Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Book of Jude, verse 4

(New American Standard Bible)

For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, 
those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ

(New Living Translation)
I say this because some ungodly people
have wormed their way into your churches,
saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives.
The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, 
for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

To dig in further, stop by Biblegateway.com or BlueLetterBible.org 
for free Lexicons, Dictionaries, Cross-References & Commentaries.

At first-read verse 4 seems straightforward...and seems, sadly, A LOT like many of the churches today :  People are twisting the understanding of God's grace into a carte-blanche of 'do what you want, 'cause He will forgive you'. However, I think it would behoove (sidenote:  I love that word! It's old-fashioned for 'to be proper' or 'to be worthwhile') us to go back to the Greek to fully understand what Jude is saying. 

παρεισέδυσαν γάρ τινες ἄνθρωποι οἱ πάλαι προγεγραμμένοι εἰςτοῦτο τὸ κρίμα ἀσεβεῖς τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν χάριτα μετατιθέντες εἰςἀσέλγειαν καὶ τὸν μόνον δεσπότην καὶ κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸνἀρνούμενοι

  • For certain persons - When you read this verse, can you hear the disdain in Jude's voice? There are a couple of things to note: τινες ἄνθρωποι the 'τινες' is an enclitic indefinite pronoun. (Hang on...it's just a quick classical Greek grammar lesson!) All that means is it is throwing the accent (making it important)  back on the word beside it. In this case, Jude wants us to take notice of ἄνθρωποι: these men (persons) with whom he is concerned about in the church. We are to be on the lookout for them.
  • Have crept in unnoticed - παρεισδύνω pareisdýnō This is a compound Greek word which means to slip in stealthily. The root words mean 'beside' 'the direction planned' and 'to plunge.'  These are the people who will jump right into the chair or pew next to you, and then they will execute their plan of action. 
  • Long ago, Marked out - προγράφω prográphō This is the Greek word for 'designated beforehand;' and interestingly, the root word of 'long ago' is derived from the word πάλη pálē  which means 'to wrestle' though used here as a term transferred to the Christian's struggle with the power of evil. 
  • Ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness - Jude continues his contempt of these people by describing them as 'ungodly.' This word is from the Greek, ἀσεβής asebḗs  which means 'destitute of the reverential awe of God.' Jude also tells us exactly what is their plan:  μετατίθημι metatíthēmi  means 'to change;' however, Jude is using this word figuratively. His intended meaning is 'to pervert the grace of God.'  Jude then uses a strong word, licentiousness, ἀσέλγεια asélgeia which is unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence, though Jude does not allude to a particular vice. I think he is speaking in more of a generality of the overall description of a person deceitful in spirit. 
  • Deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ - ἀρνέομαι arnéomai is the Greek word meaning 'to deny' and Jude furthers make use of it to mean 'to reject God or Christ, or 'to have apostatized from God'. Apostasy is to renounce the basic beliefs/principles of God. Jude also reminds us of to whom is being apostatized: Our Only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. The 'our' makes it personal. Christ is the ruler of our church. He is our only ruler we follow. He is our only Master and Lord, to whom we are bound.

Jude uses this strong language to let us know the seriousness of his charges against these ungodly persons who have wormed their way into the church. They have made themselves a part of the congregation, taken up leadership roles (we'll discuss this more in the next few days) and just when the church is unguarded...deceit creeps into the fold. 

Unfortunately, this is still happening today. Have you ever listened to a sermon and something is affirmed that doesn't seem quite biblically accurate. When you feel that little niggle in your spirit, you are being prompted to question the teaching. It is up to you to research and know the Truth. It's one of the reasons we study His word. If you're attending a church with a good leader, he will instruct you to dig into your bible to study more of what he is teaching. When you are told not to question, well that is a red flag to grab your bible and find out for yourself what God says. 

Arm yourself with His Word
 and share Him with others today.

What stood out most to you in this verse?