Paul wrote two letters to the Corinthians that contained powerful teachings. He taught about the resurrection, the coming of the Lord, the judgment seat of Christ, death to sin, righteousness by faith, and heaven and hell. Faithfully, Paul warned these people, wooed them, pleaded with them. Without question, no other body of believers had been so lovingly pastored, so well taught, and so edified by the gospel of grace.
Moreover, the Corinthians were blessed beyond Paul’s teaching. They had experienced powerful workings of the Holy Spirit in their midst and been endowed with many spiritual gifts. This was a vibrant, prophetic, on-fire church! Yet, incredibly, a number of these same blessed believers were living in immorality. Paul had accused many of them of being “unclean” (2 Corinthians 12:21) and he wrote, “This will be the third time I am coming to you … I have told you before … that if I come again I will not spare … Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction” (13:1-2, 10).
Paul was not mincing words. He was essentially saying, “Twice now I’ve warned you of the sin in your congregation. You have sat under godly, convicting preaching and partaken of God’s gift of grace. Yet some of you have twisted that grace by deliberately continuing to live in uncleanness.”
Every Sunday, professing Christians gather to worship, hear God’s Word and enjoy fellowship. Yet many of these same people lead sin-filled lives. Jude warns, “Certain men have crept in unnoticed … ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (verse 4). In other words, people will attempt to distort and pervert all reverence for the things of God.
Jude gives three defenses against Satan’s seductions in Jude 20-21:
- Build up your faith by diligently studying God’s Word.
- Pray in the Holy Spirit.
- Don’t be anxious but, instead, look for our Lord’s coming.
Each of us has within us the ability to pray, to read God’s Word, and to look for Jesus’ soon return. If we do these things, Jude declares, we’ll reap the benefits of this prayer: “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).