A Law unto Oneself
Jude is writing to encourage the people of God to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” The specific problem the church was facing, and which she has ever faced, were those who “pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Yesterday, we saw Jude provide three specific examples of such people: the ancient Israelites who rebelled against God’s commands and were thus destroyed, the angels who rebelled against God’s majesty and so fell from heaven, and the Sodomites who lusted after strange flesh and so experienced strange precipitation.
And so what do these people do which is so detestable that they must be so harshly judged? Three things, writes Jude:
1) They rely on their dreams, which is to say, their own subjective feelings and personal experiences. This is a huge mistake today. In America, feelings and experiences are far more important than formal logic, legitimate authority, human nature, and the workings of the natural world. All of these are viewed by the elite in our society as power structures created to oppress people (minorities, they claim) from doing what they want to do and being themselves (i.e., creating or simply being their own god). And indeed, media, entertainment, business, educational, and judicial systems are now structured around justifying and placating hurt feelings rather than applying such obvious truths; for example, one reaps what one sows (Galatians 6:7-8). In this particular instance, the people of whom Jude speaks need not the Scriptures because they have their personal dreams as their authority, going on ahead and not abiding in the teaching of Christ (2 John 9).
2) They defile the flesh—a plain reference to sexual immorality. People who trade the authority of God revealed in Scripture for their own personal opinions will excuse their sin every time. That sin does not have to be sexual in nature, but much of the time it is. And though there are all kinds of sexual sins which defile the flesh, sodomy is especially grievous as related in verse seven and used by Paul as “Exhibit A” of a society bereft of the knowledge of the true God in Romans 1:24-27.
3) They reject authority—and here Jude means all legitimate authority—God and man. These are their own gods and so become a law unto themselves. Beware these sins and note how they each interlock with the other.