The Reformed Baptist: Wednesday in the Nineteenth Week of Ordinary Time

(For an explanation of “Ordinary Time,” please see “Introducing ‘Ordinary Time’ to Evangelical Churches: Year IV” under the “Ordinary Time, Year IV: General Letters and Revelation” tab.)

Jude 11-13

Woe to Them

I always pray before I write these devotions that I say something redemptive.  At the same time, I am aware that there are times when the Bible minces no words.  But even such words can be redemptive if: 1) the person who is living in sin hears those words and repents, or 2) the faithful take warning not to fellowship with such people or learn their evil ways.

Jude now explains to us exactly who these people are by telling us whom they resemble and what they are like.  Remember that these people are false brethren who “pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).  First, whom they resemble: 1) Cain—the first murderer and fratricide (Genesis 4:1-16).  These murder their brethren by luring them into the mindset that Christians should sin that grace may abound (Roman 3:8), that God saves us in our sins instead of from them.  2) They mimic Balaam who sought to curse the people of God for financial gain and, short of that, to tempt them to immorality (Numbers 22-25; 2 Peter 2:15; Revelation 2:14).  Likewise, these entice believers that they too should compromise with society’s immoral expectations despite both God’s grace and warnings.  And, 3) they rehearse Korah’s rebellion which stood against Moses.  In the same way, these call upon God’s people to act in pride and stand against rightly constituted authority in the Church understood today as the elders and deacons.

These false brethren are who they resemble—and it’s not a crowd with which any believer would want to be associated.  But then Jude describes what these false brethren are like with metaphors as haunting as they are captivating: “hidden reefs” which sink ships all the while feasting with you; “shepherds feeding themselves” with no concern for others; “waterless clouds” promising rain but never yielding; “swept along by winds” unstable and changing with circumstances and accommodating pagan cultural demands; “fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted” leaving people to starve for lack of spiritual nourishment; “wild waves of the sea casting up the foam of their shame”—Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love (sluts, actually; read the myths), was born of the foam of the sea; and finally “wandering stars” speaking things which lead people astray.  And their reward?  A reserved seat in the nether gloom of utter darkness—forever.

If you are hanging around such people, leave them.  If you are such a one, repent.  Freedom from sin is so much better than slavery to it.