In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. – Jude 1:8 NIV
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Today’s devotional is a sequel to the devotional titled, “Beware Of Godless People”. Where the Christian was made aware of the need to always reaffirm the truth behind the message that he/she is hearing. The need to make the Holy Spirit the main teacher remains the core of the Christian life as anything else may be a quick route to being misled and possible destruction despite all the time and effort put into living the Christian lifestyle. The problem would have been the doctrine that was received. In order to avoid this danger, the reference scripture draws the attention of the Christian to the presence of proverbial wolves within the flock of Christ and the need to be aware of the danger they pose.
In the light of this, Jude the disciple and possibly the brother of Jesus Christ made it clear to the Christian, then and today that being sincere about your own belief will not be sufficient if you are found in the midst of wrong people practicing wrong doctrines. The reward remains the same if not worse than that of an unbeliever which is mainly the destruction of the soul, after all, Jesus Christ made it known that much more is expected from those who have been introduced and claim to know and accept him as Lord and Saviour. Using the following three references to substantiate his point, Jude the Apostle cited
- The case of the Egyptians who although were rescued from slavery and oppression in Egypt, got destroyed in the desert by the same God due to their unbelief. They could have prevented this from being their fate if only they had listened to the teachings and instructions of the Lord, sent to them through Moses and taken the decision to walk in them – Jude 1:5
- The case of the angels who lost their positions of authority because they allowed themselves to be deceived by Lucifer was also referenced. These were beings that were all living together like Christians live today but the devil slipped his negative thoughts into them and they believed. Today they are in darkness and under bondage, awaiting the final judgement on the last day – Jude 1:6. Their excuse of ignorance will not be sufficient to save them from the obvious judgement that is awaiting them.
- The case of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah who allowed themselves to be led into sexual immorality and were destroyed together with their city by the Almighty God was also referenced by Jude the disciple – Jude 1:7. The only set of people that were saved from that judgement were those who operated in divine instructions but even then, the singular occasion when the wife of lot disobeyed was visited with a fatal judgement from the Lord.
In all these cited cases, the act of unbelief was viewed as ungodliness and was adequately rewarded. The disciple Jude predicts that, the fate of the one who allows him/her self to be deceived by these hypocritical Christians will be similar to that of the people in the three cases cited, and so stressed the need for every Christian to be conscious and cautious of what instructions they choose to follow.
For the Christian then and today to avoid the pit and trap that such doctrines have become, ability
to identify these erroneous doctrines early becomes key and he provides some clues to doing this in foundation scripture for today’s devotional.
The major marker that he suggests will help the sincere Christian in identifying these group of people who claim to be Christians but are actually godless is their insistence on operating in their own dreams rather than that of the Almighty God – Jude 1:8. Decisions by them is about how they feel and not what the views of the Almighty God is about their actions. They twist the interpretation of the Word to suit their actions rather than act based on the true interpretation of the Word. In the process they end up as perverts of the Word and in their determination to convince others about the appropriateness of their actions, which Jude describes as immoral, they slander the things of the Almighty God. Celestial beings are not spared either as they have no scruples heaping insults on them. Citing the case of the tussle for the body of Moses with the Devil by Archangel Michael, Jude wondered why such claimants to being Christians could not caution themselves in their choice of language like archangel Michael did, even if they are right, and it is obvious in this case that they are wrong – Jude 1:9-10.
In addition to this major marker is the negative attitude of always looking for faults and ever grumbling just as they flatter others so that they can win them to themselves – Jude 1:16. These godless brethren always have something to complain about and never limit such grumbling to themselves. In their desire to make the innocent brethren align with their egocentric ideas, they present to such a larger than life picture of him/her self. In a “you are better than this” manner, they attempt to make such follow their rebellious designs until they bring such an individual into destruction.
The danger of tolerating these godless brethren is stated in verses twelve and thirteen of that single chapter book and summarised as follows;
- They become blemishes at love feasts, eating with the brethren without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They have no regrets about the choice they have made and lead people who follow them only according to what benefits them.
- They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind. All that ever occurs with them is promises of positive reward if their suggestions are followed but these promises are never realised.
- They are autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. They project externally evidence of being prosperous but in reality, they are very empty and with nothing to back up their outward claims.
- They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars. They can easily introduce turbulence into the lives of anyone that follows their lead with their wrong ideas and doctrines.
Jude revealed that their position in the
blackest darkness has been reserved forever for them and so it will be a risk not worth taking if the sincere Christian choose to follow them in their ways as such will definitely share in their fate. Save yourself from being guilty by association. That they profess to be Christians does not make them one. The Christian is not one whose life is guided by personal views or intuitions but one who lives according to the true interpretation of the Word of God. Do not get carried away by tag bearing people who claim to be Christians as they could just be whitewashed walls. Be very clear about what you hear and believe as that is the only way you can assure yourself that your sacrifice in this world as a true Christian is not wasted.
May God grant us the wisdom to identify and accept only his true Word in Jesus name. Amen.