This epistle is attributed to Jude, the half brother of Jesus and the brother of James (Jude 1:1). Matthew 13:55 tells us that the names of the brothers of Jesus are James and Judas. “Judas” was probably shortened to “Jude” because nobody wanted to be called Judas, because of the association it has with Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus. Like his older brother James, Jude did not place his faith in Jesus while the Lord was still alive. Only after the crucifixion and resurrection did he become a follower of Jesus.
Sinning without regard for punishment
Jude 1:4 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.
Jude 1:18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.”
The grace of God is a beautiful message that God gave us the free gift of salvation because there is no way we can work to earn it. Genuine conversion results in a hard full of gratitude for God and a desire to want to live our lives to please God for paying the high price for our salvation. Of course, the devil wants to pervert whatever is good and grace to some people have become a license to sin. Since good works don’t earn salvation, why bother to do good at all? This kind of thinking reveals how faith can be phoney. Would anyone turn around and grieve someone whom we believe has saved us?
Abusing the church
Jude 1:12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves.
In line with only wanting salvation and not being at all interested in living a life pleasing to God, these people also abuse the church. They get whatever they can out of the church with no intention of giving anything back. We need to watch ourselves against this behaviour as well. Many people just want to attend church to hear the sermons and to enjoy fellowship but shun away when there are duties to perform.
Jude 1:16 These people are grumblers and faultfinders…
Another characteristic of people who think they deserve everything and need to give nothing back is that they are often overly critical. Jude talks about a group of people that are always grumbling and finding fault.
Jude 1:22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
In stark contrast to a whole epistle on how people abuse grace, Jude now exhorts his readers to show grace. One way he mentioned is to be merciful to those who doubt. We often get frustrated when people do not see truths that we think is so evident. Spiritual blindness is not only for non-believers. Even believers have spiritual blindness to certain truths of the bible perhaps because they have been too entrenched in wrong teaching in the past. We need to be patient with them. While showing mercy, we should not go to the other extreme of associating too closely with them. Jude talks about mixing mercy with fear – fear of being influenced by them.