17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
17-18 Jude returns back to addressing the church specifically. There is a reminder to recall the words of the faithful to Christ and the apostles. They foretold that in the last times there will be scoffers. Scoffers are those who will not believe and mock at sound doctrine. They do this because of their own malcontent and they will not heed to what was already delivered to the saints; the faith in completeness. So they follow their own ungodly passions. If we are do not hold to the true faith then we are left to run after whatever passions that our malcontent urges lead.
19-20 Worse still these men lead others astray. They will cause divisions in the church because they are without the Spirit. The Spirit is the one who will bring to remembrance all the things Jesus taught and will lead the people into righteousness therefore these men are without him. This is how Jude says these men are devoid of the Spirit. If they had the Spirit they would be bringing unity and not just a unity but unity under Christ. In other words the Spirit would lead them in true unity of the scriptures and with true followers of Christ, as a major job of the spirit is to illuminate it to us. This is why they are of the world and not of the Spirit. Jude reminds the faithful to continue to build themselves up in the faith that was already once delivered to the saints that he referred to at the beginning of the letter. Pray in the Holy Spirit because he does not lead into error as these false teachers do.
21-22 But the loved of God along with building themselves up with the faith are to keep themselves in the love of God by holding to the faith. One way they do this is by waiting for the mercy of Jesus that leads to eternal life. Jude seems to be saying that keeping yourself in the love of God means patience on him to deliver them unto salvation. Waiting for mercy is very different than adopting the malcontent natures of the teachers. While the loved of God keep themselves in the love, they are not to fall for the lie. What they are to do is distribute mercy to those who are being tempted and are having doubts because the false teachers.
23 But this takes discernment. Jude says that some need mercy and some need decisive action in order to snatch them out of the jaws of these lies. This action is love keeping. Steal others with mercy and reveal the fear over their souls because of the path they are walking. But always hold the hate of the sin itself. Do not excuse the trespass of the lies and always distance yourselves from them. Stained by the flesh may be another reference to the sexual sin again, but the message is avoid the teachings that are undermining the faith and causing the doubt.
24-25 This is a famously used doxology for the church. This is a reminder that those who hold to the faith have the assurance that God is able to keep them within it. This is not an assurance to the false teachers who have incurred judgment. Jude is making a distinction between who exactly God holds safe here. God keeps us from stumbling if we so desire him to do so by keeping in the faith. God will keep us all the way to present us to the Father in Glory. He concludes with giving praise to the only God and savior Jesus Christ. This is because Jesus is Lord but also to draw a distinction between what a true teacher of the faith believes and what these new teachers were able to say. Glory and dominion are only God’s.
Jude reminds his listeners that we have the necessary truth to keep ourselves from these teachers and their lies if will will recount that we were warned about these exact problems. Jude is saying I have written you this letter so you can look at when you feel the pressure to listen to these false teachers. In the last days the scoffers will come and he was right, the scoffers are all around us. It is our responsibility to build ourselves up in the holy faith and to keep ourselves in the love by being patient on his return. But he reminds us again that God himself is at our aid in this. Love keeps us safe and it reaches out to the brothers to help them stay in the love as well.
We are not alone, even when it seems like so many “churches” are falling for the lie. Or being consumed with consumerism church. Sure we could reach more people if we pervert the Gospel. But for those of us with the Spirit, we are to hold on to the once and for all delivered faith, despite what society is doing and what many churches are caving to. All we can do is uphold the Gospel, preach the Gospel, and call on the name of the Lord to help and return. Maker return, your people need you.