Ralph's Daily Devotional - Thursday, April 26

Jude begins in 1:3-5 by sharing his initial intent to delve further into the area of God's salvation.  However, a number of ungodly people had "secretly slipped into the church" whose condemnation was written of long before.  These people were perverting the gospel, and the mature Christians of the church were to "contend" and literally "wrestle against" them.

Exactly who these people were and what their impact was is not clear.  Jude later identifies them with the same destructive pattern and destiny as God's enemies of old, "condemned from long ago."

Jude mentions their sin: they perverted the grace of God into a "license for immorality."  No doubt their darkened logic was, "Now that we are free of sin we are free to do as we please."  Paul counters such an attitude in Romans 6:1-4Colossians 3:5 and Ephesians 5:3.  Jesus made it clear than such sinful desires begin in our hearts before they are acted out by our bodies (Mark 7:20-23).

No doubt these people lived in an atmosphere that included group sexual orgies, the trading of marital partners, the soliciting of prostitutes, etc.  They were said to "slip into the church secretly," implying that they did not make their deeds very public to the church, but rather were quietly influencing and deceiving some to join in their sin.

Historically this sin of distorting grace is called "anti-monism" (lawlessness).  The Bible powerfully reminds us that God's grace is not given to free us from restraint and evil but to renewal and holiness!

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