Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord…
In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies…Jude 1:3-4, 7-8
Jude wanted to write to the church a message about the salvation that we share in Christ. Instead, because he saw an insidious kind of corruption and theology seeping into the church, he encouraged the believers to contend for the faith that had been handed down to them.
He saw a teaching slipping into the church community through people who were perverting God’s grace into a license for immorality. They were also rejecting Jesus alone as Christ and Lord. Sound familiar? It seems as though the same false teachings just get repackaged and reused in future generations. The enemy isn’t creative.
Jude mentions that the perversion of homosexuality and the sexual immorality of promiscuity and rape that made Sodom and Gomorrah infamous were the kinds of things that these false teachers were getting into. This is how they were abusing grace to be a license for immorality. They were spreading the lie that grace allowed them to participate in such things. Jude makes clear, however, that this sexual license was polluting their bodies.
Jude has a lot of colorful metaphors to describe these false teachers:
shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.Jude 1:12-13
Unfortunately, today we are much more accepting of these sorts of teachings in the church. We don’t have such colorful metaphors describing this sort of teaching and people who promote these ideas. We simply call it liberal protestant theology.
The truth is that grace empowers us to be set free from sin; it doesn’t keep us trapped in sin with a bonus get-out-of-jail-free card. The truth is that Jesus alone is Lord! He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. This is the Christian faith that was once and for all entrusted to us by the earliest believers. This is the faith we hold to despite the cultural milieu of our day.