Bible · Christian Security · Conditional Security · Doctrinal · Interpretation · OSAS

Conditional Security – Jude 1:4-12 – D

Our last set of verses we will consider in the book of Jude.

Verse 12 is the original portion I was going to provide for the sake of our topic, but as I looked through the passage, I just couldn’t resist including the passage from verse 4 on.

So let’s take a few moments, and listen to Jude as if we were hanging out 2,000 years ago in a brothers home, getting ready to worship Him.

Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.
Jude 1:12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted;
Jude wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

Jude brings forward three Old Testament characters to describe these ungodly people, along with the predominant characteristics associated with these three.

Cain

Walking in the way of Cain. Let us remember that Cain was the first natural born human on earth and the natural inclination of this firstborn was to bring a sacrifice of his own choice to the Lord. He was religious. He is the father of religion, and in that religion, the works of envy, hatred and jealousy erupt. We see this to be a consistent attribute of religion, even to the ministry of the Lord Himself.

The work of religion is to frustrate the grace of God, and as the religious Jews sought to crucify the Savior, they brought the very act that began with Cain to its natural end.

Religion not only kills, it is also deadly, for it deceives the religious adherent, and seeks to destroy truth to support it’s own lies.

Cain killed Abel freely, since there was no social restrictions at the time, and this allowed for the the very nature of the religious to be seen clearly. Nowadays, we cover it up with niceties, with pleasant sayings and polite nods, but given the right circumstances, religion erupts into all forms of hatred, envy, works of violence and jealousy.

These certain men that had crept into the body, whether they were believers at one time or not, have woe coming upon them. But the descriptions of these ungodly men continues.

Balaam

Abandoned themselves for the sake of gain. As many who may have followed my blog, you may recall that I have a distinct concern for the professional Christian. Many who are professional Christians have serious hearts seeking the God who delivered them, but the office of the professional Christian attracts many who care not for the Lord but only seek after the gain they may receive by speaking great swelling words.

Although this description again does not help us with our topic, it is instructive to understand Jude’s position for the sake of the health of the church. Those who abandon truth to seek gain are not our allies. They are certain men who are condemned to perish.

Korah

Jude’s last character is Korah, the one who led a rebellion against Moses, God’s appointed leader.

Who do you identify in your life as God’s leader? For we need to know who our leader is in order to take the correct side, that we may determine who is walking as Korah did in the camp.

But let us be clear. There is one leader that pleases God in each of our experiences, and He is the One who sacrificed Himself for our sake. Any person who seeks to take His place as an authority in a Christian’s life is following in the rebellion of Korah.

Each of these character’s Jude provides gives the believer, upon reflection, good direction as to those who may be of danger within a congregation. It is for the believer to reflect on these characteristics and to first of all, check our own condition before the Lord. These certain men above are warnings for the church, and we ignore them to our detriment. But within these descriptions, there does not seem to be any clear teaching regarding our topic of conditional security.

Until our next verse. And I will admit that my understanding of Jude’s phrasing in this verse lends itself to various interpretations, so I try not to go beyond the limits he allows with his statements.

Jude 1:12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted;

The phrase I will bring to your attention is “shepherds feeding themselves”. Why does this perk my ears up? I suppose those who attain to a status of shepherd would have shown life at one time in their witness. Now granted, I may be inserting my understanding into this phrase, but consider.

As a body starts to meet, opportunities to minister are various and abundant, and for a believer to exercise the gifts given to him or her, amongst a small, close knit group of believers, allows for a very personal examination of the believers way of life. Passion for the Lord, a commitment to others, a desire to see God’s will expanded in the area all signal to the life of God in a person. These who exercise this type of passion commonly “float” to the top in the body, and become shepherds of others. And in doing so, open themselves to temptations that may be destructive, as we saw above.

Paul took up this subject when he warned Timothy that young men should not to take on leadership roles too early, for fear the converts fall into condemnation of the devil. (We will address this verse under the Conditional Security topic in a separate post!)

1 Timothy 3:6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.

Although Jude does not directly address our current topic in every verse we have reviewed, many times he provides teaching that does not refute the teaching. During my time in the OSAS camp, I found that this passage was great for condemning every teacher that I didn’t like, or that didn’t carry water for my denomination, but I fear there is more to this passage than a simple us / them mentality. Jude is warning us of serious dangers that are lurking in the camp, and we need to be diligent in assessing our own hearts, judging our own actions, and being open to the leading of the Spirit in relation to the attitude, lifestyle and submission of those who seek to lead us in the way of God.

The Lord taught us of these men, and I will finish with His words.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

The thieves are abundant! God is good! The difference makes all the difference!


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