Satanic spies have infiltrated the church, intent on wrecking the peace, unity, and doctrines of God’s people. While Bunyan’s Christian saw Formalist and Hypocrisy jump over the wall of salvation onto the narrow way, the average Christian seldom encounters such open hostility to the kingdom of God. Those who enter the church without passing through the hill of calvary at first appear to be as devoted to God as those who entered by the narrow gate.
Aware of this troubling reality, Jude tells Christians how to discern between true and disingenuous faith. Those who serve Satan reveal their true character by appealing to dreams to encourage sexual immorality, to deny the authority of Jesus, and to blaspheme angels.
Though most modern Christian would look crossed at anyone who said they slept with their Bible under their pillow and awoke the next morning with a special message from God, dreams remained a valid means of divine communication in the biblical era. God communicated to Joseph and the wisemen through dreams. Daniel and Joseph also received communications from God while sleeping. The satanic spies of Jude’s day did not dance off into imaginary land when they spoke of dreams. They erred not in claiming to have access to God’s word. They erred because they misrepresented God’s word. They took God’s clear commands about purity and obedience and twisted them into stating the opposite. Sexual sin was now licensed, encouraged, and permitted. The deity of Jesus was doubted. Feelings, human experience, and internal emotion became the defining marks of the false teachers. They prefaced their statements with, “Thus said the Lord” and then proceed to devote to deny the clear revelation of the Scriptures. Jeremiah laments
How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal? 28 Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the Lord. (Jer. 23:26-27).
Not all who claim to know God’s word truly know it. Not ever pastor, parachurch leader, and professor who proclaims to speak for Jesus speaks for Jesus. Many claim to be speaking for him while allowing young men and women to engage in sexual sin. They say God would not give us urges if he did not want us to exercise them. They give license to divorce, abortion, and homosexuality as well. The false teachers must license and encourage sexual sin for “sexual immorality, impurity, and sensuality” are the works of the flesh (Gal 5:19). They lack the power of God found in the resurrection of Jesus Christ to overcome their own sin. Thus, they indulge in sexual sin and encourage others to do so for they know nothing else.
When they deny God’s sexual ethic, they also undermine the whole gospel. Jesus restricted sexual expression to the marriage bed stating,
“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. (Matt 19:4-6).
If Jesus misunderstood God’s sexual ethic, humanity has little reason to trust Jesus salvific teachings. He ceases to be the God, man who holds the universe together. He becomes a inspiring but somewhat antiquated religious sage. The false teachers destroy the authority of the Gospel, proclaiming God to be evolving.
Such denials feed upon logical insecurity. The Christian faith does not evolve from age to age. Jude encourages men and women to contend for the faith because it was “once for all delivered to the saints.” Any message from God will align with all of the earlier messages from God. John 15:26-27 reminds its readers that,
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.”
God works in unison with himself. The Father, the Son, and Spirit all promote the same message. To pit one against the other in the name of relevance, culture revolution, or love is to defame the very word of God. Those who say “Thus says the Lord” and then proceed to deny the content of the Bible have never walked up the hill of Calvary and repented of their sins.
Have you entered by the narrow gate? What comes after, “Thus says the Lord?”