally, “denying the only sovereign and Lord of us, Jesus Christ.” The word δεσπότην, sovereign, or master, is used by Jude as well as by Peter. It was not the grace, but the ruling power of Christ that was denied; they boasted of his grace, but did not submit to him as a king. Hence the word δεσπότης is used — one exercising absolute power. We may render the words, “denying our only sovereign and Lord, Jesus Christ.” — Ed But He means that Christ is denied, when they who had been redeemed by his blood, become again the vassals of the Devil, and thus render void as far as they can that incomparable price. That Christ, then, may retain us as his peculiar treasure, we must remember that he died and rose again for us, that he might have dominion over our life and death.

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