Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. – Jude 8-11
Some people have a characature of the Christian faith. They can quote Matthew 7:7, “Judge not, lest you be judged.” They might even know John 3:16, “For God so loved the world…” But that’s as far as it goes. People can use TV evangelists or their favorite example of bad behavior by church leaders as their foundation for understanding the Christian faith; there are plenty of options from which to chose. You can attach the name Jesus to all kinds of distortions and heresies.
Jude speaks to those may actually be swayed by false teachings, and seeks to help us understand that just because someone attaches the name Jesus to their teaching or ministry, doesn’t make it true, edifying, or God-pleasing. Sadly, the abuse of God’s truth and word has been from the beginning – even before the creation of the world. Lucifer’s fall, his dispute with Michael, the archangel, Cain’s brutal murder of his brother Abel: all these testify not to the untruth of God, but the deceit of man.
We need to learn to see deceivers for what they are: those who make the faith something that serves their own desires and selfish purposes. Jude’s purposes are to warn true believers of the dangers of those who abandon the truth of God. Trading the authority of God’s word, the guidance of faithful servants of God, and the counsel of godly sisters and brothers in Christ never leads to a good result.
It would be such a blessing if there was no evil in the world. It would be wonderful if there was no need for threats or judgments on ungodly behavior. It would be such a blessing if we didn’t have to test the spirits or refute the gainsayers. But truth is precious, and God’s truth is eternally good. As such it is our true and solid hope, and worthy of deepest commitment.