It Is Finished Audio

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Perversion of Grace as a License to Sin


Perversion of Grace as a License to Sin

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“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 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 1:3-4).

            Jude begins his letter with the salutation of calling the church(s) to whom he was writing as friends (φίλος), described in Greek as an adjective that means beloved, dear, and friendly.[1] This term of endearment is one written to those whom Jude did not feel separate or detached from in Spirit. Instead, he wrote as one with an established relationship by addressing them as friends instead of classifying them as associates or strangers. Similarly, Jesus spoke of those who follow Him as friends rather than servants. The Bible says: “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). While a person can be friendly and not be considered a friend, the Apostle Jude is clear in identifying this group of believers as such to establish that they were no ordinary audience, but were of like minds and had a common faith, hope, and trust in the Lord.

Similarly, Peter begins his second letter to his readers with whom he shared a common hope by introducing himself as a fellow servant and apostle of Christ. Peter then writes: To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:1b-2). Once again, these apostles were not writing to a group of strangers but to those who knew of the love, commitment, and sacrifice that Jesus Christ gave for the salvation of all who received Him. They were thus brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Peter did not elevate himself as a deity, but he reminded the church that he was a fellow servant as they were, and yet, an apostle of Christ. It is important to take note of the humility that the apostles showed because, too often, there are those within the church who wish to elevate themselves instead of Christ. Yet, even though the apostles could brag about their appointment, they chose not to do so but uplift Christ instead.

Jude begins his letter by informing his audience that he eagerly desired to write to them about the salvation they shared in Christ Jesus, but other matters took precedence. What is that shared salvation in Jesus that Jude wished to communicate with them regarding? Salvation (σωτηρία) in Greek means deliverance, safety, and preservation.[2] This means that one has been rescued from something that may have brought about harm. Therefore, salvation is the gift of grace paid for through Jesus Christ in His atonement for mankind’s sins. Without God’s grace, there would have been no possible atonement for sin, which would have resulted in eternal death and separation from God. The Bible says:For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

This shared salvation meant that anyone who called upon the name of the Lord would be saved. All who repented and turned away from sin were forgiven and were no longer enslaved to the debt of sin. Therefore, one could not take credit for their own salvation because works, thoughts, or deeds had anything to do with the free gift of salvation offered to all. Jude’s desired message would have been for both then and now and should be shared with the whole world as a testimony of God’s wondrous love. Yet, this happiness about the gift of salvation was sidelined in his letter because of the apostasy that was infiltrating the church through false teachings and Gnosticism.

One may wonder what prevented him from addressing the topic in another letter. Could it have been that certain circumstances thwarted him from including the matter within this letter and writing another one? This could have been very plausible, given the fact that many biblical scholars assert that Jude was beheaded in 65 A.D., the same year his brief letter was written. Although there may not be a definitive answer to this question, one can be assured that Jude had an urgency in the tone of his letter to ensure the well-being of the early church.  

Jude felt that it was his obligation as a leader in the body of Christ to warn the church regarding false teachings used to divide and conquer. He urged them to contend for the faith because the devil used heresies to distort the gospel of truth. Similarly, the Apostle Paul warned of this in his letter to the Galatians by asking who had bewitched them to turn aside from the teachings he and the other true apostles had taught them. The Bible says: I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?” (Galatians 3:2). Just as Paul, Jude was concerned that certain doctrines of demons would come into the church causing it to become weakened in its faith.

The Apostle Peter gave a similar warning to the church to prevent them from falling into the trap of deception. He wrote: “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.  Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute” (2 Peter 2:1-2). Repeated warnings were given to the church then as they are now. Sadly, many false teachers are preaching sermons straight from the mouth of Satan. They are afraid to stand for God and fail to teach others not to take for granted the Lord's grace afforded to all who believe. Unfortunately, many within the church model their lives contrary to what an ambassador for Christ should be.

The church was not to take advantage of the grace that God had given to them through Christ Jesus. On the contrary, they were to hold on to what they had learned and stand uncompromised in their faith. This is why Jude told the church to contend for the faith. Jude’s use of contend (ἐπαγωνίζομαι) in Greek means to be focused on and to struggle for. In other words, Jude was encouraging the church to be committed to opposing the works of evil, being those things contrary to God’s ordinances.[3]  Jesus entrusted all believers with the Great Commission to go into all the world to preach the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20). The gospel of Jesus Christ, salvation and redemption, which is the atonement for sins, was accomplished through the work He did on the cross by dying and becoming alive again. The Bible says: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2). As believers in Christ, one can rest assured that they are no longer enslaved to sin and its consequence of death but have been ushered into the newness of Him.

The Apostles Jude and Peter exposed the heretical nature of those who persisted in their false doctrines, having quietly become a part of the church. They argued that these individuals’ condemnation had been prophesied centuries prior and was presently active. Jude’s use of condemnation (Καταδίκη) in Greek means damnatory, punishment, penalty, and judgment, which they would receive their due reward.[4] The Lord sent a warning long before Jude or Peter had written their epistles through the Prophet Jeremiah regarding shepherds who led His people astray. The Bible says: “ ’Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!’ declares the Lord. Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: ‘Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,’ declares the Lord’ ” (Jeremiah 23:1-2). Therefore, God was displeased with the shepherds’ lack of care for His people, allowing them to turn to idolatry and false worship. Thus, due to their unrighteousness, the same punishment they were promised was assured to all who operated similarly.

Jude reminded the church that those who would cause them to pervert grace as an endorsement to sin were ungodly. He called such acts a license for immorality (ανηθικότητα), which in Greek means morally wrong behavior, thus denying the Lord.[5] Yet, the Word of God warns against abusing grace as a pass to commit iniquity. The Bible says: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1-2). The Apostle Paul encouraged the church to live Godly lives with respect to what Jesus did on the cross for the world, as the church is one in body with Him.

Finally, the Apostle Peter dispels the once saved, always saved myth for those who desire to pervert the gospel of grace. He wrote:  It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit’ and, ‘A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud’ (2 Peter 2:21-22). Grace is freely given and freely received, but grace does not license a person to live a sinful life. On the contrary, it was given that if one sins, we can go to the throne of Grace to ask for forgiveness, with the heart to TURN AWAY from it—not to continue down the same path.

[1] Bible Hub, "Strong's Greek: 5384. φίλος (philos) -- Beloved, Dear, Friendly," Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages, last modified 2023,

[2] Bible Hub, "Strong's Greek: 4991. σωτηρία (sótéria) -- Deliverance, Salvation," Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages, last modified 2023,

[3] Bible Hub, "Strong's Greek: 1864. ἐπαγωνίζομαι (epagónizomai) -- to Contend with or for," Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages, last modified 2023,

[4] Bible Hub, "Strong's Greek: 2631. κατάκριμα (katakrima) -- Penalty," Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages, last modified 2023,

[5], "ανηθικότητα - Ελληνοαγγλικό Λεξικό," English to French, Italian, German & Spanish Dictionary -, last modified 2023,

Monday, June 26, 2023

The Sin and Fate of the Ungodly


The Sin and Fate of the Ungodly

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“Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, to those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance” (Jude 1:1-2).


The Apostle Jude, whose book is titled, identifies himself as its author. It is a letter to one or several churches in Rome believed by most biblical scholars to have been written around 65-80 A.D.[1] They are unsure of the exact date, but most place it around this timeframe. Jude, also known as Jude of James, Judah in Hebrew, Thaddeus, and Judas in Greek, is most commonly referred to as Jude instead of Judas within the Christian community to avoid any confusion between him and Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus.[2]

Some scholars deem Jude to have been one of the original twelve disciples of Christ. However, many Christians have debated this claim with an opposing argument that he was not an original disciple but affiliated with the apostles. They argue that he did not believe that Jesus was the Christ until after He had died, just like the other half-brothers. Unfortunately, the debate continues, yet, many agree or go along with the commonality that he was indeed one of the original Twelve.[3]

In keeping with popular belief, Jude was the brother of James, half-brother to Jesus, and one of five sons born to Joseph and Mary (Matthew 13:56). Despite being kin to Jesus, Jude was modest in his approach and did not use his kinship as something to be used to his advantage.[4] Instead, he considered himself a mere servant chosen to honor the Lord and to submit to Him fully without reservation, self-preservation, or self-elevation.

Some of the early church fathers expressed doubts regarding the book's authenticity, and it is often considered the most overlooked book of the Bible within the New Testament.[5] Nevertheless, some scholars attribute this debate to Jude's reference to the apocryphal Book of Enoch, which occurred towards the end of the fourth century.[6]  One of the common themes was Jude’s reference to the destruction of those who denied the Lord mentioned in I Enoch.[7] Still, many church leaders, such as Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and others, referenced it in their writings.

This brief book parallels 2 Peter 2, where false teachers and prophets attempted to hijack the gospel by introducing false teachings within the church. The Apostle Peter had this to say: But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.  Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute” (2 Peter 2:1-2). Just like Jude, Peter was concerned that the Christians scattered throughout Rome would be confused due to the false teachers who were adamant about introducing unsound doctrine.

Peter, also known as Simon Peter, is credited with authoring 1 and 2 Peter, of which the books are so named. He was one of the Twelve whom Jesus called to follow Him, along with his brother, Andrew (Matthew 4:18-22; Luke 5:1-11). Peter identifies himself as the author to his readers, and most biblical scholars believe the book was written around 64-67 A.D. The apostle wrote to encourage the Christian believers of his day to stand strong despite those who entered the church to mislead and corrupt their Christian walk.[8] Peter did not want the church to follow the ways of these wicked teachers, as some were prone to do then and even now. He encouraged them to hold on to the promise of eternal life, which would take place upon Christ’s return.[9] Peter wrote this letter to encourage the church to endure the trials, persecutions, and temptations that would befall them due to the apostates who had entered the midst with misleading messages and heretical teachings.

Jude and Peter reminded them of the destruction that would befall those who believed, participated, and condoned such heresies. They encouraged them to stand firm and unwavering in their faith. Peter encouraged them to do good works, not to obtain salvation but as a witness that there cannot be faith without works and works without faith. Therefore, faith was not to be corrupted by thinking that one could claim to have faith without the living fruit of it.[10]

 Similarly, Jude taught against the Gnostical teaching of the good soul apart from Christ, reminding them that their freedom was not a license or endorsement to sin and live a debaucherous lifestyle. Thus, one can understand from Jude and Peter’s examples of God’s intolerance to sin within the church that the belief that once saved, always saved is incorrect, for God will not and does not tolerate ungodly behavior from those who claim to be His. The examples that both apostles gave regarding the Lord’s actions in the past pertaining to His intolerance of wickedness was and still is an indicator of His disdain for man’s rebellion.

Many Christians erroneously believe that God is not the same God of the Old Testament but has somehow softened His stance throughout the ages on righteousness, holiness, and Godly living. They argue that we are no longer bound to uphold certain principles because of grace. Yet, Jesus had this to say: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). In Jesus’ fulfillment of the law, He made it possible for us to be saved due to the work He did on the cross, but in no way was it to be used as an excuse to live a debaucherous lifestyle. Instead, we are to be grateful to the Lord for the mercy and grace He has bestowed upon us by living a life reflective of His character. Thus, sin cannot enter the Lord's presence because He is holy, righteous, honorable, just, compassionate, and merciful. Anyone who believes they will enter Heaven with sin-stained garments is mistaken. Yet, it is only because of the Lord’s mercy and grace that we can enter into His presence. The Psalmist wrote: “But You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in loving devotion and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15).

[1] Britannica Editorial Staff, "Saint Jude."

[2] Britannica Editorial Staff, "Saint Jude | History, Facts, & Feast Day," Encyclopedia Britannica, last modified July 20, 1998,

[3] Ryan Nelson, "Who Was Jude the Apostle? The Beginner's Guide," OverviewBible, last modified September 12, 2019,

[4] Thomas Lea, The New Testament: Its Background and Message (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2003), 568.

[5] S. J. Joseph, "'Seventh from Adam' (Jude 1:14-15): Re-Examining Enochic Traditions and The Christology of Jude," The Journal of Theological Studies 64, no. 2 (2013): 463-481, doi:10.1093/jts/flt074.

[6] Alexandra Robinson, Jude on the Attack: A Comparative Analysis of the Epistle of Jude, Jewish Judgement Oracles, and Greco-Roman Invective (Edinburgh: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2020), xx.

[7] Cory D. Anderson, "Jude’s Use of the Pseudepigraphal Book of 1 Enoch," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 36, no. 2 (2003): doi:10.2307/45227000.

[8] Martin Luther, Luther's Works (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1960), 391-392.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.