This exhortation Jude found necessary, because the church was under direct threat from false teachers who crept in and began spreading their doctrinal poison.  They had slipped in “unawares,” meaning that they had through smooth words and fair speeches deceived the early believers, who were all too quick to receive them as genuine brethren.  This ought to be a warning to us to not allow our eagerness for an increase in our numbers lead us to indifference about what kind of people are entering our churches.  Sometimes they may be true brethren with whom we may happily fellowship in our pilgrimage to the kingdom of heaven.  But since the Devil is always about the business of sowing tares among the wheat, we must also scrupulously guard that those who visit or join our churches begin not to spread pernicious heresy amongst us.

Here is one of the most dreadful verses in all the Scriptures, for Jude says that these apostates were “before of old ordained to this condemnation.”  No doctrine is more bound to incite the indignation of religionists than that of reprobation, and yet here it is stated so plainly that one wonders how it could be denied.  Jude sets forth who these men were: false teachers who crept into these churches unawares.  Then he sets them forth from the divine perspective: ordained of old to this condemnation.  God had raised them up, even as He did Pharaoh, for a means of testing His elect people.  They themselves, though, had no part in His purpose of grace, but were ordained as vessels of destruction to be condemned.  Our perverted human sense of justice may revolt against this, but we must humbly submit to that dictum of Paul, “Who art thou, O man, that repliest against God?  Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast Thou made me thus?  Hath not the Potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make a vessel to honor, and some to dishonor?”  We must ever bear in mind concerning the reprobate, that they are not people who desired to be saved and walked with God, but were cruelly held back because of the decree of reprobation.  These were men intentionally spreading damnable perversions of the Gospel in the churches for their own private advantage, and had no intention of submitting themselves to the righteousness of God.  God, as it were, gave them over to the perverse inclinations of their own heart, and permitted them to carry out the wickedness that resided within them.  We should do nothing but stand in awe of the Creator, and magnify His justice and sovereign dominion, and humbly thank Him that He did not leave us in the position of the reprobate.

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